Everyone talks about how marriage is sacred. The marital vows are sacred. It’s a union between two people henceforth things that happens between the two of you should stay between the two of you. I understand some of the sentiments that back these up. I will not broach these reasons further because we all know why we all believe in this already.
But here’s some food for thought.
When you’re going through a phase with your bestie slash life partner and you have no one to turn to, it can become incredibly lonely. If you’re the type to often present a sunny disposition to everything and everyone, it even becomes harder to shatter the illusion you’ve harmlessly created. And in an African setting they say you have to preserve the image of your partner. So when you tell your friend or family about their mess ups, you might forgive your partner, but your friend might not. All of it drives you to reclusion.
In the middle of such a fragile stage without a confidant, you will most likely not make the best decisions. Most decision made from negative feelings or emotions from a place of loneliness is usually not an all-round decision.
And if in a particular situation where you feel emotionally abused, manipulated, or wronged in any way (this excluding all forms of extreme abuse or physical abuse) but you basically feel like the wronged party… chances are you can never make the best decision to turn the table around all by yourself. You already feel lonely, and might be tempted to move on from that issue for the sake of peace… for some company… because loneliness eats the soul more than anything else. You will unintentionally reinforce the bad behaviour that made you feel hurt in the first place, because you did not have the strength for conflict, or did not know what to do. No one was born with conflict resolution skills, and most couples have struggles; not just with communication, but with confrontation, conflict resolution and repair.
Now they say love doesn’t count wrongs, but love takes pride in its own value, and if you value yourself, you deserve to ask for better, and indeed get better treatment from your partner. You might be willing to accept those behaviours that do not take a lot away from you… but some of them break you.
So what’s my answer? Therapy. Yes. I’m back again with preaching therapy. I’m not selling any digital products. I am just among the few people on earth who advocate for psychotherapy and psychiatric interventions.
A lot of people claim to have friendships that they can get the best advice from, hey I give amazing advice usually, but even I get stumped. Even I am tired on some(many many) days to attend to my closest friends because I have my own life to deal with. Even I am clouded by what is happening in my life, that if I give you advice, it will be heavily tinted with my current experience.
And when I am the one asking for advice, my ego wants to protect me from looking stupid, or for letting you know I ignored red flags, so chances are I might not give the full picture. To maintain my pride, I will not tell you how low I stooped in the name of love. So how then will my friend be able to advise me if I’m withholding information? How can I get the best advice is there are underlying emotions or things in other aspects of my life that are affecting my behaviour already.
I think we put a lot of unnecessary strain and expectations on friendships, and in this current state of the world where burdens are getting heavier for anyone to carry by themselves, having a crutch is strength.
With a therapist, I know our Thursday appointments are fixed. If life is beating me down, I just have to hold on till Thursday when my confidant will not have a bad network connection and cancel on me. They dare not, I am literally their KPI.
With a therapist, I feel more strength even in my shame. I speak the words I know they will understand because no matter how low I have stooped, they’ve heard another story where the person dug a 100ft hole to be able to stoop. I tend to therapize myself when I speak, so I know they will give me space to figure out my stuff without giving me advice unless I need it. I also have a cheat code of having friends who give me great advice and positive energy, so it means by the time I’m speaking to a therapist, I am resounding those sentiments to validate them.
With a therapist there is no threshold to the topics I can broach or aspect of my life we are focusing on. Career stress, creativity, brainstorming, and even sharing positive moments and victories.
Don’t go through life alone. Don’t do marriage alone with just your partner. Yes, alone, because two becomes one, and one can be alone. Don’t fall for that trap, especially as a woman.
We have been raised to be enduring, and we tend to endure like a mule, we’re supposed to break our backs like donkeys or camels, and only get to rest from emotional stress only when we die. We’ve been told to preserve our man’s ego, and not let someone else know that they don’t have all the answers. Because we’ve been told a man’s answer is superior to our own. And guess what? Men speak about their marriages more often than women speak about theirs.
You don’t have to drag your partner to couples therapy. But get therapy for you. Allow yourself to see a clear path to your own happiness. Because before you became one with somebody else or got to carry the yolk of three children, there was you, your dreams, your goals, and your passions. Allow yourself to make better decisions and use the tools available to you.
Stop suffering in silence. Everything will be fine. But before it is, don’t let your heart die.