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Reclaiming Wife: Starting Over 10 Years In


Ok. This post is kind of a big deal for me. When I got in my inbox, I kind of gasped. Someone writing about marriage from 10 years in???? That’s… what it’s all about for me. So after I got this post, I did some thinking, and realized it’s time to start working a little more seriously about breaking Reclaiming Wife out into it’s own full (and very interlinked) site. Because we need to have more space to have both of these conversations. The wedding conversations and the marriage conversations. So I owe Nicole for that, big time. And for the rest of you, this is such a treat. Having someone a little further down the path tell us what it’s really like? I just want to drink it in, roll around in the truth and the bravery. And then there are the pictures. They… knock me out. Because you know how everyone tells you that you’ll never look as good as you do on your wedding day? Well, I call bullsh*t. Nicole and her husband look so much more beautiful, and present, now. Because they are there, for good times and for bad. Their marriage is lived in. And what’s sexier than that?

Reclaiming Wife: Starting Over 10 Years In | A Practical Wedding

Don’t let the title fool you, this isn’t a post about a re-commitment ceremony. Or divorce. It’s a post about a couple who, after ten years of so-so marriage, have decided to tackle some of the big issues in their relationship and take it all – love, intimacy, communication, self-worth, and relationship patterns – to the next level.

We’ve decided to finish our oldest arguments, to talk about all those things we’ve decided not to talk about for the sake of marital harmony, and to say (with tact) all the things we’ve stored up for 10 years. And it’s AMAZING. I think every married couple wants to do this. We want to learn how to treat each other properly and how to negotiate life’s difficulties without yelling at each other. But either the motivation or the solution is missing, or you get to the other side of a fight and decide you don’t have a problem anymore.

But after 10 years of mostly good marriage, Steve and I found ourselves at a point where we knew we couldn’t go on without fixing some things. There was no one big issue, but we knew we had to change if we wanted to stay married. The first step was deciding if we did, in fact, want to stay married. This was a difficult period of time, and not one with a clear stop or start. But eventually we were able to say with clarity and conviction that divorce was off the table and we wanted to fix our marriage.

The next step was finding the right marriage counselor. This step – finding a counselor – was where we always got stuck in the past. How do you find one, what will it cost, will we like them, etc, etc. Tackling the details of getting from crisis to the counseling office always stumped us (and provided a good excuse for ignoring our problems). I’m sure a lot of other couples are the same: it’s scary, it’s expensive, it’s time consuming. But this time the stars aligned and we made an appointment.

This first counselor was fine in the beginning. We were comfortable with him and he fit our short list of requirements: insurance coverage, taking patients, and marital and addiction therapy experience. But after the second appointment of hearing him talk about his ex wife, his kids, his dog, we knew it wasn’t a good fit. We needed a tougher version; we needed Dr. Melfi. So we went back to the drawing board and found another therapist, and made another appointment, and we’ve been going every week ever since.

We’re about 6 weeks in and I’m kind of flabbergasted by what we’re talking about and tackling in our relationship. Have you ever fantasized about having a marriage referee or judge to step in and declare a winner, or ask for more information, or call your partner on their shit? It is THAT AWESOME. It takes a lot of bravery (and love for each other) to say what we’ve been saying in there, and hear what we’ve been hearing, without retaliation or hard feelings. It is a surreal experience to essentially throw our marriage in a blender for 50 minutes each Tuesday, and then go home and be parents and partners. But, it’s also amazing. We may actually stop having the same fight about housework, the same fight we’ve been having since our first year of marriage. Can you imagine?

For now it’s very raw, and we have to be careful not to come home and go back to old patterns of yelling, or silence. We have to practice the new skills of communication and active listening that we use in our sessions. We will probably go to counseling every week for a long time, maybe a year, or more. This isn’t a patch, it’s a rebirth. But I feel invigorated. And hopeful. What if I can have the marriage I’ve always wanted to the man I’ve always loved? What if we can stay together and raise our kids together, but break the patterns and pain we’ve been living in for so long? It feels like we’re starting over, without the divorce.

Reclaiming Wife: Starting Over 10 Years In | A Practical Wedding

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  • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

    Oh wow. What an inspiring post this morning! I was struck by the revelation that my husband and I might be having the same fights about housekeeping ten years from now that we’re having today. And while we can’t afford counseling at the moment (I know, I know, excuses, excuses), I feel inspired by this to work on my marriage and my communication skills.

    • http://happysighs.blogspot.com Liz

      there are sometimes free counseling “clinics” around. and also, if you have great insurance, they sometimes pay (rare).

      • http://jolynn.wordpress.com jolynn

        Check on college campuses around, they have grad students practicing, if you’re okay with that, but they also have licensed therapists.

      • Alyssa

        Check with your state department also. We have Twogether in Texas (I know, gag…) and it’s generally for pre-marital counseling, but they do have problems for married couples also, free or at low cost.

        The resources are definitely out there, it’s just not many people take adavantage of them.

        • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

          Alyssa, honestly thanks for the advice– but I just had to laugh at this… I’m sure my state department DOES have “problems for married couples” :)

          • Alyssa

            Dang it!

            Thanks, sassypants. :-)

            Boo for typos.

    • Sept Bride

      Health care reform also mandates that all insurance companies must provide mental health coverage (i.e. marriage and family counseling), but I am not sure when this provision kicks in.

      • Alyssa

        I THINK it becomes part of the essential benefits package in 2014. But some might already provide it…

  • http://ladyoftheforest.blogspot.com Blind Irish Pirate

    Great idea about furthering Reclaiming Wife.
    Also, I’m very intrigued by this story – not to be nosy, but keep us updated! ;)

  • Carbon Girl

    I am crying right now and I am not even sure why. This is quite possibly the bravest thing I have ever heard. Being able to put your feelings all out on the table like that and listen to the person you love most do the same takes so much courage. After 10 years, I am sure even in a good marriage a lot of problems must come up. You have inspired me to try to be more honest in my own marriage. Not that I lie at all, but I can see where I (and my husband) let things slide sometimes for the sake of harmony now.

    And YES! Meg. A reclaiming wife site would be amazing!

  • A-L

    Thank you so much for this post. We always hear how a good marriage requires work, but we never hear about what kind of work that entails. My parents remained married to each other until I was in college, but it wasn’t a happy marriage, so I find it particularly helpful to see how other people are making it work, and having the kind of positive relationship that I think we all want. Good luck with the counseling and I too would love an update at some point, if you’re so inclined.

    And “Exactly” too all those wanting a Reclaiming Wife site!

  • http://www.firefightersprincess.blogspot.com alicia

    This is so comforting to read. I work for a divorce attorney in Florida and it seems at times that people would rather get a divorce then fight for their marriage. Good for them! I hope that they keep this up for the rest of their marriage.

    • http://www.stofnsara.com saartjie

      As a lawyer myself I know too well how easy it can be to get divorced. And if it’s a difficult divorce, most times you have other people [lawyers] fighting for you [and taking all your money]. It has struck me that it takes so much more dedication and toughness to try to genuinely figure it out before succumbing to separation.

      And WOW to this post.

    • http://abouttobe.wordpress.com Mary

      Hm. I think we should be wary of labeling divorce as the easy way out. While yes, the dedication in this post is inspiring, it’s important to remember that sticking it out and divorce both have their own unique (and painful) challenges. Divorce isn’t necessarily throwing in the towel: I think it’s a fight all on its own. I don’t think one is necessarily easier than the other.

      It’s interesting for me to go back and reread the posts on divorce. It makes me wonder at what point people decide to fight like this and at what point people decide to undergo divorce.

      • Katelyn

        “It makes me wonder at what point people decide to fight like this and at what point people decide to undergo divorce.”

        To me, the difference comes from this statement:

        “But after 10 years of mostly good marriage, Steve and I found ourselves at a point where we knew we couldn’t go on without fixing some things.”

        2 points here stick out – the fact that the it was a “mostly good marriage,” and there was a tipping point that they decided to recognize and address rather than ignore.

        Some marriages just aren’t good to being with, for whatever reasons. Others have their tipping point come and go, and the relationship deteriorates to a point of no return.

        It’s like metal- if it rusts a little bit, you can salvage it, patch it up and give it a new coat of paint. But once the rust has compromised the stability of the structure, it needs to be replaced.

        • Stephanie

          I wish I could exactly this more than once! My parents went through a divorce after 3 years of seeing several counselors. They put in a lot of work but ultimately weren’t able to come to place of mutual respect and trust. On the other hand, I’ve seen people get divorces without working on it at all. While I think sometimes, if there aren’t any kids involved, it might be easier to get a divorce than face their problems, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and believe that the marriage was not “mostly good”.

      • http://www.mysanfranciscobudgetwedding.wordpress.com Sarah

        Nicole wrote, “The first step was deciding if we did, in fact, want to stay married. This was a difficult period of time, and not one with a clear stop or start. But eventually we were able to say with clarity and conviction that divorce was off the table and we wanted to fix our marriage.”

        As someone who has been divorced, I think this is key. A couple in transition, whether they are choosing divorce or repair work on their marriage, has to answer the question of what is best — staying and working on the marriage or admitting that it is not working and is unlikely to ever work — before they can get to the next step. No matter what the answer to that question is for any particular couple, it is unlikely to be an easy question to answer. And no matter what path is chosen, the path is going to be hard for a good long while.

        Divorce is not an “easy” way out of anything. It just isn’t. It is extremely expensive, both financially and emotionally. Divorce is a loss very similar to mourning a death. If there are children involved, there is the loss, and you still have to learn how to live within a relationship (redefined, but a relationship nonetheless) for the sake of the children. Adult children of divorce feel adrift just as young children of divorce.

        There is no easy way out of a situation that has grown unhappy or uncivilized, or both. I was watching Mad Men the other night (apologies to anyone who hasn’t watched the season finale yet) when Betty complained to her new husband that she fired the children’s nanny because Betty felt “entitled to a fresh start.” Her husband responded something like, “Nobody gets a fresh start. We just keep living.” The question becomes whether we can keep living together — and what we need to do to make that possible — or whether we need to live apart — and what we need to do to make that work, too.

        It is no easy task walk away from a marriage, and it is just as hard to take a deep look into a relationship that is mostly working and pick away at the small scabs in order to expose wounds to make the marriage even better, and I applaud Nicole and her husband for doing just that.

      • http://www.stofnsara.com saartjie

        The time-zone thing has left me a bit late in responding, but herwith: I do not believe that anyone (besides really cooked people) get married believing that divorce is where they’re headed. I also (perhaps naively) believe that most people rage against the idea of divorce and that by far the majority of mature and reasonable people take an honest and responsible decision to stay married or seperate permanently. BUT: It is really easy to get amicably divorced as a legal process (in our jurisdiction, I can process an unopposed divorce in open court in under ten minutes). I don’t think this is objectionable. Indeed, reasonable adults should be free to make reasonable decisions regarding their relationship status. But when things are really difficult in a relationship, I think that some may end up taking the path of divorce because it does not necessarily require the same self-sacrifice and effort that remaining together might.

      • http://www.stofnsara.com saartjie

        The time-zone thing has left me a bit late in responding, but herewith: I do not believe that anyone (besides really cooked people) get married believing that divorce is where they’re headed. I also (perhaps naively) believe that most people rage against the idea of divorce and that by far the majority of mature and reasonable people take an honest and responsible decision to stay married or seperate permanently. BUT: It is really easy to get amicably divorced as a legal process (in our jurisdiction, I can process an unopposed divorce in open court in under ten minutes). I don’t think this is objectionable. Indeed, reasonable adults should be free to make reasonable decisions regarding their relationship status. But when things are really difficult in a relationship, I think that some may end up taking the path of divorce because it does not necessarily require the same self-sacrifice and effort that remaining together might.

        • meg

          Oh, you guys. We’ve had plenty of friends who got married thinking that chances were good they would divorce. That probably tells you more about where we grew up than anything. But, because I’m always offering the more jaded perspective on these things in the comments: it happens. It happens often enough that we’ve seen it happen multiple times. Sometimes just one member of the couple is not totally on board, sometimes it’s both.

          But yes, Saartijie, I agree. I think divorce should be straightforward. I’m not a huge fan (most of the time), but we need to allow adults freedom to do what they need to do. I’ve seen friends divorce in states with one year waiting periods where out-of-wedlock babies were born before the divorce was finalized (messy for everyone), or emotional hell dragged on for months longer than it needed to.

          Ugh. Painful divorce. Now I’m sad. THINKING ABOUT SOMETHING NEW!

  • http://roughit.wordpress.com Miranda

    Ohhh this is wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think that therapy is such an amazing thing but that there are also so many factors that need to fall into place: liking the person, finding a good fit, and getting yourself there. It’s tough when it’s just one person going for themselves; I imagine it’s even harder when you have to align the stars for two people. Good for you for doing it, and thank you for sharing your inspiring story. I hope that in ten years, or however many years it is, we can be open to whatever it is we need to keep our marriage strong.

  • http://happysighs.blogspot.com Liz

    this is. amazing. i’m floored and grateful that we have some years of experience here.

    and this is me in my small-mindedness- but i always sort of subconsciously had this perception of a “point of no return.” you get 10 years, say, into a marriage and just settle into the way things are, without the passion of building your marriage into something more. i know it sounds silly to put into words, but i guess i maybe didn’t realize it til now. it was always an unspoken assumption (probably based on the complacence i see in “older” marriages around me)

    so. wow to altering my perspective this morning. a perspective i didn’t realize i had, no less.

    • Alyssa

      YES. I was going to post, but you said the same thing I would have, but better.

      “This isn’t a patch, it’s a rebirth”

      Just amazing. Thank you, Nicole!

      • http://bride-sans-tulle.blogspot.com Sharon

        Yes! It’s so encouraging to hear that you can choose to keep making your marriage better, despite all the statistics and myths about how couples settle into habits x amount of years in.

        • http://lilapuppy.blogspot.com Meghan

          I was inspired by the part about not having the same fight that we have now 10 years from now.
          Because we do. Have the same fight. And wouldn’t it be awful to still be having it ten years from now.

          We clearly have work to do!

          • meg

            I, for one, find reoccuring fights rather comforting :) But then, we’re mostly fighting about shoes on the living room floor, and I think I married into that fight for life…

          • http://lilapuppy.blogspot.com Meghan

            Comforting perhaps for you, but when it is not about shoes, and you have to grind your way through the whole thing before it is over and at the end we both feel horrible and depleted. So, no, these are not the fights I would like to be having 10 years from now.

          • http://miscetcandmoremisc.blogspot.com Eliza

            Hehe, yes, there are the reoccurring fights that are comforting, because they’re kind of funny and neither of you takes them too seriously, and (if you’re like us) you just wind up laughing about them. And then there are the reoccurring fights that undermine everything you’re trying to build together as a couple. Totally different things!

          • meg

            I was making (in a lighthearted way), the point that A) not all recurring flights are bad, and B) we need to be realistic with ourselves and realize that there are some fights that we married into for life, and that’s ok.

            Some fights can and should be changed and worked out. But I don’t want us to fall into the trap of thinking everything can or should be totally ironed out, always. Healthy conflict… well… lets just say I’d be bored to tears without it.

  • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

    So inspiring. Love this.

    All the best of luck and love to Nicole and her husband. :)

  • Jenna

    Thank you SO much for this post! It is very inspiring to hear about people who are facing their issues head on and not just scrapping so many years of a relationship with divorce. I hope that I can be so courageous if I find myself in a similar situation.

    And I am all in favor of Reclaiming Wife! I came upon A Practical Wedding after my own big day, unfortunately, but I love reading it still. I’ve also wanted to read more on Reclaiming Wife, since I got married recently, and I am trying to understand what it means to be a partner, a wife, and what this whole marriage thing is about. So many blogs out there stop at wedding, but wedding is the beginning, and I don’t know about everyone else out there, but I feel like I need even more guidance now that the wedding is over!

    Thank you for creating a forum for these conversations!

    • Kayakgirl73

      I totally agree. I so badly need the Reclaiming Wife stuff. Right now the exactly button is not working for me.

  • http://www.runrgurl10.blogspot.com Mara

    This is an amazing post, I’m so happy Nicole shared her story…She brings up some excellent points worth thinking about!

  • tirzahrene

    Nicole, thank you. You are in many ways writing from where I’m headed, and it’s good to see what it looks like. We’re climbing out the other side of “Are we going to keep this marriage going?” and still have a few hard questions to answer there…but the hope of/determination to dig our way out of the layers of bad patterns we’ve worked ourselves into is growing.

    I think the saddest thing in all this is the knowledge that things would be so different now if we’d done then what we’re doing now. If I’d spoken up for myself clearly, and not just mentioned things when they fit in. If he’d really questioned his own assumptions, and not just thought that because he could persuade me to his viewpoint that he was right. All that. Things wouldn’t have gotten so bad.

    Thank you, and I wish you all the best.

  • Rachel

    Whew! Thanks for being honest and open– I needed this today!

  • http://somewhatbookish.wordpress.com Carrie

    Yes! More posts from folks who have been married for “longer” please! And thanks so much to Nicole for sharing. This is a great post.

  • Erin

    My mom often talks about the 7-year stretch, that point in a young marriage where the couple finds themselves wondering how they got to whatever painful and difficult place they’re in, and weighing whether it’s worth it to stay and do the hard work of healing. She’s noticed that it often seems to happen around that 7-10 year mark. She went through it herself, and because of that, she encourages a lot of people in our circle of family and friends to fight for their marriages when they come to that it’s-now-or-never decision. My parents fought and discussed a LOT during that time, but they both stayed, and that choice has paid a lot of dividends in the cozy and exciting marriage they share thirty years later.

    I’m so glad to have my parents’ example, and it’s even more potent when reinforced by stories like Nicole’s. As a newlywed, it’s easy to focus on the short-term job of just learning how to be married, and getting used to not burying the things that bother me. Thanks for reminding me to take the long view, to set a good foundation for if and when we have to refresh and heal our marriage, and to be brave in making sure it’s built to last.

    • Kat

      My Mum talks about that too! (the 7 year stretch). She reckons it comes up about every 7 years (of being together, not marriage) and everyone wonders what they’re doing and the little things seem so much bigger (like the same fight about housework). I remember my parents going through a patch where they fought a lot when I was younger (primary school) but they found better ways of fighting and more understanding and are still going strong.

      And YES to a reclaiming wife site.

  • http://abouttobe.wordpress.com Mary

    You know, these posts are some of my favorites: the ones where the writer has years of experience behind her and immense wisdom to pass on to us newbies. In my life I’m surrounded by couples that have been married for ten, twenty, or thirty years and yet none of them have ever been so frank with me. Thank you, Nicole.

    I think I’m most afraid of becoming complacent in my relationship. Mark and I have only been together for five years but we’ve still occasionally found ourselves in that “just existing” kind of funk. When we did our marriage preparation retreat, someone asked our priest what his greatest advice for young married couples was. He replied, “Never stop dating the other person; never stop persuing them.” It really struck a chord with me.

  • http://www.projectsubrosa.com/ Cate Subrosa

    Loved this post. Thank you, Nicole. And congratulations.

    I know counselling can be expensive, but what should be a higher financial priority than your marriage? Our first round of counselling (before we were engaged) cost us £400. (Oh, £440 actually, we left them the cost of a session for someone else to use, that’s how grateful we were.) Let me tell you, best money we ever spent. If (or more than likely when) we feel we need it again, we’ll be there in a heartbeat, living on rice and beans if we have to. Find the money, find the time, find the right counsellor. If you think you need it, you almost definitely will not regret doing it.

    • http://www.stofnsara.com saartjie

      What a brilliant gift to give!

    • http://happysighs.blogspot.com Liz

      yeah. we forked over $120 a session while both being unemployed and i was in grad school. (ouch.)

      but this kind of stuff is the PERFECT time to reach out to your community for help. you know- those guys that were at your wedding and watched you say your vows and promised to hold you to them? this is where you humbly call them and admit you need some cash for counseling. and it does amazing things for ALL of your relationships.

  • Anon

    This is what I’ve been waiting for. I’ve commented before (and used my name) but this is what I’d been secretly hoping to hear from someone in the APW community for a while. I’ve felt pretty alone in my sadness about what it means to have to think about “starting over” within a marriage.
    We’ve been married just over a year, and together for four. We’ve gone through some serious life changes in that time (house renovation from hell, grad school, family stuff, health issues) and it has wreaked havoc on each of us individually – and our partnership. We love each other. We believe in each other. But we’re broken in our own ways and navigating that as a baby family is freakin’ hard. We’ve yelled. We’ve said hurtful things. We’ve turned inward instead of toward each other. And we’ve debated whether its worth it. We’ve cried over the thought of breaking up our marriage and cried some more over staying together and not being able to move past the sadness and hurt we’re feeling. And so we’ve played counselor hop-scotch. First one = super judgemental. Second one = borderline unprofessional. (We abandoned the thought of counseling for a few months after that.) Third one = seems to be just right but only time will tell.
    It seems so early in a life together to feel like we’ve messed it up so badly, but it also feels so hopeless that the two of us have considered calling it quits. Can you start over after just one year of marriage?

    • http://www.stofnsara.com saartjie

      Oh, Darling! I do hope you sort it out. What a tricky place to be in. “They” say that the first year of marriage is one of the hardest – for your sake I hope like hell “they’re” on the money. I really hope that you and your husband can find a peaceful and wholesome space.

    • http://happysighs.blogspot.com Liz

      i have faith that you can. how lucky to face it head-on and restart so fresh, rather than letting it fester and facing it in 10+ years.

      and i’ve seen my fair share of craptastic counselors. don’t let that embitter you (it doesn’t sound like it has) and if those folks continue to suck- pick up some good books.

      • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

        Liz (or anybody else), do you have any suggestions as to what those “good books” might be? I haven’t been able to find any that give practical advice on working through common issues.

        • http://abouttobe.wordpress.com Mary

          Caitlin, I would highly recommend John Gottman’s “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.” (Google Books preview here: http://bit.ly/cWlmWJ) In it, he writes that all married couples fight, but there are certain ways to keep those fights healthy. I found it not only applicable to my upcoming marriage, but really to all of my relationships in general.

          • Ariel

            I am a longtime lurker, and this post prompted me to come out of the shadows!! (that and the unearthly buzz of being awake and reading marriage blogs at odd hours of the morning)

            I am at the exciting, amazing, perfect place with my partner of beginning the discussion of how we want to communicate, what patterns we want to intentionally set in place, and how we will create the life and marriage we want to live in. I am such a beginner, and it is so freaking awesome!

            I would highly, highly recommend Wings Seminars (http://www.wings-seminars.com/) for anyone in the Pacific Northwest (or anywhere actually, they are worth ANY amount of travel money). I am learning how to be a constant learner of my own nature and wants, and how to communicate my self-ness to my partner (constantly, currently, openly, authentically…. )

            Mary, I want to tell you that I opened up this Gottman preview on Google books and I am already deeply inspired. Thank you.

            And thank you, Meg, for initiating this community. . . the IRL version sounds awesome too! Portland meetups, anyone?

        • Rachel C.

          This might be a silly suggestion, but:

          It’s not a marriage book at all, and I don’t buy all the ideas in it, but William Glasser’s ‘Choice Theory’ dramatically altered my thinking, because I read it as a teenager who was watching her parents’ marriage descend into finger-pointing, manipulation, and angry blame. The central ideas are that you can control only YOUR behavior (not the behavior of other people) and that all other people can do to you is provide information (they don’t ‘make’ you mad– they provide data that you chose to be mad about after hearing, for example). Definitely helpful stuff for people who’ve fallen into patterns of conflict.

        • http://miscetcandmoremisc.blogspot.com Eliza

          I have a great book called “The Making of Love: How to Stay in Love as a Couple” by Steve and Shaaron Biddulph. I couldn’t find it on Amazon but I’m sure you’d be able to find it online somewhere. Every time I find myself in what feels like an impossible position, I reread it and wind up feeling better and figuring out new ways to approach communication problems. I *really* recommend it.

    • http://austingastronomist.com Kathryn

      Oh, anon. I feel you and I wish I could give you a really big hug. The pressure to be a perfect newlywed can be really stifling sometimes. It feels like all newlyweds should be riding some wave of wifely endorphins and magically the first few years of marriage will be carefree. I don’t think it’s that easy for anyone. Period. Certainly not for newlyweds who are dealing with grad school, house renovations and health issues!! To answer your questions, I do think you can start over after one year of marriage. That’s the beauty of a marriage, to me. It’s a place where you can own up to your mistakes, take your partner’s hand, and choose to move forward together. Sometimes it’s impossible to understand HOW to do that without some outside help, like from a therapist. It seems like you are doing a terrific (and tenacious) job of seeking that help. Please don’t lose hope. You’re not alone. Besides your spouse, there are hundreds of newlyweds here at APW who are experiencing the same stuff. I really hope that A Practical Wife will give us a chance to grow/vent/support each other as our baby families grow!

    • http://lilapuppy.blogspot.com Meghan

      Oh ANON, my thoughts go out to you.

    • tirzahrene

      You know how they say it’s never too late to start over? Well, it’s never too early either. There is NEVER a wrong time to say, “We’re doing something wrong. Stop. What do we need to do instead? What do we want, and how will we get there?”

      I waited longer than I wish I’d waited. If you see now that there are things that need to be changed, please don’t do what I did. Do something now.

    • Anon Part Deux

      Well shit-dog-howdy Anon, you and me should be friends! I’ve been married four months, and we’re doing a home renovation too. (And to heap another log on the fire, one of my best friends was killed in a car accident in front of me two months ago. Talk about stressballitization.) I just wanted to say:
      1.) You are not alone. I also sometimes doubt the wiseness of my decision. And I want to give you a big fat hug.
      2.) I once read an interview with a real-life couple where the husband said “the secret to a long marriage is sometimes you don’t decide to stay, you just don’t decide to leave.” Maybe try not leaving, one day at a time.
      3.) This is messed up, but having my friend pass away relieved the pressure of newlyweddom. Previous to that moment, I had been stressing about how to get through a home renovation and still have the life of a blissful newlywed. After that moment, no one expects you to be blissful. It is incredibly messed up that our society has programmed us like that, but it’s the truth. Go easy on yourself. Tell yourself you don’t have to be anything like what anyone says you should be. It is fecking HARD what you’re doing! I think you’re doing great, just by breathing in and out and staying in the game. Good luck.

  • http://austingastronomist.com Kathryn

    Absolutely wonderful post. I am inspired and impressed by Nicole and her husband’s experience, and her willingness to share it with us. Thank you Meg and Nicole. Big. Time.

  • http://onecatperperson.blogspot.com Angie

    It’s hard to see what the future will look like in ten years, especially when you’ve only been married for two months. Right now, things are good. We fight, but we always make up. We apologize and we always move on. But you can’t help but think about the what if’s and you get really scared. I get scared. I mean, I’m sure there are other married folks out there who are still scared of marriage, right? Not the commitment part or the one person forever part, but just the being good for each other part and being the person your spouse deserves. Knowing there are tools to help you and people who benefit from them takes away a lot of that fear.

    Thank you, Nicole.

  • http://www.hellerandhellerfurniture.com Jenn

    kudos to you and your husband for taking this on.

    “What if I can have the marriage I’ve always wanted to the man I’ve always loved?” – this really resonated with me, because it says what I am not always willing to admit to myself: that you can love your partner and not have a great marriage. That it takes work, and effort, and a commitment to each other and the baby family to have a great marriage.

    thank you for sharing this with us.

  • http://eyesopenfeetfirst.blogspot.com Suzanne

    This is incredibly inspiring and educational all at the same time. I too love that I’m hearing about a couple who is committed to starting fresh after 10 years, rather than just accept it as it is and potentially spiral even further downhill. This is such an uplifting post and I find it incredibly brave that this couple, as they say – can go into the blender each week and walk out able to see the benefits of that mash up and keep going. That is just so moving for me – to know that these two faced the big “D” question, threw it off the table and made a real commitment (again) to one another. Awesome.

    And I would really really REALLY love a more robust Reclaiming the Wife area — somewhere we can all continue together years down the road and have a community to continue to support!

  • Lindsey M

    Love this post.

    My husband and I used the same excuses when looking for pre-marital counseling (too expensive, not sure if insurance will cover it, hard to schedule, etc.). We actually had two “first appointments” and when both counselors were not the right fit, we gave up. Now I’m inspired to try harder this time and seek out post-marital counseling. It’s important to look at your relationship from another angle and really hear your partner in the way this post described. Thanks for the motivation.

  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com jolynn

    “This isn’t a patch, it’s a rebirth.”

    THIS. I hadn’t ever thought of it before, but it’s like looking at food selection as a diet instead of a lifestyle change.

    Now I’m even more excited for the pre-marital counseling. Thank you!

  • http://bluesuedeidos.com Beth

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Those of us who are just beginning the process could probably all benefit from your wisdom.

    For any and all APWers who have been married for a while, I beg of you to share your wisdom and experiences as Nicole has. I would love to hear more of what has and hasn’t worked. What has and hasn’t been important.

  • Michelle

    You know how lately people here have been saying, “When I got engaged, I didn’t think the stress/drama/freakouts would happen to me, but it totally did.”

    I think the same thing about marriage. On your wedding day, you think your marriage will be different because you love each other so much, and you know how to communicate and fight fairly, etc. But each marriage is going to go through hard times and need the partners to fight for it and put the work into it. Thanks for showing us what that looks like, Nicole.

  • http://adesertfete.blogspot.com jamie

    cool! great conversation, you guys!

  • http://suburbaliciousliving.blogspot.com/ Lauren

    Yesterday, I went to see a friend/counselor about an issue in my marriage, and this post sums up exactly why. I don’t want to have the same fight in 10 years. I want to have different, more exciting fights that make us even closer and more grown up in our relationship. But you can’t get to the new fights if you don’t resolve the old ones- thank you for this.

  • http://rescuedinsanity.com Kristine

    I think it was very brave to share this. It’s not someone everyone finds easy to talk about. You are an inspiration.

  • Jen M

    I love this so much. Just personally my boyfriend and I have been going through a similar period of so-so relationship and we’ve recently come to a point where we’re reasessing. We’ve always discussed marriage and I’ve been nervous that these problems now will equal doomed marriage later. It’s good to know that the so-so happens and doesn’t automatically equal failure…

  • Jacqui

    Thirteen years in, it would be *much* easier to explain why I am spending time at a web site and book club called “Reclaiming Wife.” I hope I’d still be allowed to look at pretty and inspiring wedding/engagement stories…

    • meg

      Well, I’d hope you’d look at them too. APW isn’t going anywhere!

  • http://www.montereyweddingofficiants.com/elope_monterey.html Maureen Thomson, Lyssabeth’s Wedding Officiants

    Thank heavens for people like you who have the courage to put it all out there simply for the reason that it might inspire others. I’ve been where you are (were) and know firsthand the lies we tell ourselves that prevent us from living our best lives. And then, ridiculously enough, some of us have ended relationships, begun anew with a different partner, only to see the same behaviors rear their ugly heads in the new relationship after a year or two. Yet we STILL continue to tell ourselves the lies. (Yes, this would be a self analysis here.)

    It takes courage enough to confront the lies and take steps to heal them. Even more so to post it on a blog. Thank you for sharing.

    And yes, I think a stand-alone Reclaiming Wife blog is an excellent idea!

  • Marchelle

    Yes. Yes to Reclaiming Wife, and yes to these healthy and realistic perspectives on what it actually takes to build and nurture a good marriage. Oh yes please!

    • http://kristythecoffeegirl.blogspot.com Kristy

      Yes. What agirl said. Because she always seems to say exactly what I want to say, but before I can say it, and more eloquently.

  • http://elissarphotography.com Elissa

    Every time I come here I find that other people have said what I want to say. So thank you all for being in my head….
    And thank you to Nicole for writing this, and thank you to Meg for posting it.

  • http://ridiculouslyeverafter.blogspot.com Nikki

    yes. more of these, please.

  • Anon

    Best wishes to you Nicole. I am so happy to hear someone talk about couples therapy sans all of the stigma. My BOYFRIEND and I are in pre-marital counseling, and really it is the best money we have ever spent. I got the idea partly from reading about Meg’s experiences with her now husband and their rabbi.

  • Mallory

    There are definitely things you can do to work on your relationship besides a marriage counselor (for those like me who at this point in time would not be cost efficient to see a counselor). Recently my fiance and I read The Science of a Good Marriage (http://www.amazon.com/Better-Science-Good-Marriage/dp/0525951385) and talked about a few of the points in it and how we could apply it to our own relationship. Two things that really resonated with me in the book were:

    1) Arguments does not equal an unhappy relationship. It’s easy to get depressed when you’re fighting with the one you love, but it’s important to realize that that is a necessary step to working out your differences and reaching a new and deeper level with that person. They found that couples who avoid fighting because it makes them happier short term to avoid conflict are actually more likely to be divorced down the line. It was nice to be able to see that silver lining of disagreements since they are so emotionally exhausting as they are happening. It also talks about HOW to fight, which is unbelievably important.

    2) It has a really great chapter about housework and dividing household work equally. It made both of us really examine our views on housework. For my fiance, it made him realize that he should probably chip in a little more and not expect me to praise him for helping. And for me, it showed me that I really do micromanage him when he does try to help which just leads him to not wanting to do chores which leads to me resenting that he doesn’t help. When in reality part of the reason he doesn’t help is because I’ll criticize the way he does things.

    Meg, I’d love to add this book to your list of recommended reading about marriage. For nerds like me it’s really great to see a relationship help book that is really based in scientific studies of marriage.

    • meg

      I need to actually read it before I add it to the list (which is only stuff I’ve read and like). But it’s already on my list of possible bookclub picks. It might be next, actually.

      • Mallory

        I really enjoyed it, though I’d suggest you read it before picking it for book club (which I’m guessing you usually do). It’s a great book but I’m not sure how well it will work in the book club format. It’s very factual and offers practical advice but I don’t think it would stimulate conversation in quite the same way as the two previous choices. I don’t think it’d be a bad book club choice, just that there might be better book club choices available.

        I’m currently reading “I do but I don’t: Why the way we marry matters” (http://www.amazon.com/Do-but-Dont-Marry-Matters/dp/0738210889) and it has encouraged some really interesting introspection for myself about gender roles and expectations in marriage. It’s a bit more thought provoking than the former book mentioned. It’s really interesting from what I’ve read so far (about 1/2).

  • Tricia

    What a real, brave, and inspiring post. And what a brave thing to do for your marriage! I think it really is important for us newbies to hear things like this. Just knowing what other people have gone through in their marriages, and more importantly how they worked through them, can help us be ready to face issues in our new marriages.
    So thank you for sharing the hard stuff with us. And YES to Reclaiming Wife!

  • http://txtingmrdarcy.wordpress.com Txtingmrdarcy

    Yes, Yes, YES.

    Thank you for this, Nicole. Coming from the “generation of divorced parents,” it’s great to hear your commitment to marriage and making it work.

  • Melissa

    My husband and I (married almost a year and a half) have seen a therapist every other week for most of our marriage – and we love it. My parents have 6 marriages between the two of them, my husband’s parents are still married but it’s a very, very unhappy marriage (the husband wishes they would get divorced and has since he was a kid) – so we came into our marriage well aware that if we wanted our marriage to work we had to do the WORK!

    So we go to our counselor and we talk and we learn how to be still be ourselves and yet be better for each other. You don’t have to be in crisis to seek out a counselor, we look at it as building an amazing foundation for our marriage to build on.

    **Our counselor was a grad student when we started so she was cheap and worked with us on a sliding scale based on our income. Now she is in her own practice, but has kept her rates reasonable with us. What our insurance company is willing to pay is next to nothing so we just pay cash and think it’s worth every penny.

  • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

    Wow, like so many others have said, this post absolutely floored me. Nicole, that you for being brave and sharing your story with us.

    It is really good to hear about what marriage could be like down the line, especially since so many of us (myself included) are in a glittery our-marriage-can-survive-anything phase because we jumped a few hurdles and feel victorious. But after ten years, there are more than just big hurdles, there a little stumbling rocks you’ve tripped on, things you’ve bumped into and gotten bruised. All of that adds up and affects a relationship.

    From my point of view, there are three choices to make: divorce, complacency, or fighting for your marriage. It is inspiring you’ve both chosen to fight for it. That you want a rebirth. All three are difficult (and sometimes divorce really is necessary) but I believe in your case and for many of us that working though it will yield the best long-term results.

    So thank you again for reminding or enlightening us what marriage 10 years in can look like and that actively making a choice to start over isn’t a bad thing, but a path to sustainable happiness.

  • Marguerite

    Thanks for this. This is what my relationship feels like too, and it’s not a perspective that’s shared very often. I’ve often wondered if I’m the only one who felt this way–if I’m crazy for trying to work on the relationship, and for believing it can change. None of my friends appear to be experiencing this (appear being the operative word, I suppose.) Thank you for making me feel less alone.

  • http://bloggersabode.blogspot.com/ Jennifer

    This is great! Refreshing to see the real parts of life and relationships and not just the dress and flowers stuff. My boyfriend and I are getting married in two weeks. We’ve been in love for 8 years but had our fair share of issues and struggles. At times it looked like we were going our separate ways. But we made it. Made it through with even more love and affection than before. We put a part of this in our vows as we are super proud of getting through the bad times, becoming so close, understanding each other and still being in love.

  • http://www.onegirloneguytwocats.wordpress.com/ Heather

    This was a great post to read, and as a newlywed, I look forward to more Reclaiming Wife posts. While my husband and I have lived together for 3 years, we still have certain things that just don’t seem to get worked out, and maybe some form of couples counseling would be good for us – get these things figured out now rather than later. My husband has been so supportive as I deal with my own mental illness, but there are times when I think we both feel a little helpless, and some counseling together could help tremendously.

  • Amanda

    Funny, just read an article in the newspaper today about couples and how communication is important, the basic and maybe hardest thing to keep a relationship alive.
    How sometimes you see old couples in restaurants sitting together not even talking to each other- , and the part about “not saying things ” for the sake of harmony is just so familiar, except eventually the situation bursts like a bubble (had it with roommates that were close friends and it was very painful to fight about things ).
    All the support to the authors :) You are better and stronger after this, and I believe also closer to each other. I want to believe this is what iti is all about.

  • http://l337projects.com D

    That’s… that’s a very hopeful story. I’m not really the reader this is directed at but I’ve been there, and it’s hard. I must say it’s really nice to hear how positive things can be through marriage counseling.

  • Katie

    Nicole, I appreciate your point of view and thank you for sharing as I can relate to this and with many of the other posts before me. I am currently engaged to a great guy who I have been with for nearly 5 years. BUT, I am struggling with cold feet and trying to assess if it is something more, and wondering how or why I didn’t foresee these issues before becoming engaged. I think a lot of it has to do with that feeling that we’ve just ‘been exisiting’ as someone else put it. We’ve been happy/content and great partners (we don’t have the typical red flags that plague many marriages), but also we’re not as ‘in love’ as we once were, the mystery is gone, etc. Thank you for sharing your insight and encouraging me to push through, no matter what the outcome might be. You’re doing all the right things to support a long and healthy marriage.

    • meg

      This is more just me throwing my thought out there, because I know… um… nothing about your relationship :) But! I’m a proponent of the theory that “romantic comedies ruin lives.” IE, I think the idea of “love” and “mystery” are kind of hog wash. When you first meet someone your brain goes through infatuation, which is a crazy rush of chemicals. Basically, “your brain on infatuation” looks a lot like “your brain on drugs.” This totally can’t last, and I think that we’re taught that when that’s gone, something is missing.

      David and I are in the weird position of never having gone through that. We’d known each other for 9 years when we got together, and been best friends in a very platonic way for a year, and we were business partners for goodness sakes. So, some switch flicked and we decided to go for it. But, there was never the infatuation thing. So, so different than any of our previous experiences.

      Anyway! So! I define love as “the actions you take day to day to support your partner” and “the way you build a life together.” That stuff doesn’t fade, it only grows, thank God.

      Which isn’t to say that there are not relationships that need to be called off. But it is to say that I don’t think infatuation has a LOT to do with a long term relationship. Can he make you laugh till you cry? Does he give hugs that make you feel better? Does he really listen to you? Force you to dream big? Believe in you? Those are better questions to ask, in my book.

      AND, scene.

      • Mallory

        I read an article a few years ago comparing the men who are addicted to porn who are unable to be sexually satisfied by real sexual encounters to woman who are taught to expect these thrilling relationships from “chick flicks” and are then unsatisfied by real relationships… makes a lot of sense, unfortunately.

        • http://happysighs.blogspot.com Liz

          i must’ve read that same article.

        • meg

          OH MY GOD. I need a link to this article. Someone find it for me? Pleaaaasssseeee? I’m being a diva, I know, but seriously, ahhhhhh!!!!

          PS Katie. We are so not compairing your relationship to porn and we are so supportive of cold feet, erm, make that supportive of you listening to yourself. But now we’re on a crazy porn/ romatic comedy tangent.

          • Jessica

            I googled “porn romantic comedy unrealistic expectations” and found numerous articles ranging in reliability, but all fit within the vein of this discussion surrounding romantic comedies creating an unrealistic expectation, similar to watching pornography. I particularly liked the short bbc article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/7784366.stm give it a google. The results are interesting. I have never thought of it before, but it makes perfect sense.

          • Katie

            LOL. Yes, thank God my fiance is not that sex-crazed person, and I do wish I had watched less RomComs and Disney movies growing up. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

      • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

        and that’s the sanity of APW. thank you Meg!

    • Jennifer

      Katie – Have you thought about whether there could be any external factors which might be causing you to feel this way? For example, I find that I sometimes feel distant from my boyfriend but when I really analyse what is going on, I realise it is “me” not “us” that is causing me to feel that way. If I am feeling stressed and busy I don’t take time to do important things like cuddle in the kitchen while I’m cooking dinner, or sit on his lap and tell him about my day. Then I start to get all neurotic and worry that we don’t have REAL conversations about REAL issues anymore when in actual fact, nothing about the relationship has changed, only my presence (or lack thereof). I hope things improve for you as you push through – it sounds like you are marrying a great guy!

      • Katie

        Jennifer – great points. The fact is NOTHING has changed since we got engaged, except for how I am interpreting the relationship, which is ulitmately making me project onto my partner and feel more distant/disconnected. I think I am adding a lot of “shoulds” to things, whether or not that is appropriate – ‘shouldn’t we be more affentionate?;’ shouldn’t I want to make out with him?;’ I should feel so happy and in love.’ Also, since we’ve never been that openly lovey dovey couple, I also wonder if I’ve missed out. Those external things coupled with my increasing anxiety prevent me from really knowing what is right for me, and for us. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • http://www.agirlandaboy.com/journal agirlandaboy

      Maybe that’s a good case for going to relationship counseling BEFORE the wedding? What better way to figure out if your issues are fixable (and worth fixing)?

  • http://forayavecmoi.blogspot.com Caitlyn

    We never did marital counseling before we got married, not for any other reason than we ran out of time, but it’s definitely something I’d love to try. We’re very good at talking and communicating, discussing our issues, but my best friend had marital counseling and said topics come up that you’d never think to think about yourself.

    This is an amazing story and I love that they care enough about each other and their relationship to put it in “the blender” as Nicole put it and still come out strong. You guys are inspiring, keep it up!

  • http://www.wearemixture.com Kris

    I love hearing stories like this! I feel like this is the secret stuff nobody ever talks about when it comes to really making relationships/marriage work. All I usually get from folks is vague platitudes and generalities about doing “the work” but never about the process of the work. Reminds me that a lifelong partnership really is an ongoing process of creating a space where you can develop and grow. Marriage is not static and I love knowing that the intimacy I have now can be deepened even further in the years and decades to come.

    My partner and I kind of did things the other way around and actually started seeing a therapist two years into our relationship once we moved in together and the fit really started hitting the shan. We knew (and still know) we wanted to build a future together and eventually get married but felt like we kept banging our head against the wall running into the same issues. Looking back, we just didn’t know what the heck we were doing. We had to learn a ton of new tools AND unlearn a lot of old default patterns. Oh, and we weren’t rolling in it either…in fact I’ve spent most of last year embroiled in health insurance drama but it was worth the cost for therapy and the time commitment.

  • anon for this

    Nicole,

    Thank you for writing this post. I couldn’t help but notice that “addiction therapy experience” was on your list of requirements for a counselor. I don’t know if your reason is the same as ours, but my boyfriend and I started seeing someone with that experience recently. It has been so difficult, but so worth it. It is amazing how much closer we feel being able to talk about the things we were afraid to talk about for so long. It sounds like you are having a similar experience and I hope it continues to be positive for you.

  • http://www.stitch-witch.net Christina

    My fiancee and I have been doing premarital counseling, since we’re being married by the head of my Pagan group and we don’t have that kind of premarital counseling in place when your religious group meets in your apartment building’s party room, yanno? For those in DC, we use The Women’s Center, which does a sliding scale if you have hardships (um, two people, one job, it’s hard). I LOVE COUPLES’ COUNSELING. It’s provided me a better insight into my partner and a better insight into myself. Don’t discount doing individual therapy at the same time, either. Totally worth it.

  • http://caitlindentino.com caitlin

    Although I read APW regularly, I rarely comment, as by the time I get around to it someone in the 100s of comments before has said whatever it is that I am often thinking. So with nothing new to add, again thank you to Nicole for sending this, but really, thank you to Meg for taking this site in the many different directions that we are all obviously wanting and/or needing.

    • meg

      Hi Caitlin!
      Just wanted you to know I’m reading your comment, and I love when you leave them. The end.

      xo
      M

  • FM

    This is awesome. I am so hungry for more accounts of what people in long-term marriages have done that they think worked/didn’t work!

    To add another story, my parents (who have been married 38 years) say that marriage counseling has been key to their relationship. My mom started going to personal therapy for depression about 20 years ago after her father died, and that’s when my parents started going to couples counseling every once in a while (probably every 2-5 years for stretches of months to a year or more) – it started as kind of an offshoot of her individual counseling and not really triggered by a crisis in their relationship, and then became a tool they turned to without necessarily being in dire crisis. One thing I would like to hear more about is what triggers people (who go on to successfully work through their marriage issues) to know it’s time to go counseling, rather than waiting until it’s so late in the process that divorce is imminent and maybe inevitable. Lots of marriage counselors say they wish people would come to them sooner before damage is irreparable – but I want to know, how do you know when that “sooner” time is?

    • meg

      Hi FM,
      My parents do the same thing. They used to tell us, “We go to couples counseling because we’re NOT going to get divorced, ” whenever we were worried :)

      I think, like with most things, you know if you’re paying attention. If you hit a sticking point in your relationship that you feel like you just can’t seem to work through, that might be a good time. Or if an issue comes up where you feel like you need to have some sort of a mediated discussion, so you can work through it calmly, that’s a great time. It’s different for every couple. Some couples really like just talking things out with someone, no matter what. Those people might feel comfortable seeing couples counselors a little more often. David and I, for whatever reason, have learned over the years that we seem to work best dealing with things a little more on our own. I’ve never had great luck with therapy (not for lack of trying), but have made huge strides with my endless, endless journaling. So chances are, we’d choose couples counseling slightly less often, because of how we process things. Which is fine! We’ve discussed this together.

      So just listen to your gut. Our Rabbi asked us to discuss our attitudes towards couples counseling in pre-marital counseling, and agree to go to it if one of us asked the other, even without a crisis. That was a really really good thing. I recommend discussing how you both feel about it when there is no crisis at all, so that when you do hit a rough patch, you’ve already discussed the possibility.

      • FM

        Ah! I like hearing your take on therapy. I am a person who is a big believer in it, but haven’t ever actually gone myself, so despite my support of it, it seems kind of mysterious to me. It is interesting to hear that you feel it’s not as helpful for you.

        And listen to your gut. Also always my explanation of how you “know” for anything. So true, but so unsatisfying as an explanation sometimes!

        I also made a promise with my husband before we got married that we would go to counseling (individual or couples) if the other asked, without a fight. He’s pretty resistant to the concept of therapy, but we got through enough conversations about it (and watched some relationships fall apart with people not seeming to try at all, and then regretting that when it was too late) for him to agree that it’s the easiest, least we could agree to do, especially if we can blame going on our promise rather than a real need (since sometimes when things are wrong you need something to blame for making you take steps to fix it, if you’re in denial about your contribution to things being wrong).

        • meg

          I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m a beliver in therapy too, it’s done great things for people in my family. I just need a REALLY agressive therapist before I get anywhere. I’m, what’s the word? Articulate? Overly thoughtful? So I already know how I feel about things. I probably already wrote it down. So when therapists say, “So how do you feel about that?” I’m like, “Well I already know how I feel about it, what are YOU bringing to the table.” It only works for me if I have someone who will flat out argue with me, like “I think that’s the wrong move!’ and I’m like “Of course it’s not the wrong move, asshole! Prove it!” and then they are like “Here is why!” and I’m like, “Oh well, ok POINT.”

          Most therapists don’t like to work like that. They want you to ‘figure it out yourself,’ and whatever I’m going to figure out, I’ve already figured out without paid help. Hence, therapy is good for me in crisis, but not super helpful out of crisis :) So there you go.

  • Mattingly

    SOoOoOo this post just gave me the most awesome excuse ever to keep APW in my ‘top sites’. (not that I really needed one, but it’s nice to have! lol) I would love to be able to continue reading inspiring posts about smart women deciding to stick to their men and their marriages and work through the tough issues. AWESOME. INSPIRING. Really great to hear is possible, and even better to get advice on how to proceed.
    Three cheers!!

  • Mollie

    Read this inspiring post today on APW… then heard the StoryCorps story about Danny and Annie.

    http://storycorps.org/animation/danny-and-annie/

    Amazing, puts it all together.

  • http://sarahsurgeon.blogspot.com sarah

    bravo to you! and thanks for having the courage to share with us. the idea that a marriage takes work and is an evolving process isn’t out there enough. can i ask, how did you/when did you bring up the thought of going to counseling. i’ve only been married for a year, but we never did pre-marital counseling (and wish we would have) and have no major issues, but i would love to be able to have as you put it a “marriage referree” or even just a non-family, non-friend person to take us through things. i’m thinking of bringing up the idea to my husband, but i am not quite sure where to start.
    thanks for this.

  • Jenny

    Thank you – just thanks – thanks for putting it out there. For all of us who *know* and attempt to have those HARD conversations. You’ll come out on the end, better. I hope we all do.

  • Moz

    OH MY GOD NEW FAVOURITE POST!

    Nicole, this is brilliant. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Mattingly

    I just wanted to pipe in and say that this was wonderful to read. And I think it would be a FABULOUS idea to continue expanding ‘reclaiming wife’ with stories like this! I’d definitely love to read them!

  • Denzi

    I kinda love how intertwined APW and RW are, so I am sort of anxious about separating out RW, because I’m afraid of people missing out on the different kinds of wisdom that come from each. And I really love having all the long-married folks present in the comments and interacting in community with newly engaged couples, almost married couples, etc. But, I imagine you have already thought a lot about this, Meg, and whatever you come up with will be a thoroughly awesome solution! (Or we will all work on it together as a community until it becomes one. :D )

    Also, now that I’ve vented my fears: As someone who started reading this site “pre-sig other” and is still a year or so away from engagement and wedding, the posts I care about most really are the Reclaiming Wife posts. They are the ones that I end up sending to my significant person, often leading to long conversations about what we agree with, what we disagree with, and how this affects our relationship. So I am SUPER DUPER EXCITED WITH EXTRA CAPSLOCK about getting more Reclaiming Wife content! :D

    (Of course, now I am freaking out that sig other has had bad experiences with professional counseling and is super-resistant to it so OH NOES we can’t have a good healthy growing marriage, but I think that is anxiety disorder brain talking. Because I am pretty sure that have-regular-relationship-talks-with-trusted-pastor also counts, and that is something that we’ve already discussed wanting to do. Dear Anxiety Brain: Your counseling does not have to look exactly like everybody else’s. You will still find ways to evaluate and grow your relationship. Chill the f*ck out. Love, Me.)

    • meg

      They will be interlinked, in that you’ll always know what’s happening on the other site, and you’ll be able to tab back and forth easily. But, long story short, I don’t aspire to be a blog with lots and lots of posts every day, because I think part of what we do so well here is take a topic, and then discuss it like mad all day long. So I want every idea to have a day to stretch it’s legs, and ever wedding graduate to have a day in the sun. So, because of that, I’d rather have two (very connected sites), where each one has a topic of the day.

      I’ll be asking everyone’s help to keep the communities intermingled, because I agree. I don’t want people that are planning to loose the support of people that have been there. Nor do I want people who are planning to miss the amazing discussions on marriage. But I think breaking them out will give us more room for the discussions, and will give us some space to differentiate the two ideas when we need too. Plus, it will let us grow into talking about more wife & family topics that would be sort of nuts to discuss on a mostly-wedding site.

      So! That is a very short version of my thoughts on the subject :) More in a bit.

  • http://breadandcheeseplease.blogspot.com Charise

    Getting from the deciding to go to counseling to actually finding a therapist and going is our hurdle, too … since we didn’t get married in a church, we didn’t have premarital counseling, but I wanted to do something, especially learning more how to “fight fair” and generally communicating better about disagreements. One year into our marriage, I am thinking about it again, since we never got around to it before. I love my husband (obviously) and we have a mostly good relationship, but good god, you are so right about having the same fights about the same things all the time. I would love to be able to move on from those and feel even closer to him.

    Thank you for being so open about this – I feel like it’s one of those things with a stigma attached to it even though it shouldn’t. Working harding to make your marriage better is a GOOD thing!

  • http://www.thebarmaiden.com thebarmaiden

    I’m not generally the type to comment on posts, but this one got to me. I love the story, and while I hope that I won’t ever contemplate divorcing my fiance, I hope even more that if we do find ourselves in a similar predicament, that we will have the strength and courage to do what you did. Thanks for being an inspiration.

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