This post was sponsored by Marriage in a Box. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
About a week and half ago, I got an awesome package in the mail: Marriage In A Box. Marriage In A Box, developed by licensed therapist Maria Sappe, is a box full of cards that give couples a way to approach and discuss different issues that come up in marriage, such as communication and intimacy. I would say Trae and I have a very strong marriage, but we are also constantly striving to make an even stronger marriage, so I was super excited to review Marriage In A Box.
The color-coded cards are divided into different sections: Introduction, How Happy Are You, Can We Agree On, Division of Labor, Habits, True or False, The Word List, The Glossary, Stepping Stones, and Resources. The box also comes with three dry erase cards and a sticky love note pad.
We found the Introduction cards confusing at first. We had to lay the cards out and use the online companion to the cards before we understood how all the cards worked and connected together. Trae and I started with the True or False cards to make sure we understood how Marriage In A Box works. For the most part we answered the questions the same. For example, one of the true/ false questions was “My spouse should make me happy.” I answered “true,” but according to Marriage In A Box the answer should have been false. The card says “you are the only one who can make you happy, because happiness is something that comes from within.” That statement stuck with me, and came up again when we got to the Appreciation: Self card in the How Happy Are You? category. The How Happy Are You? category is a series of cards that have one topic per card; each topic tackles a fairly common issues that can occur in marriage and breaks down the issue, gives questions to ask, and how to put a solution to the issue into practice. Trae and I quickly went through Agreements, Appreciation, and Appreciation: Acknowledge. It was when we hit the Appreciation: Self card that we saw how helpful Marriage In A Box can be.
Since getting off birth control, I have gained weight. While I haven’t gained a lot of weight, it is enough to make my pants tight and me unhappy. I was a chubby teen and have always been self-conscious about my weight. Right after I started dating Trae, I started taking some migraine medicine which caused me to drop a lot of weight very quickly bringing me to the smallest I had ever been. Then I was very stressed the first couple of married years, so I lost more weight. I reveled in hearing how skinny I was; it didn’t matter to me that these people were showing concern about my vast weight loss. All I heard was “Wow, you are so skinny.” So this gain in weight with no pregnancy belly to show for it hasn’t set well with me. Also, while I love my job, this is the longest I have been without a full time job. (My job is practically full time; I am five hours short of full time.) After getting to the Appreciation: Self card, I now know that I rank my self-worth through pounds and job status.
I knew that I wasn’t the happiest with myself over the last couple of months, but it wasn’t until we got to this card that I was able to verbalize how unhappy I was with myself. Trae has constantly been telling me how beautiful he finds me, but I have never believed it. Seeing “If you lack self-appreciation, it will be difficult to accept or feel deserving of appreciation from your spouse,” on a card made me realize I wasn’t believing him because I didn’t believe it myself. I knew that Trae felt appreciated in our relationship, but I wasn’t feeling appreciated because I wouldn’t let myself be. I felt that bad about myself. The card said to “List one or two ways you appreciate yourself,” and I couldn’t do it.
I have now outlined a plan on the Marriage In A Box online component. I can set goals and use the website to help me monitor my progress on these personal goals. The website gives suggestions for goals, such as “When I accomplish something that I am proud of, I will give myself praise.” These suggestions helped me a lot since I really had a hard time coming up with goals. I ended up going with three goals. With each goal, I got to set how often I wanted to do the goal and for how long as well as how to reward myself. For example, one of my goals is to say something nice about nice myself each day and to write them down so I can have a reminder of these things. My only problem with this goal is I have yet to figure out a reward for it. I am thinking that each (or two) week I go without saying something negative about myself I will treat myself to a cup of coffee.
Honestly, it wasn’t until we started using Marriage In a Box, which allowed us a safe space to talk, did I realize how much my negativity was bringing down our marriage. I know that I can’t fix my lack of self appreciation over night, but I do know that I can and will work on it. While I am working on my Appreciation: Self, Trae and I have continued to work with Marriage In A Box, and I will let you know as we continue to use it about any other revelations we have.