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  • Writer's pictureEmily Taylor

Happy Belated Valentine's Day! GET THERAPY!

The title sounds weird, but hear me out here. Since the 3rd, we’ve celebrated numerous birthdays (including my own) and Valentine’s Day. The husband has his birthday at the end of the month, and then next month we celebrate our wedding anniversary.

We did have a fantastic Valentine’s Day weekend, spent at home, as a family. We had planned to celebrate the day on Saturday since the official date was Monday. I made a rib roast on Saturday with a side of roasted asparagus. It was delicious and filling, since we never touched the Caramel Apple pie I got. The husband got me a pair of stuffed hugging bunnies with our names embroidered on the ears. They are super cute. However, he said, he had another gift for me that would arrive on Monday.

His gift was a book of random encounters for D&D. I also got Boychild a coloring book, which doesn’t sound that cool for a 16 year old. He was happy with it though because it wasn’t just a coloring book, it was an official Five Nights at Freddy’s coloring book. He gave the little “hee” laugh when he opened it, which is generally a good indicator that he likes it.

Monday rolled around, and my gift did indeed arrive. It took the form of the Husband telling me we could turn off the alarm and go back to sleep because he had taken the day off to be with me. Honestly, it was my favorite gift.

I consider myself lucky that we have a relationship like this, and I’ll tell you something that sounds strange but is true. It is likely entirely due to a weird combination of stubbornness, borderline co-dependency, and marital therapy. And, of course, love (which may contribute to the stubbornness and co-dependency.)

Back in our second year of marriage, we hit a really rough patch. Our son was a baby, things with the Husband’s ex were stressful, I was back at work but he had lost his job before picking up another one, and our only car got towed for a really stupid reason. It was a common story in families on the poverty line. We were living in a one bedroom apartment, the car had needed new tags for a month, and he had the money to go get it done, he just hadn’t done so yet. The apartment complex had a deal with a towing company, and this is definitely one of those cases where people who have been there know what I’m talking about.

In America, at least, apartment complexes will sign deals with towing companies to get rid of derelict cars. It’s supposed to be good to keep junk cars down, improve the look of the complex, etc. Etc. What it turns into is a debt trap for so many people. Skeezy towing companies will prowl lots near the month end and tow cars that are obviously not derelict, but also not right in some way. It doesn’t have to be expired tags. People got their cars towed for things like a missing hubcap with the excuse that “Well, it could be a junker.” The idea on their part is that they tow the car, get it to the impound lot, and then you have to pay all sorts of fees to get it back. If you can’t afford the fees, then they get an easy car to re-sell. It tends to happen in lower income complexes because those are the people who can least afford to get their car back, but they are also the people who can least afford to lose their car. It’s an all around disgusting situation.

In our case, it was 10 pm because they never do this during daylight hours. We were putting the Boychild to bed, and he looked out the window to see the tow guy hooking up the car. The Husband took off running to go talk to the guy and try to convince him not to take away our only transportation. After about 30 minutes, the guy said he would drop the car IF we gave him $200 in cash. The Husband offered to go with him to an ATM and give him the cash, but we needed the car. At which point, the guy was like “Nope” and drove off. We went back into the apartment feeling completely dejected and defeated. I remember sitting there on the sofa feeling so numb, trying to figure out how I was going to get to work, how we were going to get the Boychild to his doctor’s appointment, how we were going to transport 5 kids… Not even counting the financial aspect of all of that. We were going to need to figure out how to get money for the car when he had just started a new job and most of his income was going to child support anyhow. All the intricate details we had been carefully balancing were crashing down around us. And I looked at him and said we couldn’t keep doing this. We needed help, and if we didn’t get it, our relationship wasn’t going to make it.

This was actually a big deal because early on in our relationship Husband had said he would not go to marital therapy. He had tried it with his ex, it hadn’t worked, and he didn’t see the point in it. So me saying that and, even more importantly, him agreeing to it was a big step in showing how much both of us valued each other and our relationship. He took the initiative, found us affordable therapy, even for a broke couple, and we went. (And that’s a whole other story!) We also did get the car back, and we had to borrow money and rides to do so, but it happened. For now, though, we tell EVERYONE in a relationship how much marital therapy actually helped us, and it continues to help us even these many years later.


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