“We’re the Paula Abdul video ‘Opposites Attract’ personified,” Bell told Good Housekeeping‘s May issue. “I thought I had this life thing down pat when I met Dax. I didn’t realize that I needed a much bigger toolbox to have confrontations and disagreements with people.”
Her husband backed her up, saying they appeared to have next to nothing in common when they met at a hockey game in 2007.
“I thought to myself, ‘Who is this sparkly creature?’” Shepard said. “We have such different backgrounds, it’s comical. Until I was 32, I thought the world was just wolves, that there was no way anyone was acting with any kind of benevolence. When I met her and her friends, I was suspicious of their unbridled happiness. I thought, ‘Something stinks here; they’re in a cult.'”
It’s because of those differences that the couple started seeing a therapist almost right off the bat. Bell said counseling is something she’s proud of and is essential to her successful marriage.
“You do better in the gym with a trainer; you don’t figure out how to cook without reading a recipe,” she said. “Therapy is not something to be embarrassed about.”
There’s a stigma surrounding couples therapy, Shepard added, that he wants to see ended.
“I noticed an actor and her husband on [a recent cover of a celebrity tabloid] that said ‘In Couples Therapy!'” he explained. “The clear message is, ‘Oh, their marriage is ending.’ There’s such a negative connotation. In my previous relationship, we went to couples therapy at the end, and that’s often too late. You can’t go after nine years and start figuring out what patterns you’re in.”