"Living Together Was So Much Easier Than Being Married"

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His Turn, continued

"Maybe we're just not compatible. We certainly grew up in very different households. I was shocked when I met her family. They said mean things to each other, raised their voices, and hung up the phone on each other when they were mad. I've never hung up on anybody in my life! I'm the youngest of three. Mother is a homemaker and Dad is an economics professor, and we've always been a close-knit family.

"School was tough for me, though. In second grade I was diagnosed with dyslexia. I had to fight three times as hard as the other kids to do well, and I remember feeling frustrated and embarrassed about my learning issues. As a result, I put a lot of pressure on myself. My outlet was sports. Athletic competition made me feel competent, and I especially loved teaching other kids how to play. 

"Because of my own problems, I knew I wanted to work with kids, and after graduation, I counseled foster children for two years until I decided to go for my PhD. Then I met Sarah and fell hard. She's beautiful, smart, and quick-witted with a contagious laugh. When we'd go to a party, Sarah would light up the room.

"But as I said, she can also be incredibly pushy and combative. The whole time we were living together, she made it clear she wanted to get married. But I wanted to do things on my own terms, not because she was making me do it. It's not that I didn't love her; I felt forced. When she moved out, I realized how much I wanted to marry her and that I'd better ask now. I was glad I did.

"I know the last few years have been harder on Sarah than on me. I wish I knew how to make her happy."

Continued on page 5:  The Counselor's Turn


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