Wednesday, July 4, 2018

How Marriage Counseling Fuels Self-Love

As a single woman - a single mother - I've learned a lot over the years about the value of a healthy relationship and how much work they can take. And regardless of the nature of the relationship, be it romantic or non-romantic, it does truly take two people who want to make it work, who are dedicated to making it a successful partnership, who love and respect each other as people. I've learned how much it means to step outside your comfort zone in order to comfort a loved one, and how much it means to have someone else take that extra step in order to show they care for you.

As a divorced woman, I've learned how much it hurts to look at someone I once thought hung the moon, only to realize that he was just a human, flawed like me, filled with imperfections and weaknesses.

As a person interested - and sometimes downright fascinated - with the inner workings of the human psyche and the way we interrelate with each other as a society, largely because of the way we see ourselves in accordance with our experiences, I can still see and appreciate the benefits of marriage counseling from a couple of different standpoints.

One, counseling of any kind is something I am always willing to vouch for; my journey through therapy as part of my treatment for PTSD and PMDD has been a priceless addition to my life. Because of my therapist and her willingness to hear my story as I've experienced it, I've nurtured the courage to share it here. I've discovered the strength to advocate for myself in so many other areas of my life. Two, marriage counseling specifically is a great way for couples to get to know each other better in a place that allows both parties to feel heard, validated, and understood. It allows people who love each other to show their love by being willing to step outside of comfort and embrace vulnerability together in order to grow. And three ...


Marriage counseling fuels self love by helping two people get to know each other better - and in that process, if both parties are being truly honest and open, they cannot help but also get to know new things about themselves. Learning to be a better partner or spouse is always about learning to be a better listener, a more compassionate helpmate, a more concise communicator. You learn your partner's love languages - what makes them feel loved, as well as how they best express love - but you also learn to recognize your own.

You have to look inside yourself in order to be clear about what you need from your partner. You have to know what makes you feel loved before you can express that to your spouse. You have to learn to love yourself in order to truly accept the love of others - regardless of who they are.

When we apply all this to romantic relationships only, what we might not think about is how much this kind of thing can bleed into the rest of our lives - the way stronger communication skills also impact us at work, in our friendships, in our parenting. Because we're not just learning our partner and how to mesh well with them - we're learning people at large. We're learning to understand, to listen, to open our hearts to compassion, to release our fear of vulnerability

But it's important to realize and remember that none of these skills are romance-exclusive; all of them are beneficial when applied to our lives on a more holistic basis. More importantly, the things we learn in relationship counseling are often largely focused on learning who we are, what we want, where our boundaries lie. What hurts us, what heals us, what grows us. What inspires us.

What better self-love is there than that? To know oneself so thoroughly, and to have the courage to be that intimate with another person present - to share that level of depth with someone we love, trusting that they love us back and want the best for us ... learning to master that level of sharing with another person out of respect and partnership ... that's the very foundation of how self-love can make a marriage more amazing than you ever imagined.

There's actually a ton of great information about marriage counseling in this article from BetterHelp, which talks about how marriage counseling can work for you (and your relationship). It even walks you through parts of the process and digs into some of the methods used, which was really cool to look into.

I like to think my next partner will be my last partner - not only because he'll be a better fit for who I am and what I need, but also because he'll be open enough to allow me to fit who he is and what he needs. Thankfully, when we stumble into inevitable hard times, there's always counseling to help us bridge the gap.


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Note: This post is a partnership with BetterHelp.com, in conjunction with my love of their site and content combined with their love of giving people a better, more personalized way of accessing quality mental healthcare. All thoughts, opinions, and ideas expressed in this post are my own - and as you know, I would never recommend any site, service or product I didn't authentically love.

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