Monday, March 14, 2011

He said...She said...But They Really Meant...

There are no fairy tales (or at least none that I know of) in which the princess and prince speak different languages until magic steps in and causes the language barrier to crumble.  There should be.  With all of the other analogies to real life situations that fairy tales cover, why not an analogy for the most common problem between couples – miscommunication.

Last Saturday, the Prince and I went to marriage counseling.  The Prince, as usual, threw a bit of a fit about going…picking a fight as soon as I woke up and stating that he wasn’t going.  He openly admits to our counselor that he hates coming to counseling.  He even understands that he hates counseling because he is very uncomfortable dealing with feelings and emotions, whether they be mine, his, or someone else’s.  However, the Prince went to our appointment on Saturday and, as usual, he admitted at the end of the session that the counseling was helpful and that he wanted to schedule another appointment.  And I have a theory about why he values marriage counseling even though I think he does actually hate it.

My theory is that the Prince recognizes the magic that is occurring in the counselor’s office when the counselor translates between Man Speak and Woman Speak.  I also think that, somewhere buried deep inside the Prince, there is an “observer” that recognizes that being forced to sit in a room, as opposed to running away, while I cry and express my feelings about infertility is a valuable exercise for him.  He needs to hear what I have to say, but he doesn’t want to because it makes him feel “too much.”  Having to hear it in a safe and controlled setting must make him feel more connected as a husband, whether he is able to fully understand what he is feeling and why, or not.

On Saturday, I brought up my intense fear that the Prince is going to run away emotionally when things get tough this cycle…which they will.  The Prince feels that I am being pessimistic about the cycle and that he thinks it is going to work this time (yeah…at least one of us is Positive Polly).  I explained that I’m not talking about the outcome of the cycle, I’m talking about hormones swirling through my system as we go through our most critical cycle yet…right before mother’s day.  I need a plan for us to handle my mood swings and any potential set backs, so I can feel some security going into this cycle of the unknown.  The counselor pointed out to me that the Prince is being optimistic that this time is going to work and that I should feel comfort in that, using him as a rock when my hope falters.  The counselor also made the Prince remember a time when he was terrified of something that was out of his control (of course the Prince chose an example from when he was six years old), and asked him to remember that feeling every time I cried or asked for comfort.  At one point, the counselor even forced the Prince to follow the source of his aversion to answering a certain question until the Prince finally blurted out “It sucks that I can’t fix this!  What does she want me to do?  I can’t fix it.”  I started crying…tears of joy.  I’ve waited three years, hoping to hear the Prince say that.  Not because I want him to be frustrated or uncomfortable, but because every other IF husband I know of will say how badly he wants to fix the situation to spare his wife pain.  This counseling session was the first time the Prince indicated that his avoidance behavior was about his own pain and feelings of helplessness, as opposed to irritation with me.  It was the first time I heard him say that he wanted to make this easier for me and recognized that he couldn’t.  I know that’s not the exact words he used, but as the counselor pointed out…that’s really what the Prince said.  The counselor was able to break down the language barrier, turning Man Speak into Woman Speak for just a little while…and that takes magic.


cgd said...

wow that session sounds amazing, so glad you guys are going. I am thinking I need to drag my husband's ass to couples therapy too.

New Year Mum said...

Sounds like you had a very powerful session... I agree that counsellors help translate what's going on and sounds like she has an amazing way of helping you find the connection you've always had. I agree with cgd - might have to try convincing my husband to give it a go xoxo