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My wife and I had a blowout fight at our marriage conference, and it changed everything

“Maybe I should sleep downstairs for a while when we get home.” I heard the words I was saying, I just couldn’t believe I was saying them. We should have been hanging out by the pool like all the other couples, or talking about how much we loved each other, not doing this … not fighting. 

My wife Jodi and I had traveled across the country to attend our first marriage retreat led by some of my biggest professional heroes. We had been married for 10 years, and I was five years into my career as a therapist. Of all the things I had imagined happening at the retreat, having a huge fight hadn’t been one of them.  

I was actually thinking more along the lines of getting the chance to demonstrate my brilliance as a therapist while also showcasing that I had a stellar marriage — obviously immune to the problems most couples face. And yet, during a break between sessions I was volunteering to sleep in the basement.  

3. The quality of your relationships is determined by your willingness to grow and change 

The best relationships we have are the ones that are growth-minded — where we’re committed to doing the work along the way. 

I never did sleep on that Murphy bed, and I’m pretty grateful for that. Sure, there were some tears shed and many more hard conversations after that weekend, but the lesson I took home is one that no couple should be without: If you don’t ask for help, you probably won’t get it. 

Jason VanRuler is the author of “Get Past Your Past.” He has extensive experience as a clinician, coach, and speaker and operates a multistate private practice. In 2018, Jason joined Bethesda Workshops in Nashville, TN, where he serves as a group leader and facilitator. 

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