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This Exchange simulates the original Couples Coping Support Group. It is designed to help persons with concerns in their relationships, family, marriage, seperation, divorce, etc.Offering a wide range of real world, personal experiences, information, knowledge, suggestions, & views from real people.
In our marriage, we have done much forgiving (it's the forgetting part we're struggling with). We love each other and hope to stay together. We've been married 16 years and have two teenagers. Just to keep this post on the short side, simply put, I fear going to marriage counseling. I fear dredging up the past when we both could just sit at home and write the same book, close it, and say, "okay, that's what happened, what do we do now?" Talking about every issue we've had in the past is *guaranteed* to start major arguments, create a difficult home life, and, create, in me (and probably him) a state of constant, daily anxiety. My biggest fear is that the marriage won't survive the turmoil of the process. Is it worth all of that when we could just agree to disagree, forgive, and continue to work on our communication style and find ways to rebuild trust and love? Any advice is so appreciated.
Therapy/counseling is about helping you understand the issues you are dealing with. The process can be destructive in the short term. My wife was in therapy for many years for PTSD from early sexual abuse. She quit many times and finally quit for good. Therapy was a safe place to discuss things but she was tired of opening the same old wounds over and over again.
The biggest thing about therapy is finding the right therapist. Be prepared to have a session with multiple therapists until you find one that you can both work with.
You and your husband should have specific goals from counseling and the counselor should be on board with the goals and should state what they plan to do. You want to stay away from finger pointing but it's tough to advise someone when you don't know the history. You can express the concern and hear the counselor's response.
I don't know the past but I imagine there are books that discuss issues that you may have and are concerned about forgiving.
From what you have written it sounds as though those past issues were quite significant or huge that they would still be haunting the marriage to this day. Or is it possibily stubborn personalities? Have you mentioned your fears and concerns to your spouse? Without any further detail, as stevesmw mentioned, finding the right fit with/for a counselor is key. Is it possible for the two of you to have individual sessions or counselor prior to entering marriage counseling?
I'm curious to know who suggested marriage counseling?
Is it worth all of that when we could just agree to disagree, forgive, and continue to work on our communication style and find ways to rebuild trust and love?
There is nothing wrong with that so long as both of you agree with it. If he is the one who wants to try marriage counseling you should do it and take stevesmw advice. The two of you need work at getting on the same page again. It may be painful, take time, or disrupt life...but putting it off may bring the two of you to the end of your chapter.
It would probably do you good to find a new perspective. Be more open minded about the process.
Yes, the key is to find the right counselor. One that's not going to 'hang out' in the past. Counseling should be a safe place to both say how you perceived the situation without fear of an argument. The counselor should help you both understand the others' perspective of the situation. Also to understand how and why you both take things in and dish them out. A counselor after getting to know these things about you should be able to provide you with the tools you need to actually move past the past, and also prepare you to handle future issues in a healthier manner.
If you find yourselves arguing in the counselor's office as you would at home then you need to find a different counselor. Take the argument you're having and set it on the back-burner (understanding you've probably already had the same argument) and take the time to ban together in agreement of how bad of a counselor that was... just a thought!
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.
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