Monday was our first marriage counseling session. Knowing that this is what will make or break my marriage, I tried to be upbeat and keep a positive attitude.
The counselor seems like a nice man. In his early 60's, he told us that he is a former Green Beret who served two tours in Vietnam and felt a calling to use his psychology degree to help people. The group he is affiliated with is a faith-based group of counselors. A little faith never hurt, so I was okay with that.
We opened the session with prayer. It wasn't a bad idea because I knew things could very ugly in the following hour. And they did.
During the course of the session, the counselor asked a myriad of questions about the marriage. Most of the questions were for both of us to answer aloud individually. I still tried to maintain a positive attitude.
The pivotal moment came when the hubby tried to downplay the extent of his actions over the years. In a calm demeanor, I turned to him and said, "You are an abuser." The silence that followed was deafening. It felt fantastic for me to say that directly to the husband. My strength grew a bit more.
The counselor proceeded to lay some of the blame for all of this at my feet. I told him that I was tired of being made to feel guilty about all the problems at home, and he then told me that the husband can't make me feel guilty because I'm the one in charge of my emotions. If I feel guilty and horrible because of a verbal barrage, he said that it was of my own doing. While I've made mistakes and atoned for them, I don't believe that blaming someone crying out for help is the way to go.
It was also said that it is not 'God's will' that a marriage fail. My question should've been "Is it God's will that a person just take years of abuse?" But, I held back.
I'm definitely not comfortable with this counselor. While faith has gotten him through some very dark times, I don't think it should be the blanket answer to the problems here. We need very realistic and very practical advice if this is going to work. Does that mean that faith gets shoved out of the picture? No. But I've done a LOT of praying over the years that things would get better. They would, then the cycle would begin again.
I'm starting a new attitude in my life. It's about me and my kids. Period. I'll continue to go to the sessions and give it an honest try, but my focus is shifting to the reality that this marriage MAY not survive. I don't know.
I've begun to take time for myself while the kids are in school. I'm going to a day spa today for a wax before my upcoming beach weekend. I'm going alone to just sit and be. I'll leave my carbon footprint by just converting oxygen to carbon dioxide. That's the hardest thing I want to do. I've spent so many years trying to take care of everyone and everything else that I got lost somewhere along the line. I have to find myself and not feel guilty for taking care of that broken spirit. My kids deserve a happy mom, and with the strength of God and friends, I'll give them just that.
No matter what, I think I see peace at the end of a very long, dark tunnel.