Mothers Have Needs Too!

Allison Gilbert, LMFT, Santa Cruz Counselor Lic: MFC 24087

Defrag Your Marriage

A Tree vs The Blame Game
I read an article about a couple who sought counseling for their relationship problems.  They had a list of complaints about each other but after some history-taking, there was one glaring situation they'd experienced that they forgot to mention:  seven years prior, the husband had been diagnosed with a (benign) brain tumor.  The article showed how they came into therapy blaming each other rather than the "huge tree that fell on their home" (the brain tumor).

A Baby is Like a Tree
Having a baby is also like having a huge tree fall on your home.  It falls on the house and nothing is ever the same again.  Your marriage gets put on hold, while you attend to an "invalid" who can't give back, needing constant care.  You may also develop a major illness, similar to a benign brain tumor: it's called, "postpartum depression".  It's a wonder couples make it at all.

A Marriage is Like a Computer
If the new baby is like a fallen tree, a marriage is like a computer.  For example, if there isn't a chance to touch base and communicate in your marriage, your inbox will fill up with resentments until the deleted items are emptied.  Lots of "stuff" builds up over time and before long, you can't download any more of your favorite love songs because there's no more room on the hard drive.  Your computer/marriage starts to act funny, slows down and becomes completely frustrating.

Before and After
I remember BC (before children) when I could easily find the right time to communicate with my husband and get back on track with him.  I would clean out my inbox regularly and clear up my hurt feelings before they'd turn into resentments.  But AC (after children), if we were ever able to find time together, I'd just collapse and fall asleep.  If I could stay awake, I was so sleep deprived that I'd forget what I needed to say, or my words didn't come out right, or he'd be so on edge anyway that we'd just end up in a fight.

Cleaning Up Hard Drive
It gets easier as kids get older but by that time, your inbox may be so full you forget a tree fell on your house.  As you attempt to defrag your marriage, remember to blame the situation of having had a tree fall on your home rather than blaming your husband's shortcomings.  Forgive yourself and your husband for having such a full hard drive.  Eventually, you'll be able to clean up and uncover the love, commitment, responsibility and character that make up the "operating system" of your marriage.  This operating system is what has kept your marriage together all along.

2007 Allison Gilbert, M.A., L.M.F.T.; Free Tips

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