The Step that Will Change Our Marriage

Every year, I make goals.

Every year, I’m successful at some and not so successful with others.

This year is a bit different, letting you into my methods to be successful. One such goal is to have a better marriage. Let me give you a little background.

Growing up, I was not surrounded by happily married couples.

My parents seemed happy on the outside, but on the inside, they were distant. My mother content clicking away on the computer keyboard in her office while my dad, well, he was kinda just there. Even at a young age, I realized they weren’t right for each other. I couldn’t say that there was any fundamental flaw with either one of them, just that the other wasn’t a complement. Their quiet bickering in their room only affirmed my belief and so did their eventual divorce.

Most of my extended family never married. Single motherhood was, and still is, the norm. For the few that had taken the plunge, abuse was rampant, the impressions apparent on my generation.

There were a couple of married couples that seemed to survive, but as I aged, I found out they were at best dealing with each other.

When my proposal came, I was excited, but I also had very low expectations. In all honesty, if I could avoid Aggression, Abuse and Adultery, I would be able to make it last forever.

Changing Our Marriage

So we married… and a lot of things occurred: financial ruin, death of a child, strained familial relationships, but none of the three As. We made it to the other side, relatively unscathed.

Or so I thought.

I thought we were happy. I thought we were a great couple.

We are, but we aren’t.

In our desire to keep a peaceful relationship, we skip the argument and turn it into animosity and resentment. We wish the other did things. Occasionally, we’d discuss it, but we rarely resolved it.

What do you do about non-issues? I tried to figure out how it would go in therapy:

Therapist: What brought you in today?

Us: We don’t argue, but somethings wrong.

Therapist: What?

Us: *shoulder shrug*

Sadly, we’d be telling the truth. We didn’t know what was wrong, just that something was.

When our church announced that they started a ministry called Re|Engage for married couples, I was eager to sign up. They introduced it as a ministry that will bring a marriage back from the brink of death and/or improve the best of marriages. Sounds like we couldn’t go wrong.

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I told my husband about it. As usual, he had little reaction to the news.

Until last December, when he heard about it at church. Well, when he processed the announcement from church, he decided it was something we should do together.

We went to our first meeting, of course, right before the winter break. Three weeks went by. But we started right back up again in 2016.

Their format requires that you attend weekly meetings, initially being placed into an Open Group, then eventually Closed Group. In order for this process to work, you have to be comfortable sharing and laying your flaws on the table. Until you are comfortable, you stay in an Open Group. The Open Group changes weekly, as couples come and go. Once you’re ready to really dig deeper, you can request to join a Closed Group.

A Closed Group is several couples who promise to keep the session confidential, so that everyone can freely speak without rejection or judgment. When you reach the Closed Group, you work through the workbook, chapter by chapter, diving deeper into yourself, your heart and your soul.

After four short weeks, we have made it into a Closed Group. Now, I can truly share our journey and what we are getting from the sessions. Please join me through the process.

So, to finish this week’s sentence: “I’m thankful for…”

  • I’m thankful that my husband not only wants a decent marriage, but wants a great one.
  • I’m thankful that he opted to come because I would not have pushed.
  • I’m thankful that our church offered a solution, an alternative to traditional therapy.
  • I’m thankful that he’s excited to go.
  • I’m thankful that we’ve started praying together.
  • I’m thankful that the church offers childcare so that we can go weekly, without the need of a babysitter.
  • I’m thankful that it’s at a time that is convenient.
  • I’m thankful for the couples that we’ve met.
  • I’m thankful for the leaders of the ministry for their time.

Most of all,

  • I’m thankful that we, as a couple, are on the same page, as we embark on 2016 to make our marriage stronger.

Finish the Sentence Friday is a link-up where writers and bloggers come together to share their themselves with a particular sentence. If you’d like to stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join our Facebook group.  Link up your sentence prompts below!

This, dear ones, is a glorious-most-wonderful mash-up of Finish the Sentence Friday and Ten Things of Thankful joining forces for one WONDERFUL weekend.

If you want to join in, the starter sentence is “I’m thankful…”

Feel free to answer it any way you wish.

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39 comments on “The Step that Will Change Our Marriage”

  1. tara pittman says:

    The church is where most get married. So it makes perfect sense to seek help from there.

    1. April Noelle says:

      I never thought of it that way, but yes. That also makes sense.

  2. Bernadette C says:

    Part of this years goal is to better my marriage as well. It doesn’t seem like it will be too difficult but more so a matter of just doing it. Sometimes the daily things go unnoticed so trying to change that aspect of things.

    1. April Noelle says:

      That’s what I like about the program. It forces you to work on it weekly. Since it is an actual program, you make the commitment to go for at least four months straight. (Of course excluding illness or emergencies.)

  3. Michelle says:

    It sounds like this will be such a blessing for your marriage. I pray that it leaves you with a stronger elationship

  4. I am sorry that you have had such a rough start. I hope this will help you. Just acknowledging their is a problem and deciding to do something about it is such a great first step

  5. I am sorry to hear about all your troubles in the past. Looks like you went through a really tough time. You are taking the right step in helping your marriage. I wish you two the best wishes.

  6. Elizabeth O. says:

    Relationships in general are hard work, what more if it’s marriage. Couples should always be on the same page when it comes to these things, you know? And it’s not one-sided. It should be you two making an effort to make everything work. Face challenges together and always side with each other.

  7. SHOBHA GEORGE says:

    Best wishes to a happy future ahead!

  8. Eugenia says:

    I’m sorry you had a difficult time, but I’m glad that you found the strengths to move on and you are taking steps to save your marriage! Problems make relationships stronger and I wish you all the best to you and your husband! Be happy!

    1. April Noelle says:

      Thank you for the encouraging words.

  9. nicole escat says:

    I’m so jealous to the woman got married because me and my hubby was living in for 3 years and he still didn’t ask me for a wedding. Congrats to your relation, I wish you had a good years to come

  10. This is beautifully written and I’m wiping some wetness from my eyes. I am so happy for you two.

  11. I strongly believe in couple’s counselling but so many resist it. Glad that you are finding value. 🙂

  12. Kerry says:

    I had a good example, for the most part, for what marriage means growing up. However, I still have some issues with conflict resolution. I tend to go quiet and withdrawn and not wanting to stir things up by making a fuss, but then I don’t end up speaking my mind at all and suffering in silence, allowing wounds and issues fester.
    Good for you both for looking for resolutions. I wish you both all the luck in the world in 2016.

  13. May says:

    This is simply wonderful. I pray for you to have great success—together!

    1. April Noelle says:

      Thank you. We are happy to working together.

  14. Good luck with everything, it is important to recognize when you need to make a change.

  15. Rebecca B. says:

    Best of luck with your therapy and your marriage! I’m glad that you found help through your church and I pray that it will help mend your relationship.

  16. piper george says:

    That’s great. It’s really good to hear about men in a relationship who also want it to work, and who want to work at it. I know quite a few men who let their marriages waste away because therapy (at least in this country) is for women and wusses. I’ve re-discovered my marriage and why it’s important we can talk to each other just this month, for other reasons – and I am so glad. I hope it all continues to go well for you. xx

  17. ivy says:

    Congratulations on having the courage to make a change!!! Great post

  18. It is great that your church offers childcare so you can attend these sessions. I am thankful for my family and our health.

  19. Kristi says:

    Oh, what a lovely post! Marriage can be such a blessing, and I’m glad you and your husband are working together to strengthen yours.

  20. MyTeenGuide says:

    I am sorry that you had a difficult start. This sounds like a great program.

  21. Bev says:

    Marriage is such hard work, but when you find a partner who you love and want to be with, worth the effort! My husband and I are constantly working at our relationship with each other and working on our own self-improvement. It’s not always easy, but I’m glad we’re on the same page when it comes to working on it. I’m glad you found something to help strengthen your marriage and one that works for you and your husband.

  22. Hi, I didn’t get a chance to write a post for the link-up this week, but I am visiting the posts anyway. And I’m glad I did, because I landed here and don’t think I ever have before. I just want to tell you how beautifully written this was. You truly have a gift. And thank you for being so honest. We have very different backgrounds; however, I can relate to the “We don’t argue, but something’s wrong,” but also the desire you have to explore all that right about your marriage, because there is a lot that is. I know how hard it can be, and I wish you and your husband nothing but the best.

  23. What a great post and a great commitment to one another to make your marriage better.

  24. Ron Leyba says:

    Praying and hoping for a stronger bond and marriage for you guys! Just keep on holding on, things will get better soon.

  25. Lizzi says:

    Oh April, I wish you and your husband all the very best luck in the world. That you both want to improve your marriage is half the battle won. That you have such a great framework and amazing support within which to try, is HUGE! Sending you lots of love and hopes that everything works out ok. I know the down-side of a failing relationship all too well, and promise, if you’re both invested, there’s SUCH hope for you 🙂

  26. Rosey says:

    Marriage is so hard. Kudo to those who do all they can to make it for the long haul

  27. Liz Mays says:

    I’m so excited for you as you travel this path to a stronger and more reconnected marriage. It’s a great step to take!

  28. So, so many couples would have given up on their marriage if in the same boat as you and your husband. Kudos to you both for agreeing that there was a problem and that it was worth fixing.

  29. Shaylee says:

    This sounds like it will work wonders for your marriage. I think anyone who is getting married or is currently married should have access to counselling. I’m getting married next year and plan on doing this 🙂

  30. No matter how you get there, if you have a relationship or a personal circumstance you want to make better, taking that first step is the best and most important one. I wish you both so much success and happiness together.

  31. Pat B says:

    I’m so glad that the two of you jointly decided this would be helpful and you are making progress to a happier relationship in your marriage.

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