Open and honest communication and mutual understanding lie at the core of every successful marriage. When those fundamentals break down, couples tend to have trouble in their marriage. Many people immediately think of “impending divorce” when they hear the term “marriage counseling”. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.
When To Seek Marriage Counseling?
Therapy sessions led by a professional counselor can help couples reset stagnant patterns they have fallen into. Overall, this can lead to better communication, more openness, and new ways to look at old and recurring problems you have not been able to resolve together. Finally, in many cases, marriage counseling leads to a relationship that’s stronger than ever before.
When is marriage counseling the perfect answer? Let’s look at some common situations couples may find themselves in, as well as underlying emotional reasons to consider marriage or couples counseling.
Challenges That Should Trigger Couples to Make a Marriage Counseling Appointment
Some common practical reasons that cause couples to seek marriage counseling — and with good reason — include:
Infidelity or suspicion thereof
Does one or both partners have a history of repeated cheating? Or, is there a historic case of infidelity that has caused trust to break down to the point that the relationship has not recovered (sometimes even years later)? If so, marriage counseling can help. The same can be true if one partner frequently worries about infidelity. Never forget, past experiences can, and oftentimes do, carry into new relationships.
If one partner has experienced a trauma, this can place an immense amount of strain on the relationship. If trauma is affecting your relationship, counseling can help.
Disagreements about family
Perhaps you have widely differing ideas about parenting. Do you not agree with the extent to which your in-laws are involved in your lives? If this causes constant friction in your marriage, it might be time to seek counseling.
Has one partner just received a great job offer halfway across the country, while the other doesn’t want to leave their home behind? Can you not figure out whether to sell your house and become full-time RV-ers? Whatever challenge you have, short-term marriage counseling can be a modern and effective way to help you get the answers you need.
Mental health problems
If one partner has a substance use disorder, gambles, has an anger problem, or any other mental health problem, counseling can be immensely helpful.
Physical health problems
Serious medical conditions can put real pressure on a relationship.
A good time to turn to couples counseling is before you get married. Too many people tie the knot without truly knowing each other. Couples counseling can be a wonderful way to uncover incompatibilities that may end your relationship down the line, and finding out if they can be bridged.
Emotions That Show You It’s Time for Marriage Counseling
In some cases, the reason for marriage counseling is very clear-cut — your spouse cheated on you or made important decisions without you, and you want to explore whether the marriage can survive that. That’s far from always true, however. Many times, a couple simply grows apart, sometimes in very damaging ways. You can’t point toward a cause, but you feel the discord in every interaction you have. Marriage counseling can help here as well. Problematic feelings to look out for include:
- One partner feels that they can no longer talk to their spouse — or perhaps both agree.
- You dread spending time with each other, or at the very least no longer enjoy it.
- You have frequent disagreements about the “little stuff”.
- At least one partner no longer feels attracted to their spouse. The couple’s intimate life is non-existent.
- You are “empty nesters” who discover that you have little in common now that your children are grown.
- You resent each other.
None of these feelings make for a healthy marriage. The moment you begin seeing your relationship with your spouse as yet another obligation to be fulfilled, you know that you are in trouble. You may not, however, know why. Marriage counseling can help you explore the root cause of these feelings. It may even lead to a rekindling of your romance and renewed happiness. Marriage counseling may also, on the other hand, clearly establish that a relationship you had still wanted to save was over a long time ago.
Additional Reading: Premarital Counseling
SAGE Counseling Omaha
At SAGE Counseling Omaha, our primary focus is on helping you to get the support and treatment that you need as you move forward. We all experience challenges that are often too difficult to work through on our own, and we are here to support you during these tough times.
When you connect with our compassionate counseling team, you can rest assured that you will receive the individualized care that you need. Contact us today. For approved clients, we are able to utilize telehealth services through our HIPAA-compliant virtual software.