I had a breakthrough in couples therapy today.
My husband, Joshua, and I have been attending therapy for almost a year now, and we’ve benefited quite a bit as a couple. Today, though, working as a couple, I got an understanding of something deep and personal–something I didn’t know was there.
We started by discussing my Josh’s connection to a church we’ve been attending. He has committed to being a member of the church and is involved in a few different activities. I attend church with him most of the time, and we have been involved in a few activities together.
We talked about how good it’s been for him to be involved, and I started to get really sad. I was a little upset with myself for being frustrated with him being away from home more, now that he’s more involved with the church. Was that why I was crying? Nope. There was more.
I’m genuinely glad that my husband is involved in church and some other things too. Not long ago, it was only me going out with friends from time to time or doing things outside of the house weekly. He’d be at home relaxing, and really only leaving to go to work.
During the session, the tears kept coming and coming, and I just relayed where my mind was going. First, I thought about how I wished Josh were home more, and when he invited me to come with him to more church activities, more tears came, and I knew that wasn’t the point.
I talked a little bit about how my husband and I used to go to a different church meeting and that that was what I thought was an ideal church. It seemed to fit me so well, but I never committed to it, and my husband didn’t commit to it. And now, years later, it seemed like I lost my opportunity for me and Josh to be a part of that group.
My chance was gone. I said, “it’s too late.” I knew we wouldn’t go back to that church meeting as a couple. Now Josh was involved in the other church.
Suddenly I understood that church was just an example. I knew that I was crying because there have been so many times in my life when I wanted someone to do something with me. I wanted to show someone something in my life, and I had neither the social skills nor the self-esteem to do it.
I thought about myself as a junior high kid wanting so bad to be included, always following along. I thought about myself as a freshman wanting to make new friends, not knowing how to do it. I thought about my ex-boyfriend from high school and how I always went along with what he wanted to do–it was great adventure, but I didn’t bring him along with me. I didn’t risk being seen. I had all of these “flashbacks” of pain suffered because of an unmet need.
I didn’t know how to ask “you” to be a part of my life. I only knew how to go along and be part of yours.
I understood then that I have a beautiful need to bring others with me. I have had good things to offer all these years. All these years.
And the tears came in as grief for those times lost and for appreciation of having uncovered a beautiful need that has been part of me for so long.
If I’ve had it for so long, it is likely to still be there. I’ve gained skill and self-esteem, and now my husband knows it is a part of me. It’s likely I can grow and advocate for myself so I can have that beautiful need met.
Peace Out and In,
*Language learned from Non-Violent Communication conferences.