There are many prudent and sensible reasons to consider marriage counseling. With respect to marriage rates a common statistic is that 50% of first marriages end in divorce, a statistic that has not changed for the past 30 years. Divorce does bring certain difficulties and challenges for adults as well as children. For adults, divorce can be one of life’s most anxiety filled stressful events. Choosing divorce is often met with ambivalence and uncertainty about one’s future life. When divorce involves children their can be negative emotional fall-out like feelings of abandonment, anger, blame, guilt, and acting out. So though divorce may unavoidable for some, others take a careful look at the reasons to consider marriage counseling prior to divorcing as they are open to repairing and rebuilding what is left in the foundation of the marital relationship. When couples encounter “rough patches”, problems or issues, in their relationship they may wonder when it is appropriate to seek marriage counseling. If 1 of these 8 reasons to consider marriage counseling sounds a little too familiar, please consider taking advantage of my free consultation and call me to more clearly determine if marriage counseling might be a helpful next step.
1. Communication has become negative.
If communication has broken-down it’s hard to get it back on track and in the right direction. It’s not uncommon to have repeating “vicious cycles” of conflict over shadow the relationship to the point that couples notice “we keep having the same arguments over and over”. Communication that leaves one person feeling depressed, insecure, disregarded, or to shut down and disengage is unhealthy (this includes the tone of the communication) and one of the reasons to consider marriage counseling. I encourage couples to reach out to me when they aren’t able to talk about their problems in a mutually respectful, non-combative, and harmonious way.
2. When one or both partners consider having an affair, or one partner has had an affair.
It is very possible to recover from an affair but note it takes a lot of work including a commitment and a willingness to forgive, turn the page, and move forward. There is no magical formula for recovering from an affair but if both people are committed to a counseling healing process and honesty going forward, the marriage may be saved.
3. Seemingly “just occupying the same space.”
When you and your spouse have become more like roommates than an actual married couple, this may indicate a need for counseling. A lack of communication and intimacy or any other elements the couple feels are important are absent – and one person feels they just “co-exist,” this may be an indication that counselor can help sort out what is missing and how to get it back. Reasons for emotional withdrawal and an absence of intimacy can be vast and nuanced. Factors like medication, work stress, life changes, depression, and more can affect all of us differently. This all categorically falls into the basket of emotional alienation and detachment that is highly predictive of divorce and very much one of the reasons to consider marriage counseling. Turning this around can be achieved through marriage counseling and is needed to restore the emotional connection a couple felt when they first fell in love, and develop a deeper understanding of the dynamics that led to emotional estrangement.
4. When the partners do not know how to resolve their differences.
When a couple begins to experience discord and they are aware of the discord but just don’t know how to fix it. There can be events and issues in a relationship that impact both partners in more ways than one, prompting feelings of betrayal, rejection, depression, and despondence. Often what we feel on the inside shows on the outside. Even if we are able to mask these feelings for a while, they are bound to surface. Harboring a sense of resentment or disappointment can turn into hurtful and even sometimes harmful behaviors, to others and one’s self and one of the reasons to consider marriage counseling. I work with couples to navigate the emotions and reasons for becoming stuck in the past, and help to get both partners to a place of healing, forgiveness, and on the right track.
5. When the only resolution appears to be separation.
A break and or space can often be very helpful when a couple is entrenched in constant verbal conflict, slings and arrows. Having said that when a healthy and well placed “ timeout” and need for space extends into an overnight stay away from home or eventually leads to a temporary separation, this indicates a need for counseling. Rarely do things resolve themselves with just “time away from home” in and of itself. In fact what can be reinforced is the perception and notion that time away is helpful, often leading to more absences. Eventually the absent partner returns, as do the original problems. Absence (separation) in and of itself is not a cure to marital discord.
6. When a couple is staying together for the sake of the children.
It’s usually helpful to involve an objective third party Marriage Counselor when a couple chooses to stay together for the sake of the children. Often couples believe that they are doing the right thing when staying together might actually be unhealthy for the children. Children can detect a coarsening in a relationship between parents. Children can be intuitive and quite aware of any vibes of discord, anger,and resentment in the family home. Children add a complex layer to a marriage and one of the reasons to consider marriage counseling as it’s commonly known marital satisfaction drops off in most marriages following the birth of the couples first child.
7. Disagreements over money are one of the top reasons couples find themselves in conflict.
Under the surface of this cause of conflict you commonly find it’s rooted in issues of control, power and trust. The perceived misuse of money and the broken trust that can be felt with it is just as severe as in an affair. Money and its power can ignite heated and hurtful discussions between couples. Arguments about money are about our dreams, our fears, and our inadequacies. When it comes to money, you and your spouse may not always see eye to eye but with good communication and an understanding of each other’s beliefs and values, shared financial goals can prevail over all other issues. Money as an issue is one of the reasons to consider marriage counseling as I talk with couples as an objective third party about their frustrations and concerns on what’s truly at work on the topic of “money’ – in a caring and confidential environment.
8. When substance abuse is taking place.
It’s well understood that both partners in a couple are affected by addiction, even if only one person in the couple is addicted. Substance abuse problems can tear a marriage apart very quickly. Marriage counseling can pave the road to recovery from an addiction, as well as a better relationship. Learning how to respond to your spouse’s addiction can help you heal yourself as well as your marriage. Marriage counseling coaches couples in becoming more mutually supportive in combating addiction. For example enabling behaviors are things that the partner does which allows the addiction to continue, often without meaning to. Marriage counseling can help both partners become aware of these enabling behaviors and how to break the patterns of enabling.
Marriage counseling is a journey and some couples discover it is healthier for them to be apart. However the opposite is also true, couples understand their reasons to consider marriage counseling and many not only repair and renew their relationship but actually find themselves to be closer and stronger than ever. For those couples willing to commit to the process, and use their newly acquired communication and relationship skills learned along the way, marriage counseling may be able to remind them why they fell in love with a deeper understanding of their partner, their needs, and their individual expressions of love. Contact me today to get started building a happier, healthier marriage.
The Best You Counseling by Shawn Williams, LPC
5601 Bride St. Suite 300
Fort Worth, Texas 76112