When I started Re-Engage with my husband, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew they spoke about learning to love, but I wasn’t sure what that meant.
First of all, I didn’t think there was much wrong with our marriage.
I knew it wasn’t perfect. What is?
I knew that there was room to improve. Who doesn’t need a little improvement?
At our first meeting, we encountered a question. I can’t recall exactly what it was, but the point was “confess to your spouse your sins so that you may be forgiven”.
I’ll say it, I was uncomfortable with having to confess “old stuff” to him. Why does he need to know things that happened in the past that I never intend on mentioning or bringing up again and that I will go to my grave keeping in my mind and heart.
Him, on the other, had something else planned. He had something that was sitting on the tip of his tongue and by the next day was questioning when we would chat. His anxiousness to complete this assignment did not put me at ease. I felt my “sins” were “no harm-no foul” so we could talk about them whenever. He wanted to “get it over with” and that scared me… a lot.
Once we found the time to sit quietly with each other, after the children went to sleep, he started the conversation with his confession. It ended with me confused and in tears. I didn’t doubt his love or his commitment, but I felt like his confession was out of left field and knocked the wind out of me.
At that time, I didn’t think I wanted to even continue. What else could he say to me?
Was this class the beginning of the end? Was it the end of something that I thought was maybe a bit shaky, but not at all crumbling?
Thankfully, it was not.
We started this journey at the end of 2015 and I’ve already learned so much, not only about myself but about me as a wife and mother.
First, we covered love. You know that thing that princesses find and live happily ever after? Have you ever wondered why the story never continues after the wedding? I’m sure no one wants to see the baggage that both spouses brought and what they expected their spouse to do with it.
In the class, we looked at the expectations of “love” that we imposed on our spouses, the quiet and unspoken ones from television, family or friends. You know the parents that have been married for 30 years and keep saying that the key to marriage is serving your husband dinner every night? Or the ones on television where the husband is a bumbling fool and the wife has to control everything in order to keep any order in the house? Have you ever thought that re-learning to love was in the cards after you got married?
I thought my expectations were minimal. Love, respect and come home at a decent hour every night. My husband came through with flying colors. For me, I found that I had such low expectations for success that peace was enough for me. Never mind that we rarely spoke about the issues that we had and especially never fixed them.
With our personalities, we were both content. Not angry enough to fight, not sad enough to discuss it, we were both just “ok”. Quite frankly, had we not taken this step, I’m not sure that we would’ve ever gotten to discuss our real issues.
I found that I had many, many more expectations that I thought were a given. The problem was that they weren’t and he didn’t do them. I was confronted with them and even worse (or better) I had to talk to him about them.
During our second session, we were challenged to look for our own baggage and how it’s had an effect on our marriage. Now here, I know I come in with a LOT of baggage. I’m what Iyanla Vanzant calls a “Fatherless Daughter”. I have a father, but he’s not in my life. I had a step-father who was absolutely wonderful until he had a child of his own.
I’ve never felt that I’ve had a positive male role model in my life and most certainly not one who would slay dragons for me.
On the mother side, she was there… but for the most part, she was just there. She had her own things going on and often they trumped whatever was going on in my life. I know she loves me, but I can’t say that I’ve always felt it.
Then there’s the rest of the family…
So, in our classes, we break down our feelings. Not to blame or sulk in the pain, but to see how those feelings relate to the person who lays next to us every night.
All of that was only the first two official classes. Whew!
See you next time.
If you are looking for marriage help or just want to find out more about this program, check out Re-Engage.