Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd‘s honeymoon stage didn’t last for very long. Just a few weeks after their March 2018 wedding, Morris left for a four-month stint opening for Niall Horan on a worldwide tour. In a new interview with Esquire, the country star explained how that time apart from her new husband took a toll on their marriage, then helped make it even stronger.
“It was probably the hardest part of our relationship,” Morris said. “We went on our honeymoon, and then I immediately went on this gigantic tour opening for Niall Horan. It was more international touring than I had ever done. And I was gone more than I had ever been on any other tour.” Despite that “tough summer,” she said, “we have grown so much closer because we had to make some hard decisions and have some tough talks about what this future looks like and how we can make this better.” She added, “I have always loved him, but I feel like I like him in ways I never knew I could before.”
Those “tough talks” weren’t just one-on-one—Morris shared that her and Hurd’s relationship has also been strengthened by regular therapy sessions. “Getting married made me want to better myself and figure out why I do the things I do,” she said. “And, for my own mental health, as I go deeper and deeper into this world of music, I need another outlet besides writing songs to get out what I’m feeling.”
Morris and Hurd’s therapy sessions aren’t just for the benefit of their own relationship: “Talking about the possibility of having kids, I would like our minds to be as doctored up [as possible] before we bring another person into the world,” Morris added.
The Grammy winner’s growth is especially visible on her new album, Girl, which includes songs co-written by and performed with Hurd, and which has a decidedly different perspective on love than her first album, Hero. “On Hero, I was just coming out of this very co-dependent, toxic relationship,” she told Esquire. “They weren’t supportive of my wanting to be an artist. I was still bitter when I made that album. I had to go through that. And now, I’ve realized it’s perfectly OK to need someone. I need [Ryan]—that’s not weak. He grounds me.”