October is breast cancer awareness month. Time for the annual mammogram! I, like many other women, submit myself to this modern torture technique every year. First you are sent to a waiting area where you take off everything from the waist up and put on a pink or peach gown that opens in the front. (At least the place I currently go uses the fabric gowns and not the ridiculous paper ones that do not fit or cover anything very well.) In the waiting area all of the women smile at each other since we are all going through the same torture. When our turn comes we are taken to a room chilled down to about 30 degrees. I think this is to help our breasts stick out further. Next comes the flattening machine. It is like the vice tool my father had in his workshop to hold things in place that he was sawing or sanding or hammering. The mammographer does her best to be kind and gentle but you know she knows it is extremely uncomfortable. One at a time your breasts are flattened to the thickness of a pancake and then a knob is twisted to make the grip even tighter. You hold your breath while the image is taken and you hope it comes out clear so you do not have to repeat the process. Thank goodness it is only a few seconds. You breathe a sigh of relief and are glad that the deed is over!
So here is a question I have…why do we women put ourselves through this torture year after year? Well, we want to know if there is something going on inside of us that needs attention; something that could harm or hurt us. We want to be proactive in staying healthy. And if there IS something that needs attention, we sure want to address it as quickly as possible. The reason for the intense flattening is to allow for a clearer image useful for examination and diagnosis. The information discovered during the mammogram can save our lives.
My next question is…What does this have to do with our marriages? Let’s take a few moments to think about that. How much better do you thing your marriage would be if you took the time to do some intense evaluation of your relationship every year? How much more connected would you feel if you were willing to expose your inner thoughts and feelings to your husband? And if both of you were open to looking for the good and also what might need some attention in how you treat each other, how much better would you do life together? I encourage you to put as much effort into having a healthy marriage as you put into your physical health. When we allow our marriages to go on autopilot, they can drift into complacency. Ask yourself if you think your husband feels loved, respected, special, and valued by you. In my 41-year marriage I have come to realize the value of examination and in taking a closer look at our relationship. It still takes effort and work and investment and sacrifice.
Here are a few “mammography” suggestions for your marriage:
- Have regular date nights whether you have been married a week or 30 years.
- Have daily conversation away from electronics and distractions. This can be as short as 10-15 minutes to make a huge difference in your connectedness.
- Plan fun activities together you both enjoy.
- Plan occasional weekend getaways.
- Read a good book about marriage together or listen to a podcast.
Sometimes our marriages go through tough times. When these seasons occur it might be beneficial to seek the help of a non-judgmental, objective professional. I have experience and training to help couples make the transformation in their relationship they desire. Call for a free phone consultation.
Carma Kuhn, M.Ed., LMHC — 321-251-8344 — firstname.lastname@example.org