Till Death Do Us Part: Marriage Counseling after the Loss of a Child
Traditional wedding vows often include the phrase "till death do us part" in the vows. It is meant to refer to the passing of one of the spouses. However, many couples find that their marriage is strained after the death of a child. Consider attending some sessions of marriage counseling together, as it can be very helpful for individuals to learn to rely on each other during this grief-stricken time.
You Are in This Together
Marriage counseling will help you realize that you are in this together. The death of your child happened to both of you. Your counselor can help you transition to your new normal together. The loss of a child never goes away; however, it should not always be the main focus of your marriage.
Your counselor will help you plan a time that you and your spouse can be together every day to help each other heal emotionally. Many couples find that they are able to cope with their grief better when they are with their spouse.
You do not have to force a conversation; simply being together is beneficial. You can take a walk together, share a dessert, or give each other foot rubs. Watching movies or television together is not as beneficial, but it is better than nothing.
Each Spouse Grieves Differently
There is an idea that women cry and are very emotional after a loss and men are stoic and feel that they must remain strong. This may or may not be true to your marriage. Each spouse may have their own idea of how the other should be grieving the loss of their child, and you cannot expect your spouse to grieve a certain way.
Unspoken expectations can be devastating to a marriage, especially one that is already emotionally fraught. Counseling will give you a time to speak to each other about how you grieve.
The wife may be upset that her husband seems stoic and unemotional. She may not understand his needs for physical intimacy. The husband may have no clue that his wife is using retail therapy to deal with her grief.
A good counselor will help you express your expectations of your spouse and yourself. For example, you need to tell your spouse that you are upset that they are able to go out with friends, while all you want to do is stay home and cry. Your spouse may surprise you by letting you know that going out with friends makes them put on a happy face so that they can get up each day.
The counselor will help you recognize and accept the different ways that you grieve so that you do not start blaming each other and creating more chinks in your marriage armor.
Focus on the Real Problems
The best part about seeing a marriage counselor is that you can focus on the real problems. Some people find that they are hypersensitive immediately following a loss. Little things that would never have bothered you before can become giant molehills that are threatening your happiness. Your counselor will help you have the right perspective.
However, that does not mean that these small problems should be swept under the rug. If you have always had issues with the way your spouse treats you under certain circumstances, then now is the time to fix that problem. The focus of your marriage counseling should be about forging your marital bonds until they are stronger. After all, if your marriage can survive the loss of a child, it can survive anything. Get in touch with a representative from a counseling service like Associates For Counseling & Psychotherapy today so your marriage can find the healing it needs after the loss of a child.