People always say that the first year of parenthood is tough on marriages. Now that I’m 16 months into this mom gig, I can’t say they’re wrong! Parenting adds many new layers to a marriage: new financial stresses, new decisions to be made, new anxieties, new responsibilities, oh and less sleep! It’s no wonder it makes things more challenging.
Our first year as parents was made more stressful when we dealt with not one, but two tough job transitions. Navigating our lives as new parents became increasingly more difficult when we found ourselves on one less income than we were used to. This was especially difficult for me, as I’m the type A, planner, control freak in our relationship. Feeling incredibly out of control & without a secure plan, on top of the fact that I was still adjusting to being a full time working mom myself, let’s just say I didn’t always handle the stress well. It was definitely the most challenging time we’ve faced in our marriage thus far.
But you know what? The most stressful and difficult time in our marriage ended up leading us to the best time in our marriage because of one thing that we did in our first year as parents.
We went to marriage counseling.
I’ll never forget our very first session because I was so profoundly moved by the man I married. I accidentally scheduled our first session at the exact same time as the last game of the NBA finals. My husband is a huge, huge Warriors fan, and even when I offered to reschedule last minute so he could watch them play, he willingly skipped the game to sit on a stranger’s couch and talk about our feelings. Insert all the wide-eyed and shocked emojis here, because had I been the one missing the Bachelor finale, I may have opted to reschedule (only partially kidding).
Driving to our first appointment, I was humbled at this man’s attitude as we invested in the best thing we believe we can give our daughter: a healthy & loving marriage.
Going to marriage counseling has dramatically shifted things for us. I’ll be honest, we’re not fully on the other side of all the uncertainty we faced regarding my husband’s career, and I still don’t have the solid plan that I naturally crave. But my husband & I? We’re good. We feel peace even in the midst of uncertainty. We’re stronger teammates than we’ve ever been before as a result of putting time, effort, energy & money towards strengthening our relationship. Even if I could somehow change the tough things we’ve walked through in the last year, I wouldn’t because it’s brought us to where we are now.
I share this because as moms, it’s real easy to always talk about our kids and #momlife. It can feel more vulnerable to talk about our marriages, especially if we’re in a challenging season.
If you’re in a challenging season, I hope our story encourages you that often pushing through the challenging times leads to the best times.
And a special note to the mama who would love to do marriage counseling, but her husband is against it: do it for you. Even if he doesn’t want to go, try it for yourself. You never know what you’ll get out of a counseling session until you get on that couch and chat it out with a stranger who just might become a trusted confidant & friend.