How do I know my marriage needs counseling?
Marriage is one of the most important milestones in our lives. Congratulations on your commitment to the love of your life! As soon as you said “yes” or asked the question, you were probably already considering the perfect life that you two would share.
The simple truth is that every marriage goes through difficult times. Sometimes you can solve them yourself, but there are other times when surviving through these difficult times requires the kind of help a marriage counselor can provide.
What is marriage counseling?
Marriage counseling is sometimes referred to as couple therapy or couples counseling. It is a kind of psychotherapy or speech therapy to help people recognize the sources of conflict in their relationships and to give them tools to resolve them.
It can help you maintain a healthy and strong relationship. To decide if marriage counseling is right for you, consider the state of your relationship and assess your communication problems. If you are going through a medical, financial or family crisis, marriage counseling can be a good option. Also be sure to include your spouse in the decision.
When should you seek marital advice?
The sad reality is that too many couples are waiting until it is too late to decide to hire a marriage counselor. Some estimates place the wait time at more than five years from the time one or both partners first recognized a problem to the time one or both sought counseling.
Think about your feelings about marriage. Write down how you feel about your spouse. Try to determine if you feel angry, frustrated, desperate or disinterested by your marriage.
Identify any trust issues in your relationship. Trust is essential for a relationship to succeed. If you and your spouse can’t trust you, it’s time for you to get professional help.
Monitor the frequency and satisfaction of your sex life. All couples may experience periods of reduced sexual activity, but these must be temporary. If you or your partner have lost interest in sex for an extended period of time, seek advice from a counselor.
Assess whether your relationship is defined by contempt. Contempt means that one or both partners consider themselves better than the other. Ideally, in a relationship, both partners respect each other and see each other on an equal footing.
Ask yourself if you still love your spouse. If the answer is yes, marriage counseling can help strengthen your relationship, as difficult as it is right now. If you are unsure, marriage counseling can help you understand your feelings.
Look for help if you seem to be fighting all the time. If every conversation seems to end in an argument, your relationship may need help, especially if your arguments become increasingly negative, aggressive or bitter.
It can take five years too long. Resentment, distrust and animosity have had those five years to take root in the relationship. Over longer periods, they can simply become the norm and make marriage irrevocable.
So the sooner you decide to go to couples counseling, the better.