8 Brutally Honest Marriage Truths I Learned From My Therapist

If you’ve never sat on a stranger’s couch with a box of tissues in your lap, bawling your eyes out as a kind-eyed man smiles without judgment or criticism, then you don’t know what you’re missing.

After the weight of my husband’s opiate addiction threatened to suffocate me or drive me mad — whichever came first — and after discovering my own codependency issues, I was serendipitously led to a retired therapist who lives within walking distance from my house.

I needed help (desperately), and I still can’t believe my good fortune in finding a therapist so perfectly suited to my specific issues.

Not only had he worked in addiction treatment for decades, but he also had a couples therapy business with his wife. This man has lived through multiple marriages, good and bad relationships, and has counseled hundreds of couples (if not more) throughout his career and he’s never shy about sharing those life experiences with me.

As someone who got married extremely young and struggled with knowing where my “wifely duties” ended and where my obligations to my own well-being began, I needed some guidance. Not only was I given a safe space to vent and cry and rant, but I left each session with at least one phrase or light-bulb realization that profoundly resonated with me.

RELATED: The Brutal Truth About What It’s Really Like To Get Married At 19

Here are 8 brutally honest lessons I learned about love from my therapist:

1. Love is about reciprocity.

On the surface, one might scoff at such a statement. Love isn’t contingent on what we get back, right? Love doesn’t keep score, doesn’t need anything in return, isn’t needy. Yet the very basic definition of love — caring about the health, happiness, and well-being of someone over ourselves — should be reciprocal.

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