‘My husband and I do NOT have a perfect marriage. We sought the help of a marriage counselor. We argue. Do I know we will live ‘Happily ever after’? No.’

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“A few weeks ago, my husband Nick and I sought the help of a marriage counselor…

But first- our Pastor shared a message that really spoke to me. He said, ‘Your shadow is a reflection of who you are, NOT a projection.’ Meaning, what we tend to share on social media is a projection of our lives. What we want the world to see and think of us. Unlike the acquaintances we may project to on social media, the ones IN your shadow (family, close friends) are going to know YOU. The good, the bad, and the crazy. He went on to say this:

‘The problem today is that people are comparing their own reflection to other people’s projections.’ Whoa!

I feel like I try to stay fairly well rounded with what I share, I mean… I shared my favorite gray hair touch up and literally took out Veronica (my weave) ON FACEBOOK! I want to be real. I refuse to gossip, or talk badly about other people, but aside from that, I’m here, gray hair and all! I don’t want to give anyone false projections to compare to. This subject has been heavy on my mind and heart for quite a sometime. So…

We do NOT have a perfect marriage. We don’t have it all or even half of it figured out. We argue. We get frustrated. We get annoyed. But we love each other, fiercely. We have a true desire to work hard for this marriage. Stepping into this with 3 divorces, 4 kids and 1 career in law enforcement between us, we knew the odds of our family surviving were slim. So instead of relying on hope and love (those are good, but let’s be real) we decided to be proactive about it. To come up with a preventative plan for this disease before we had to suffer through a treatment plan and possibly a funeral.

We made the decision to start seeing a marriage counselor the week we got engaged. Nothing was wrong. We were in love and crazy about one another but both very aware that those emotions only take you so far. We made a pact to see our counselor until we knew all there is to know about marriage and raising children (so, until forever). We decided that at least 4 times a year would be good and more if needed. As marriages go, we have had our wonderful times where we only needed those quarterly visits, and we have had our rough times, where we went weekly for a bit. Good or bad, we go. Every single time, we learn something. Never once have I regretted a second spent on that couch, but I have spent countless hours thanking God for placing us there.

Nick and I both agree, without a doubt, that if it wasn’t for that couch and that person, in that tiny office at Community Bible Church… our marriage would be dead, simply because we had no clue how to fight for it. In that room we were given countless tools and ideas. We were allowed to express ourselves in a safe place. We were heard. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still work, but anything worth having IS! Do I know without a doubt that we will live ‘Happily ever after’? No. But I do know we will fight like crazy for it and I know that our chances drastically increased when we made the decision to ask for guidance before we even realized we needed it

So there ya have it. With the stigma surrounding counseling and mental health, I hope this finds a way to help someone who needs it, as I’m sure it will also find its way to those who will scoff and judge … and that’s ok. I also hope this portrayed a more accurate reflection rather than a projection. If you don’t have all the answers… great! You’re human! None of us do! Where we run into problems is when we think We know it all or refuse to ask for help when we realize don’t. Please don’t get stuck in that trap. There are so many good resources out there. You just have to make the decision to put your ego aside and GO!”

Courtesy Piper Harvey

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Piper Harvey, 36, of Arkansas. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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