Months ago FH and I talked about going to couples therapy. Partially during an argument and then later as a good idea with all the crap we have going on in our lives. Especially with the step-family situation, his divorce, all the divorce in my family, and divorce all around us. We both are committed to making our marriage work, and although we are not yet married (only a few more months) we agreed that seeing a therapist would be a good idea. We don't argue very often but when we do we are both on very different pages, and want to figure out how we can get on the same page in a healthy manor.
We are not religious people so we can't do the church premarital counselling, but through health care plans we can get a certain number of visits and might as well take advantage of it.
Our first session was this week, and we were kind of joking beforehand about it being a little weird to go when we aren't actively in an argument or with some major angry issue looming. My biggest stipulation before picking someone was that the person we went to had to specialize in stepfamilies. There is no way I was going to go to someone who didn't have extensive experience with the different things we deal with. When we got there it was awkward at first and the room was very cozy and welcoming. There is a box of kleenex by the couch, and I'm thinking...I'm not going to need these.
WRONG. We started talking about basic stuff. Our family history, our personalities, our issues, where we are in our relationship, and then she tells us that she is in fact a stepmom herself. PHEW! This is even better. She GETS IT! I am so relieved that I will not have to feel guilty about anything negative I say about the skids. Then she asked me, "how hard is it for you?" She said it in such a sincere way that it made me tear up. I started talking about how hard it is for me to feel like an outsider at times, and uncomfortable in my own home, not having control over schedules and my life. She made me feel really comfortable and even my FH really liked her.
We talked about our arguing styles, him wanting to talk immediately, and me needing time to cool off. She gave us some suggestions on what to do next time (I feel like we need to get in a fight just to see if it works :)). Then we talked about appreciation and showing each other love, and she suggested the book, The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. She said it's really important to know how you receive love and how your partner receives love to make sure that you are doing the right things for each other. Most people do not speak the same "love language". So, we will be picking that book up this weekend and going through it while we don't have the kids.
We left feeling really good about her, and it gave us a lot to talk about. Which we did that night, and without a blow-up over topics :) We will be seeing her every week or so for a little while. I have always recommended that people go to see a therapist when they feel like they really just need some unbiased help. Now that we are doing it, I can see where it could REALLY help other people that I know who are struggling with their marriages. I do think it's important to both like the therapist and feel good about them, and if you don't...find a new one :)
In the end she told us that she felt like we had a really healthy relationship and doing all the right things with the kids, and that we could just use a little "tweaking" on some things that she would help us with.
So glad we are going!!