Dear Munchkin and Peanut,
Yes, Daddy and I see a marriage counselor. No, we’re not trying to stave off divorce. No, our marriage isn’t troubled. There is no need for you to worry. The counselor himself probably put it best one day when he told us: “You don’t really need me. You’re like the B+ student who wants to get the A.”
You see, kiddos, Daddy and I are pretty new to this marriage thing. We’ve only been at it for five years, and like you, it doesn’t come with an instruction manual. There are lots of wonderful, happy, fulfilling aspects of our marriage. But there are challenges, too.
In our society, seeing a counselor of any type carries a kind of stigma. Many people assume you’re crazy or weak or whiny or incompetent if you see a counselor for individual reasons. Most assume the marriage is on the verge of failure if you talk to a marriage counselor.
We see it as preventive maintenance. You have to take a car in to the shop for regular oil changes and filters. Counseling is much the same: the counselor can provide a fresh perspective, kind of like replacing a clogged up filter with a new one. Talking through trouble spots helps keep a marriage healthy, like oil changes. Better to take care of it before something breaks, right?
We have appointments only as frequently as we want; sometimes they’re only a couple weeks apart, sometimes months. We’ve averaged about once a month since Munchkin was born. Marriage is one thing; parenting brings a whole new set of challenges and uncertainties. The counselor repeatedly tells us that people with very young kids tend to have the lowest marriage satisfaction rates. But thanks to our sessions with him, we’ve managed to not just survive these years, but grow, both as a married couple and as a family. In light of that, saying we’re “thankful” for this opportunity would be a major understatement.