New Year, New Us: Our Marriage Tips For Overcoming a Rough Patch
This is hands-down my most vulnerable post ever, but I am passionate about keeping it real and know intuitively that this story will resonate with every couple at one point or another. As I think about the new year, I can’t help but recognize the new “us.” A couple of years ago, my hubby, Trav, and I went through a bit of a rough patch. I was going through a really intense breakup with a former business partner, my Grammy was dying, and mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually, I was upgraded to a first-class ticket on the hot-mess express.
On top of that, we were also into our seventh year of being together which statistically is a make-or-break year for couples. With all of the intense life-drama coming at us from all different directions, we became distant. Distance led to feeling alone. Feeling alone led to feeling resentful. Feeling resentful led to a really unhappy and unhealthy dynamic for both of us. It was not a fun time for us and the reality is, this is a reality we all go through in our own ways.
Love is easy when things are easy. The real test of love is how you “grow” through what you “go” through. Travis and I had to work really hard to get our relationship back on track and through that work we came out stronger and more in love and appreciative of one another than we ever were even when we were in our “honeymoon phase.”
Now, I am no expert, nor am I trying to be. All I know is this is a place where I want to be REAL and paint a picture of what marriage is REALLY like. It is HARD. And it is ohhh so worth it. I am tired of every online couple I see painting a constant image of perfection and ease on the gram when the reality is, that’s just not how this goes down, okurrrrr?
Here are a few of the lessons I have learned on keeping our marriage strong and navigating those inevitable rough patches…
Take a Time Out
When Travis and I were in the thick of our rough patch I just shared with you, I remember I had to go on a work trip. Things weren’t great at home, I wasn’t in my best mental space, and I was NOT feeling this trip. But, I was an entrepreneur in start-up mode and taking time-off was not in the cards so I put my big girl panties on and went to work. I remember feeling really guilty about going like, “why is this happening to me right now?”
Turns out, that time away from each other was possibly the best thing for us. It forced us to step away from the intensity of things and really self-reflect on just how much having each other means to us. Coming home, I remember feeling reassured that this marriage is worth it and thankfully, he felt the same. I distinctly remember Travis saying, “The past few days of being alone, I’ve thought about the worst-case scenario and I know that I don’t want to that. I don’t want to separate.” It took us taking a time-out from each other to really get in touch with how times right now might be hard, but times without you are way harder. Sometimes a little distance really makes the heart grow fonder.
The Grass Is Greener Where You Fertilize It
And sometimes depending on the season, you need more than some water. Sometimes you actually have to invest in some fertilizer for extra support. Trav and I are big advocates of seeing a counselor for a little extra support. When we were getting married, pre-marital counseling was a requirement by our pastor. Since then, we’ve occasionally referenced things that came up back then. When things really got tough there for awhile, we decided that maybe it’s time we try that again! It was helpful to us when things were going great during pre-marital bliss when we didn’t think we really needed “help,” so it must be helpful now, right? Turns out, it was!
Making that investment in a little extra reinforcement for our metaphorical marriage grass made it more green and vivid than it would have ever been able to be with only water. As long as you are both equally vested in doing whatever it takes to be your best for each other, then anything is figure-outable.
Be Willing to Hit the Reset Button
It really does require a reset sometimes. You can’t move forward and catch your next blessing if your hands are still full of old baggage. You have to truly be willing to release the grudges, stop dwelling on the past, and focus on how you can improve your future together. I’m not saying to brush problems under the rug without dealing with them and moving forward pretending that they didn’t happen. I think that’s the textbook definition of dysfunction. What I’m saying is once you’ve addressed an issue, you can’t move forward if you’re still holding onto a grudge.
Like I said, I am by no means a PRO. I’m just a married woman who has been there, and dealt with that.
It’s a bit of an awkward feeling being this open and vulnerable about the reality of the hard times that we all face when we are all so conditioned to put on a smile and fake perfection for social media.
I hope that 2019 brings more rebellion against the facades we share online and more transparency of what actually is because there is beauty in the strength that comes from the struggles and imperfections. We all struggle sometimes, and that’s what makes the good times so precious. Like I said, I’m truly grateful for all Trav and I have been through together because luckily for us it has allowed us to grow stronger together than ever before, and I know the same can exist for you if you’re willing to put in the work.
Here’s to love, transparency, and an amazing 2019.
Share your thoughts with me in the comments below! I’m excited to read your take…