Today my partner and I went to our first couples therapy session. I truly believe that almost all couples would benefit from taking the leap of going to counselling together. It is no secret that there are different phases in romantic relationship. The first is the honeymoon phase, during which you fall in love. Your new partner amazes you and you feel mostly happy and giddy about the potential which they bring to this new relationship. Rainbows and sunshine are all around, and you seem to have so much in common. Conversation is great and you feel like you are under the spell of their warmth and your heart radiates a child-like playfulness.
The second phase in called the “power struggle”, wherein differences are revealed and you begin to notice things about your partner that were outshone by your rose-tinted glasses in the previous phase. Essentially, you and your partner become comfortable with each other and allow yourselves to be real and raw and human. Couples either work through this together or break up during this time. That obviously depends on many different factors in the relationship. I won’t say too much more about this and the following phases because there is a plethora of information available on the inter webs if you are interested.
So – therapy. Why? I am a person who seeks growth, for Myself as an individual and in my relationship. I know that I need a partner who wants the same. I desire a relationship in which we deeply connect. People sometimes poo-poo therapy (although this stigma is changing) or assume that you are super messed up if you go to therapy. Well, I am a little messed up. But I’d rather be a little messed up and working on Myself than sitting like a log and waiting for life to get better. Plus – aren’t we all just a little crazy in our owns ways? What does Dr. Seuss call it – falling in mutual weirdness with someone. In my opinion, your quirks are what gives you character, what makes you unique, what stands in your way sometimes, and also what makes you shine. We need to start owning our quirks and weird things that we are scared people will judge us for. It’s what makes us human and lovable.
During our therapy session we were asked to share 3 things that we appreciated about each other and how those things made us feel. Then we shared how those feelings and appreciations were familiar or unfamiliar to us growing up. We also repeated back to each other everything the other person had said, as a way to solidify that we had heard them and understood what they had said. There is nothing that makes you feel more listened to than someone else repeating back to you what you said. And being appreciated is such a great feeling. We all had certain needs as children and we seldom got them all met. Our therapist today told us that it is not by coincidence that we choose our mates. That our partner is actually the one who will give us the opportunity to heal those unmet needs, should we choose to. That is why our partner pushes all our buttons sometimes, because that person is unconsciously prompting you to fill those wounds with love and acceptance.
Life is a series of choices – everyday choices like what to eat and what to wear, important choices like how to plan your day, giant monster-truck sized choices such as who to marry and when to have children or what the next step in your career is. These choices are presented to us – to choose the path of our lives, to be the director of our lives. Small choices lead to bigger choices. Small problems solved lead to better problems to solve. One thing is certain – we will always have choice (even if it is small), and we will always have problems. If you are waiting for the day your problems will magically disappear you will be waiting an eternity. Everyone has problems of some kind. The goal is just to have better problems than you used to have. I believe that life is happening for us, not to us. Time is precious. We have choice. So make a choice. Choose to acknowledge your fear, to face it. Choose to Love. Choose to believe. Choose to be courageous. Because time isn’t waiting for you. It will keep on going, and it is long but it moves steadily forward. So be here, do what puts a big phat grin on your face. Laugh and be silly because we don’t laugh enough. Tell someone that you appreciate them and why. Be kind to others – you don’t know their story. Love your body no matter WHAT. Be your own fucking hero.