The summer we went to counseling

Let me open up by saying that the last few years have not been kind to us. We’ve had more challenges, stress, bouts with depression, and confusion than I’d like to admit. And the hardest part about it all is that none of it is easy to explain. In 2014, we wanted to move back home after living three and a half years in Colorado. We prayed for it. Pleaded. Waited and waited. So it should have been a huge blessing when we finally did. In many ways it was! But in too many other ways it has served us one challenging event after another.

This summer, two years later, it all became too much to bear. We were both broken. The beautiful thing about marriage is that when one person is weak, the other is strong. But what happens when neither is strong enough to help the other? Deeper depression. Frustration. Anger. Blaming. Pointing the finger. And the scariest of all, no longer caring.

I remember very vividly a conversation Luke and I had in our room. Luke was sitting at the foot of the bed, and I was standing in front of him. We were both in tears. We really didn’t know where to go. Counseling had been brought up in previous conversations, but I always pushed it away. But now…now I knew we needed it.

I did not enjoy the drive to our first appointment. Luke and I have always been close, and we laugh a lot. But this felt scary. We couldn’t help each other like we usually could, so we were seeking outside help. I’m not used to that. I had a hard time convincing myself that this is good, because all I could think about was how this wasn’t where I expected to be 7 years after our wedding day. It felt like it all just came out of no where and I was blindsided. I hated it.

If you saw us that day sitting in the waiting room, I’m fairly certain you wouldn’t have guessed that we were going through a tough time. We giggled, laughed, and had nothing but smiles for each other. And it was genuine. Our love for each other is very real and extremely deep. And that’s the very reason why we were in that waiting room. Something this special is worth doing something this scary.

We covered a lot that first week and the weeks to follow. Our counselor very aptly described us as having an “adjustment disorder”. The very act of putting a name to what we were going through was a start to healing!

We talked a lot about the events and circumstances that brought us to that place. It forced us to stop, grab each others hand, look each other in the eye, and start walking again. It set us on a path of healing.

The conversations that came after of those hour long sessions were almost more helpful than the sessions themselves. We starting talking again and discovered things the other person had been wrestling with that the other had no idea about. Instead of focusing on ourselves and what we needed to do to survive, we started to see the other person again. Started to care about their concerns and ache about their trials.

Everyone has something they’re passionate about. Something that can keep them up at night and something they are just dying to do more about. For me, that’s marriage. And specifically, going through life with your spouse as a team. The only way we’ve made it seven and a half years is by being for each other. By fighting the problems, not each other. By understanding the brokenness of my husband, and of myself, and offering grace to both. The more broken I realize I am, the more I love my husband through his brokenness, and the more I fall in love with Jesus Christ. He’s the reason I can even come to this conclusion, isn’t it?

So please, I beg you, never give up. Always give second chances. Always look deeper and give the benefit of the doubt. And if you need it, don’t be scared to seek help.

I don’t know what the next couple years have in store for us, but our trust in each other and the love we have is strong and secure. And I am thankful to know that we will take on whatever is next together. Hand in hand, side by side.


IMG_4632Kristen Larson started writing in 2011. Since then, she has contributed to the Faith Radio Network blog, wrote devotionals for Daily Wisdom for Women 2016 with Barbour Publishing, and got her dream job working on book covers for Bethany House Publishers. She and her husband live in an adorable rural town in Minnesota, where they love spending time together working on home updates and renovations.

For more information, visit her About Page.


 

Cover Photo by Christiana Rivers on Unsplash

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