Maybe you scream and shout a lot in your house. Maybe you give each other the silent treatment whenever you are upset. Maybe you have an amazingly annoying nagging spouse. Or maybe everything is great and you handle all your problems really well with great communication and conflict resolution. Chances are, your house sees a combination of some of these throughout the year.
To me, it doesn’t matter what condition your marriage is in. Every marriage needs an annual checkup or two. My philosophy is go see a therapist before you need to see one because the damage is already done if you really need to see one. Here are 5 reasons why I think you should have regular checkups for your marriage.
- Every valuable thing in our lives gets regular checkups and tuneups. Our houses, cars, etc. get inspected frequently or we run the risk of some major damage and costly repair down the road. The most obvious checkup we get is for our own physical bodies. We all know too many people who waited too long before going to the hospital. Either the treatment required was expensive and incredibly taxing emotionally and physically on them and their families or they ended up passing away much earlier than anyone would have dreamed. The exact same thing can happen to your marriage. Don’t let it.
- Our marriage should be the most important thing in our lives. Think about it. Children are incredibly important but they will grow up and leave us. We promised our spouse, “til death do we part.” Walter, Jeff Dunham’s “counselor” on marriage, says, “You didn’t realize you were setting a goal.” Although I think that’s a hilarious joke, my real advice is to invest in your marriage because by doing so, you are investing in your future happiness.
- Do it for your kids. Our relationship with our spouse is often put aside after the kids come into our lives. Yet, that is when it is even more important to have a healthy marriage. You can give everything to your kids but if you don’t provide a loving environment between you and your spouse, your children can sense it and grow to think little of their home unit. Giving your kids the example of a happy marriage will do much more for their health and outlook on life and relationships than anything money could ever buy. The adults in the home determine the environment. Do you think your kids want to come home when there is always tension in the air?
- Our children need to see it. Imagine if we could set an example to our children that going to see a marriage therapist or going to a marriage seminar is an annual event like going to see our family doctor. It’s something we do to catch anything bad in the earliest stages so it doesn’t get out of control and kill us. Imagine the legacy we could leave to them of what a healthy and happy marriage looks like. Imagine if we could show them that, yes, sometimes mommy and daddy run into problems, but we do our best to take care of these issues by seeking professional help. Do it for our future generations. Show them that it’s not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength to ask for real help.
- The things you learn in therapy or at a seminar can positively impact every other relationship in your life. Chances are, if you are having communication problems with your spouse, you may be having some type of communication issue at work or even in your social life. If you can go to a seminar and learn more about yourself- why you are the way you are, why you do things and react the way you do- you have a much greater chance of changing some of the negative aspects of who you are and turning them into your greatest strengths. For example, if you are super sensitive to criticism (like I am) and finally admit it to yourself and your spouse, then you have a greater chance of being more sensitive to others. Sometimes people who are sensitive to criticism are very judgmental and critical of others. This realization alone can change you into being a more positive and open person.
To be honest, I haven’t been able to go to a marriage seminar or see a marriage therapist since having kids which is now coming close to 3 years. But I do know that because we did a lot of those things before having kids it has been incredibly helpful in getting us through our first years as parents. I am definitely planning on going to a seminar in the early months of 2016. We are way overdue for our own checkup.
If you are looking for a private marriage therapist then ask around. Someone recommended a therapist to me and she was great. I have heard horrible stories of people going to a therapist they found themselves by looking online. Your friends, coworkers, and family will probably give you the best advice on finding someone who can meet your needs.
Maybe you don’t need a private therapist but a marriage seminar would be a great checkpoint for you and yours. I have been to two Christian marriage seminars that were both great. Mark Gungor’s “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage” was hilarious, fun, and entertaining while still providing real solutions to real problems (markgungor.com). A couple of his videos are found on YouTube. He does a few live events a year, but we went to one where hosts showed recordings from the live event. It was done very professionally and well. Family Life does amazing programs too. We took advantage of the Weekend to Remember conference when we were in Portland. Pastor couples are free. I liked it so much I recommended it to my sister and her husband. She said her husband was really not happy about being there but after the first meeting was glad he was there and then at the end was upset that they had to leave early to take their kids to birthday parties.
So, I don’t know if you really “need” marriage therapy or not, but my advice? Go anyways.
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