Monday, February 6, 2017

One Word

It's funny how it only takes a single word to take you back in time.

As you know, I've been in counseling. My counselor is pretty flexible with how our sessions go. Sometimes he'll start the conversation by asking about something specific, but a lot of times, he just asks what's on my mind and we go from there. It's a pretty good system because it ensures that I get a chance to get out whatever is weighing on me that particular day.

Last week, I brought up something that has been on my mind for a while, but I've been avoiding talking about. Me and Steve's relationship or, if you want to get really accurate about it, my fears about the strength of our relationship to cope with losing a child. In the midst of our conversation, the counselor said something to the effect of not wanting to just be roommates.

With that word, I was suddenly thrown back in time to five years ago. Our marriage wasn't in a good place then. We were still together, but there wasn't a strong connection between us. We shared a home, a child and sometimes a bed, but we pretty much lived separate lives. We were basically roommates. Even though I was unhappy, I lived in fear of him saying he didn't want to stay married any more.

So I took a huge chance and wrote Steve a massive email spilling out my heart and asking him to consider something that probably sounded a little strange. And even though it was a bit off the wall, he took a chance in trying it. It made a huge difference in our relationship. Our bond strengthened. We started talking, really talking. I learned that I could be independent and still lean on him. DD has made us the couple we are today.

When I look back on these past few months, I wonder if we would still be together if I hadn't taken that chance five years ago. Losing a child can take a toll on a relationship and a lot of relationships don't survive. But we have. A bit bruised and battered, but we're still standing together.

Because we strengthened our bond and opened the lines of communication, I feel safe sharing my grief with Steve. Even though I get frustrated at needing someone to lean on, I know that I can lean on him. I don't think the woman I was five years ago could say that.