“Everything you love you don’t lose…you push it away with your inability to grow and change. You married a fighter and I’m not giving up on you yet. I’m going to find us a marriage counselor.”
As little girls, most of us women have dreamt of our wedding day all of our lives. Surprisingly, I was never one of those little girls. I always knew that I wanted to be married with at least a child but that was as far as that dream went for me. The older I got the more I thought about it, and I had made up in my mind that I wanted a beach ceremony whenever that time came. On May 12, 2012 I married the love of my life. At the time he was a Navy sailor that I had met at college in passing, and we were reacquainted when our best friends were dating each other at the time. It was a small ceremony on Neptune Beach in Jacksonville, FL. It was the both of us along with our wedding officiate and any onlookers that were on the beach that day. That was one of the best days of my life, and what I felt was the beginning of a new beautiful life for the both of us. Fast-forward almost 4.5 years later and now here we are sitting in a marriage counselor’s office wondering where in the hell did we go wrong!
Both of our families and upbringings were pretty unorthodox. I was a military brat that wasn’t raised in the church, while my husband was raised in the south most of his life and he was raised in the church. We came from two different backgrounds nonetheless the dysfunctional childhoods we had couldn’t make us any more similar. When we decided to get married we eloped with only our close family and friends knowing what we were doing. No marriage counseling, no nothing. Two dysfunctional individuals that came together thinking they were going to able to have a functional marriage with no spiritual help before hand…except the fact that both of us knew God told us that we were meant to be together. Deep down we knew that we probably should’ve done counseling, but since we bought books on saving our African American marriage and continuously working together we just knew we were going to be alright. Boy o boy were we wrong.
Within our first year of marriage we had never lived with each other because we lived in two different states (GA and FL) and worked for two different branches of the military. We were pregnant and the issues of trust had already started to rear its ugly head. I moved to Jacksonville, NC (where he was stationed to next) during my 8th month of pregnancy. By the time our daughter got here we had only lived with each other for a month and the tension was thick. Mix that with a colicky infant, the baby blues, lack of intimacy/respect, arguing about suspicious female friends, and you have a recipe for disaster. After 6 months I moved back to my home state because I couldn’t find a job there, not knowing that an emotional affair was on the horizon on my husband’s end that would change the dynamic of our marriage forever. You would think we would have reached out for help then, but we didn’t and eventually I had an affair of my own. Things got so much worse and for the third time the subject of divorce was on the table, and it seemed to be for real this time. Our daughter was celebrating her 3rd birthday and we had just had one of the worst arguments in our history of many terrible arguments. At the end of that argument he told me everything that he loves he loses. That wasn’t the first time he said that to me, but this time it stuck with me. As I was picking up the birthday cake from Publix the next day a thought popped into my head. I texted and told him, “Everything you love you don’t lose…you push it away with your inability to grow and change. You married a fighter and I’m not giving up on you yet. I’m going to find us a marriage counselor.” By the time that weekend was over we had decided to go to marriage counseling.
Believe it or not, most African Americans do not go to counseling because we consider it to be something that rich Caucasian people do. What happens in our house stays in our house, and we just don’t think getting an outsider involved in our personal business isn’t going to solve anything so why bother. We didn’t know what to think when we started marriage counseling, but for myself I knew one of two things were going to come out of this. Either we were going to be together and learn how to rebuild from this point forward, or we were going to leave this thing being better friends and learn to co-parent our daughter efficiently…that’s it. Four sessions in, along with changing how we communicate and treat each other, and our relationship is already starting to change for the better.
I am not a professional in this department non-whatsoever, but one thing I do know is that whatever is worth having is worth fighting for. If we knew then what we know now we would’ve had counseling before we got married. Marriage counseling may not be for everybody, but when you’ve reached your breaking point don’t be afraid to use all the resources available to you. Most insurance offers coverage for these services as ours does, and if you choose to seek help from your pastor or bishop that is fine too. It’s going to be a long, hard road for us, but we know whatever God has in store for us at the end is going to be something immaculate and beautiful. It can’t get much better than that!
~Bella Brown Suga~