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The stigma of marriage counseling.

When Lee and I were engaged, there is a member of our bridal party who told me somewhat ineloquently, that she felt we needed to go to premarital counseling, otherwise our marriage would not last.

While so many people tell you that the engagement. Is beautiful and fun, it is also stressful – so this “advice” was not received with the same level of gratitude that was anticipated.

That being said, six months into marriage, my husband and I realized that there was something missing. While we knew we love each other, building a life together when you are so inherently different it’s hard. I had worked 16 hour days for as long as I could remember, while my husband had built a life that allowed him to work 5 to 6 hours a day.

He thought I was a crazy workaholic and I thought he was being lazy. This somehow didn’t bother us when we were dating or engaged, and yet, now we were married and somehow everything had changed.

I’m not sure why this is, but I’ve heard it time and time again. Women have this internal switch that tells them that “everything will be different once we get married”. Well ladies, I hate to spoil it for you-- but that is just not the case.

Needless to say, 15 months after my bridesmaid deliver news I didn’t want to hear, I emailed a marriage counselor in an act of desperation.

To her credit, she responded back to my email in less than 24 hours, and we scheduled our first session within the week. In the weeks and months that followed, we learned many new things and confirmed many suspicions that on some level, I think with both always known.

Lee and I came from inherently different backgrounds. I had a single working mother who did everything in her power to ensure I had whatever I needed, But she was never afraid to tell me if we could not afford something, or just simply to tell me no.

On the other hand, my husband grew up with two parents, an older brother, and a life of privilege that I simply had no concept of. To put it bluntly, we could not of grown up more differently if we tried. They say that opposites attract – but they don’t tell you is that opposites are opposites, and life is hard.

When my friend told me almost 3 years ago that my soon to be husband and I needed counseling, I was equally embarrassed and angry. Flash forward to today, and Lee and I still go to counseling. Not because our marriage is struggling, but because marriage is HARD y’all, and because naturally, we are very different.

Now, I recommend marriage counseling to everyone. Premarital counseling is awesome, but there is a reason that they tell you that the first of marriage is the most difficult. You are living with another person, building a life together, And trying to navigate this entirely new chapter of your life. No one said that you had to navigate it alone – so I encourage you to find someone objective who will be there to listen, encourage, and pray with you. You’ve got this!

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