Make A Good Thing Better

Friday, February 12, 2010

With Valentine's Day just around the corner I thought I would let you in on the Hosking's secret to marital happiness and harmony:

Her name is Karen. And she's a marriage and family counselor. 

Marriage is awesome. And God-ordained. And wonderful. But marriage is hard. 

Let's be honest - you put a boy and a girl in a house together nearly 24-7. You ask them to share everything - money, food, the Netflix queue, recreational time, the computer, the bathroom, a toothbrush (or is that just RJ and I?), the blankets, etc. 

Then you throw in a kid or two, a mortgage payment that I swear is growing rather than shrinking, some in-laws, and a family budget and things can get ugly. In a perfect world, where we all follow the Bible without struggle, and we are completely selfless in every situation, marriage would be cupcakes and rainbows all the time. But, until heaven gets to earth, we have to actually work at creating a WE. It is a purposeful assignment that requires effort and a willing heart.

After much prompting from our dear friends with 20+ years of marriage under their belts RJ and I finally scheduled an appointment with Karen. "Make a good thing better," they kept urging us.  We do routine maintenance on our cars, our bodies, our homes, so why wouldn't we take our marriage in for a check-up?

The first time we drove to Karen's office RJ and I weren't sure what we would talk about. Would we even be able to fill the entire hour? We knew we had some issues: we don't fight particularly well - I tend to fly off the handle and RJ runs away, and we sometimes disagree about finances. But, besides a few little things here and there, we couldn't figure out what we could possibly discuss. 

Well...that hour was probably one of the fastest in my life! We couldn't believe it when Karen stood up to signal the end of our session. Just a few insightful questions from her and we had been off and running.  

Over the last few months we've discovered that in 5.5 years of marriage we've adopted patterns and systems that over the long haul could be detrimental to our marriage and our children. Tiny things that seem small now but multiply them by 30 years and we could be facing some challenges. It has been fascinating! And exciting! And helpful. We feel so good knowing that we're not only setting up our marriage to truly last a lifetime, but we are creating a better atmosphere and environment for Landon. Which will not only benefit our children but our children's children.

If I might be so bold, I actually have come to believe that if you don't think you need counseling you probably need it the most. The best athletes are those that know their weaknesses and work to improve upon them. Likewise, in previous posts I've discussed the need to be real and authentic. We need to be more real in our marriages. And more authentic with the people around us. And sometimes even more authentic with our spouses. Admit to your weak spots and don't just shove them under the rug.

Let's be honest with one another every single marriage has it's difficult moments. (And if you don't, one of the two of you is stuffing his/her feelings and needs.) But, I've seen too many people be too prideful to admit that things are tough at home. They cling to the perfect image, stuffing away the reality until it's shattered and difficult to repair.  It's a cliche, but a tiny crack and quickly grow and splinter if not nipped in the bud.

So, this Valentine's Day, let me encourage you to make something GOOD even BETTER. Read a marriage book with your spouse. TALK about your struggles even if it's hard. Possibly seek counsel. And CHERISH your marriage more than your pride. 


Dallas said...

This is why we ADORE the Hoskings! (and that crazy pic, by the by)... thanks for being willing to be open and share your dirty laundry with all of us.

But, Anna, seriously? Are you getting a kick-back from Karen for every couple you get into her office? Is this the pyramid scheme RJ kept trying to get us involved with? HaHa!

Love you guys!

Anonymous said...

Anna, thanks for going out on a limb on this one. Dr. Dobson says that by the time most couples seek counseling its too late. A little prevention can go a long way.

Two Cent Sparrow.
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