We made this big list of goals this weekend, or he made a big list of goals and kept asking me what I'd like for him to add. One thing that he wants for us to try is marriage counseling, which I was kind of surprised by. He says he has trouble communicating, and he'd like to be able to talk to me more. I was kind of surprised by this, because I feel like we talk a lot, and there are some things that we've talked to pieces. I also feel like we know each other very well; however, I recognize that I am much more communicative in general than he is. From writing here, from talking to my friends, from telling my story to everyone, everywhere, I'm constantly matching words to my experiences. Because I feel close to him and feel like I understand him very well, I don't think that I'm missing out on much of his inner life, but I recognize the value in making that connection between feeling and speaking.
I'm excited by the prospect. I've been rather heavily therapied in my own life, and I always find the process to be illuminating in surprising ways. If we can find something we can afford, I think it will be great for us, and especially for him. We are already beginning the process ahead of many couples, I think, in having recognized that assigning blame and finding fault is unproductive. We love each other deeply and want to be better, and we're not going to therapy to find a person to take one side or another. He has (finally) started talking a lot about how bad he feels for the mess he's made of things for us, and I don't feel so ready to team up with a therapist to beat up The Bad Junky.
Other things we're going to work on included (blissful sigh) going to meetings, reading more, building relationships with one another's families, taking better care of our bodies. It was an interesting, hopeful exercise.
I sometimes shrink lately from doing things like helping him make a list of goals for himself because I know I've got to work on this codependency business...even when invited to advise, it might be best to back off. I tried to think of things that were helpful instead of things that I wanted, and I was pleased that he added attending meetings to the list without my suggestion (although I was sending him some serious psychic vibes!). I suggested stuff like taking more time to draw for fun, exploring new media, making sure he gets enough time off or sleep...things that seem helpful for him without any strings attached for me.
And I'm also trying to figure out where codependency becomes a problem and where my need to nurture and his need to be nurtured aren't just desires that we fulfill for one another. I know that I shouldn't be handing him my check card every time he wants me to; yet doing things like helping him with his resume, helping him find a direction in his life that will make him happy, or talking him through some of his problems seems to me to be the right things for a loving wife to do for her husband.
We're going to go to our first meeting together tomorrow night. I'm excited. I hope he keeps this open mind...