Couple learning to love one another
Through our struggles we deepen our relationship

Our center has always used the motto, “Our partner is our greatest teacher, be patient for the lessons.” When my partner is triggering me, the last thing I think of is, “Yippee, what lesson am I learning here?” What does that even MEAN? If you do not know the backbone of our story (EJ and Tarah), I highly recommend listening to our first podcast. To keep it short but sweet, our couple’s counseling practice was founded as a reaction to our struggles early on in our relationship. EJ and I (licensed clinical therapists and occupiers of a toolbox filled with absurd amounts of therapeutic interventions) found ourselves fighting, crying, overwhelmed, exhausted, hopeless, and disconnected. You know what I mean if you have been in a relationship that feels like it is falling apart in every direction!

I fled in my minivan, shouting, “I did not sign up for this! “…. but guess what… I did. I married a man whom I adored, respected, and loved. I committed by saying “I do” for a lifelong commitment. I went from a spacious condo living by myself to sharing a! tiny home with five other humans. That’s right, my hubby had two boys (ages 3 and 5 at the time of our marriage), and then we got pregnant with twins on our honeymoon. It was a whirlwind blessing to share my love with so many humans (we also got a puppy and kittens because why not 😊). Until that whirlwind became something I could not handle, I became overwhelmed and ultimately blamed my partner, “How dare he put me in this position?” I couldn’t stand the sight of him; my blood boiled at the thought of intimacy, and all I kept feeling was how in the world did I make this mistake? But yet, somehow, through my suffering and powerlessness, I knew I loved him deeply, even though my frustration and resentment felt billions of miles deep.

As a marriage counselor at the time, I could not believe this was happening in MY relationship. I thought I did all the right things to listen to my intuition until I knew I had found my person. Can I even trust myself? I was going through this existential issue of “What the hell has happened? How did I end up here? I began to become curious and wanted to understand what was taking place. We had four kids we owed this to, and I knew I couldn’t give up without trying to understand more deeply. So that is exactly what I /we did.

We started implementing tools like using our code words to diffuse situations in which we were not our best selves. I began to learn that my hubby was my safe person, and unfortunately, when we have baggage and don’t know it, our baggage gets dumped out on our safe person. I began to recognize that my triggers were not about my hubby but about how my nervous system was immaturely equipped to deal with stressful situations due to my childhood trauma. I learned that throughout my life, I had placed myself in situations that were not stressful at first. Still, when they became stressful, I left – easy peasy – I had avoided my trauma responses for over three decades until my hubby walked into my life. I learned that each situation with my hubby triggered feelings of “I am not safe” from early childhood.

I could go on and on about the incredible lessons I have learned about myself through my relationship with my husband. I want every reader to hear this – If you can find that resilience in yourself to dig deep and discover what your partner is triggering in you, growth and freedom are worth a trillion arguments. I am not saying this is easy. There will be moments where you want to say, “Screw it all,” but if you keep listening to your heart over fear, I can assure you that your beautiful, carefree self will emerge from the darkness. I am grateful to have made this my life’s work, along with my hubby. Through our struggles and willingness to confront them, we developed emotional safety. And now, through our center, podcast, and online programs, we have helped thousands of couples grow and become their best selves TOGETHER. We (and our fantastic team) have helped couples develop the insight needed to create a more intentional, loving, and intimate relationship. Thank you all for being a part of this journey. Please reach out. Ask questions. Give us topics to explore. Together we can support one another in creating a community of healthy and resilient individuals in fulfilling relationships!