Earlier this year, my partner and I decided to try marriage counseling for the first time in our nine years of nuptials. After experiencing four failed adoptions in one year, while simultaneously raising a newborn, our marriage had taken a backseat. We were stressed, grieving the emotional rollercoaster we'd been through, and along the way we'd lost the ability to take care of each other. Thankfully, we came to the conclusion that seeking marriage counseling was a good idea, because it turned out that marriage counseling was the help my partner and I needed.
Initially, we sought counseling because we were trying to make a decision about whether or not to give up on adoption, and we'd reached an impasse we couldn't push past by ourselves. We were both sitting in our respective corners, unwilling to give in to the other and completely unable to see a way forward. Of course, when we arrived at our first appointment, we realized there was more we needed to adrress and fix before we could even make that big decision.
We went to counseling with a couple who had been married for 35 years. They were about our parents' age, but complete strangers to my partner and I. We found them through a program at a nearby church, primarily because going to our church, and people knowing we were going to counseling, would have added another layer of stress to an already stressful situation (although we both agree, now, that we've all got to work to remove the stigma of seeking help for your marriage through counseling).
In the end, counseling was so crucial to us that, finally, I'm more than ready to be open, honest, and unapologetic about the many ways it was just the help my partner and I needed. Not only did it help us make a monumental decision, but it became a pivotal part in us keeping our marriage strong for the future.