I could talk at length about my two years at Northwestern and all that I learned. It was by far the most eye-opening, educational, and transformative two years of my life. I dug deep into my own experiences, found the courage to touch on my own pain, and did a whole lot of introspection (our fancy therapy term for soul-searching).
After my first year in the program I decided to enter my own individual therapy, which I continued for nine months. It was during my time in therapy that I met and started dating Cory, and it is to the complete credit of my therapist (God bless her) that I was able to acknowledge my anxiety, sit with it instead of run from it, and allow the relationship to move at its own pace. Was it easy? Hah! That’s why I went to therapy once a week. But I’m telling you, it was worth it.
Cory and I dated for a year before we got engaged and although my anxiety was probably lower than it had been in my early twenties, it was still very much there. I was still terrified of letting myself be seen and loved, afraid that if I opened myself up, he would leave me.
To Cory’s credit, he was patient and understanding, he listened when I explained to him why I reacted the way I did, and he was willing to learn about and care for my sensitivities.
And to my credit, I finally had words for what I was experiencing and could speak to my emotions clearly and rationally (if not in the moment then certainly afterwards). I wouldn’t have been able to do that without my education or my time in therapy.
Through my own healing, as well as through the lives and healing of my clients, I came to believe in marriage again. My cynicism and doubt washed away and my hope was restored. And two years ago today, I took the biggest risk of them all. With no guarantee for a happy ending, and the full knowledge of all the bad that could happen, I promised to love the man by my side until death do us part. He was the great I had hoped for.
Two years have passed, and although it’s such a short time in the grand scheme of things, I’ve learned so much about myself and marriage in that time. Vulnerability is still a daily struggle for me, and maybe always will be, but I’ve learned that it’s an absolute in marriage with no room for compromise.
I’ve learned not to overreact (as much), to allow conflict and frustration to happen, and to try (and try and try) to speak his love language, not mine. And more than anything, I’ve learned that marriage is worth it. It’s worth everything I’ve ever had to go through. The heartache, the anxiety, the fear. All that it took to get me to where I am today.
And to my husband, my best friend and partner in life (and soon-to-be co-parent!), happy anniversary. Here’s to ever-learning and fully experiencing this one wild and crazy life together.