I Paid Thousands for This. Take it for FREE.

I Paid Thousands for This.  Take it for Free.

Eleven years ago, about two weeks after we met. I think Anson is twelve.

When things looked like they were getting scary with the pregnancy last September, Anson and I went into couple’s therapy together.  It was our way of asserting that we did have control over something, and that something was how we got through it together.  I came to fondly call it my “STFU Therapy” (but, for the purposes of this place, I’ll clean that up and call it my STHU Therapy – Shut The Hell Up, if you couldn’t get there on your own.)  Surprisingly most of our therapy wasn’t centered on what we were going through at the time, but how we were dealing with each other in our every day life, and how it had taken its shape.

The biggest thing I would walk away with after every session was the strong suggestion to STFU STHU.  My semi-constant need to let Anson know how I would act in any given situation, and how he should act in any given situation was actually not all that helpful.  Go figure.  Turns out that Anson does not need to be driven by me, nor does he need me as co-pilot.  So, when he comes home with complaints about work?  Listen, and STHU.  (Disclaimer:  Anson never complains about work.  I’m just using it as a hypothetical example.  Also, hello to Robyn, Anson’s boss!)  When Anson complains about his family?  Listen, and STHU. (Disclaimer: Anson never complains about his family.  Hypothetical.  And also, hello to all my in-laws!) In essence, the penchant to have my husband do all things exactly the same way I would do them needed to be stopped.

And STHU therapy has been wildly helpful.  Somehow having the responsibility of my husband’s actions resting squarely on his own shoulders has relieved my own stress.  Because even though his problems do play a role in my life, they don’t have to be my problems.  There’s a new division there, and that is really lovely because truthfully I have all my own problems, plenty of them.  This new dynamic takes me back to when we first met, and how his funny jokes made me laugh because usually they were not all that funny, but he thought they were and that was funny.  And how when he told an inappropriate story, sometimes with kids around, I would find it hysterical and not mortifying.  Because he still does not belong to me, he is not mine to own; I get to enjoy his goofy behavior and not be responsible for it.  And that is probably what will keep us in love and together until the next therapeutic breakthrough.

15 thoughts on “I Paid Thousands for This. Take it for FREE.

  1. Thanks for this post Jodi- it’s nice to know there are other couples out there that aren’t a squeaky-clean picture of marital bliss and who need help/advice occasionally also. My partner & I underwent the STFU therapy with exceptional results some years back. I need occasional reminding of the importance of active listening and the uselessness of trying to “fix” anyone else. So thanks for the reminder Jodes!

  2. Wonderful realization. This is something that could be applied to so many relationships, not just couples.

    You look like you’re twelve, too. Well, maybe thirteen, due to the mascara.

  3. Unfair because it took my husband and I around two years to figure that out. Really it took me that long to figure it out, with him patiently enduring my “helpful suggestions” ranging from everything from how he dressed, who his friends were, and what kind of father he would be. Letting go of trying to control that has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but has also been the one thing that has saved my marriage. Keep at it, girl!

    Also, I nominated you. Good luck!

  4. It probably wasn’t at the same bar because Anson was only 12. teehee! I’m so glad you posted this, it’s a reminder we all need about the people we love in general…husbands, boyfriends, mothers, sisters, friends…it really is a freeing concept. So glad you’re still in love and stuff. Gives the rest of us hope. 🙂

  5. Thanks for the reminder. We have been at it 21 years, and I still need to be reminded. As always, thanks for sharing….

  6. Oh my. I so needed to hear that. Can’t wait to feel that freed up feeling, hadn’t thought of it that way. Thank you so much, Dr. Popcorn. btw…u r nominated.

  7. Well the though of even having a child scares me! So I don’t blame you for going in and having therapy. I mean if it works then great!

  8. A few years back I had to take a step back and do the same thing with my husband. I realized that I wasn’t his boss, his mommy, or his therapist. I’m his wife and his best friend, and usually all he needs me to do is listen and offer my opinion from time to time. It’s easier to tromp all over someone who loves you as much as your husband does because sometimes they just let you get away with it, but I think it’s good to know your boundaries.

  9. So strange to think that the problem with a marriage can be there’s too little distance and too much intimacy, but there it is. I got much the same thing out of my marriage therapy, only it was not STF/HU, but NMP – Not My Problem.

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