I had a powerful experience this week. I led a focus group to get input on building newlywed coaching groups. 4 couples who have been married for less than a month to nearly 2 years participated. The energy built as each couple realized they were not alone in dealing with some real challenges at the "newlywed" stage of life when things are supposed to be crazy-in-love, time-of-your-life, full-of-happiness times.
As each couple talked, they found great encouragement in knowing it is "normal" to have a less-than-perfect relationship. The pressure to be head-over-heels in love and experiencing the perfect season of marriage lifted, life entered the conversation, and hope for building strong marriages grew. Wow, does it get any better than that??!
The truth is, everyone has their struggles. Even the people in the most dynamic relationship you know work through tough times. The greatest accomplishment of my life is the marriage and family life my husband, Jon, and I have built together, but we've had to be very intentional to do that. When I teach conflict management at the university, I consistently share with my|healthcare professional|personal|my own, personal|search terms|my own , personal|medical professional|published|health care provider|my business|all of my|of my|excellent|my own personal|keyword phrases|a|offered|economical|day-to-day|web page} students that my|healthcare professional|personal|my own, personal|search terms|my own , personal|medical professional|published|health care provider|my business|all of my|of my|excellent|my own personal|keyword phrases|a|offered|economical|day-to-day|web page} marriage is the most rewarding piece of my life, but it has also been one of the hardest things I've done. Every hour we invest, every dollar we spend, every date night we plan are completely worth it. Jon is truly my best friend, and I am so grateful!
The problem is that people rarely talk about the hard part. So we compare the worst of our life to the picture perfect posts on Facebook or Instagram. Who hasn't felt empty when the beautiful pictures of Fourth of July festivities show smiling happy marriages and families, and we know firsthand the tough times our family faced this past week? But we tell ourselves that something must be wrong with us, we feel bad about what's happening, and we bury the reality under plastic smiles. Bottom line: the quickest way to destroy the dream you have for your home is to hide.