It didn't take long for the "honeymoon" feeling to wear off in our marriage. I would say reality set in at about 3 months. We started getting frustrated with each other's little habits, we started fighting more, and things got really stressful. I was new to Minnesota, new to marriage, new to post-college life, and new to my job. Unfortunately I took a lot of those things out on Eric and did not treat him nearly as well as I should have.
During that time I became very self-focused. Everything was about me - he wasn't doing enough for me, he didn't say nice things often enough, he wasn't as focused on me as he should have been. I began to have some real anger issues and resented him for a lot of things that I shouldn't have. Because I had this attitude, our relationship took a giant dive and was extremely tension-filled for quite a while.
I attribute a lot of our success now to the fact that we (mostly Eric, because he saw the need far earlier than I did) took initiative and decided to get counseling - both separately and together. We both had issues that needed to be worked out in our own personal lives as well as our marriage. Now, here's something I want to address. I know that "marriage counseling" is a big buzz-word for people. They hear somebody say that and automatically assume that person's marriage is in serious trouble and on the brink of divorce. I really, really want to change that perspective.
Eric and I are huge proponents for counseling, no matter where we're at in life. Even if things are generally going well, there are always ways we can be working on ourselves and ways we can learn how to process life better. I don't think anyone has ever "made it" or ever will "make it" - we're all in process and we're all on the journey of life. Why not make the most of it by learning how to process life and treat others in a healthy way? I become incredibly saddened by people who tell me they don't believe in counseling or that they think they've reached the point in life where they're beyond needing that. I completely disagree with that assessment. Whether we realize it or not, we all have baggage and issues in our lives that need to be dealt with - it just depends on if we're willing to swallow our pride and actually deal with them.
Friends, please don't make the mistake in thinking that you have everything figured out. I know I thought that way for a while (and still do sometimes), and it nearly destroyed my life. We are all in process. No matter what stage of life you're in - single, married, high school, college, with or without children, we can all use a little help processing through this crazy messed-up world and the issues that come along with it. Yes, reading our Bibles and praying are both incredibly helpful and we need to do those things, but I believe a healthy dose of counseling can go a long way and help us see areas of weakness in ourselves that we may have otherwise been blind to.
My relationship with Eric is still not perfect, and will never be perfect - we still get in fights, we still get stubborn about whose turn it is to do the dishes, and we can still become incredibly selfish. But I love our marriage. We are weird and quirky and utterly strange (I wouldn't have it any other way), and I'm grateful to be married to a man who challenges me to be a better person and isn't afraid to ask for help along this journey.
I don't say any of these things to try and sound like we're "better" or that we've in some way "made it." I know that we still have issues and we will always have issues. But one thing I also know - we are learning what it means to swallow our pride and ask for help when we don't have all the answers. If we continue doing that throughout the rest of our marriage, I know we're going to be just fine. And we'll be more than fine - we'll be great.
PS - My husband is the best man I have ever met. He is kind, gentle, loving, and incredibly supportive. I'm so blessed that the Lord allowed me the privilege of being his wife. He's my best friend and more than I could ever ask for. I'm thankful for these last two years and I'm looking forward to what God has in store for us in the future. :)