Relationships are an essential part of life. Our families, friends, coworkers, and partners play a vital role in how we view the world and what support we can gather around us to make life better. But when you are facing no-holds-barred conflict with your spouse, it might be time to consider marriage therapy.
A love and marriage relationship is one of the most significant relationships a person can foster. But it can also be one of the most challenging experiences in life. Anytime two people attempt to blend and integrate personalities, likes, dislikes, hopes, and dreams together, things can quickly spiral out of control. Arguing and fighting about differences can become commonplace. However, it’s how you handle these periods of conflict that can determine whether your marriage relationship will stand the test of time.
The stats on marriage
Recent statistics on marriage point to the fact that between 40 and 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. While the reasons for divorce vary widely by individual couples, the truth of the matter is that it takes time, effort, and work on these lifelong commitments to make them work. So how do people commit to each other and then see it through?
Counseling: The first step in healing
If you and a partner are experiencing difficulties, it may be time to consider bringing in a professional marriage counselor to help you resolve issues and find some common ground to stand on once more. The goal of marriage counseling is to give you and your partner the tools needed for better communication, improved negotiation, and the ability to argue and problem-solve more healthily.
Counseling is provided by a licensed, trained marriage counselor who offers mental and emotional support to couples in the throes of conflict. They bring the focus of sessions to your relationship and uncover hurts, desires, goals, and common ground for you both to stand on while you figure out if your relationship is worth fighting for.
Some couples enter marriage counseling for a short time to weather a crisis, while others see it as an opportunity for regular tune-ups, they can prioritize their relationship. Regardless of the reason, some things can benefit both you and your partner if you decide that marriage counseling is right for you.
Most couples cannot maintain the perfection that they seek in a relationship, and it is unhealthy to think that this can be attained. Entering a relationship thinking that you will agree all the time is a recipe for disaster; try to embrace the differences that you have and learn to perceive them as opportunities for growth and acceptance, rather than a reason to fight.
Couples choose to enter therapy for a variety of reasons, including:
- Substance abuse
- Physical or mental conditions
- Cultural differences
- Financial disagreements or stress
- Communication problems
- Blended family issues
- Sexual dysfunction or miscommunication
- Conflict over raising children
- Anger and resentment
- Infertility and fundamental differences about having children
Some couples try to resolve issues on their own, and in some cases, they are successful in doing so. Others need a little bit of help and accountability along the way to ensure that things get resolved completely. If you and your partner are going through a rough patch, perhaps it’s time to consider seeing a marriage counselor for some help. Look for these signs that it’s time to make an appointment:
10 Reasons to seek assistance from a marriage counselor
1. Your partner is not listening
In the heat of an argument, it can be easy to focus on what you need to say next, rather than validating your partner’s thoughts and feelings. A marriage counselor can act as a mediator when there are breakdowns in communication, and help both of you develop better listening skills to make sure concerns are heard, aired, and dealt with. Communication is key to establishing and maintaining a healthy relationship, and a fundamental piece of that communication is learning to listen effectively. Seek additional help from a marriage counselor if you feel your concerns have not been validated for awhile.
2. You keep going around the mountain
Couples have fundamental differences about life, love, and relationships. You and your partner might be going around and around the same mountain, stuck on an issue that you can’t resolve. Every time you revisit it, it seems to get more heated and more hopeless in terms of resolution. Breaking through that familiar cycle of hurt and pain can be extremely difficult without the help of a marriage counselor. Many times, sitting down with an objective third party is enough to get you to look at your patterns more objectively, giving you a fresh perspective that can aid in finding better solutions and putting past hurts and disappointments to bed.
3. You are constantly annoyed by your partner
Those very things that were once endearing at the beginning of your relationship may be grating on you now. It just isn’t cute that he chews and spits his fingernails; her constant humming while doing the dishes is driving you nuts. If the little AND the big things are constantly nagging at you, and you find yourself wishing you didn’t have to deal with your partner, it’s most likely time to seek outside help.
4. You disagree with the use of social media to share your story
For some couples, social media and its use is no big deal; you are on the same page, and neither of you disagrees with your media outlets. For others, the use of social media to constantly post is a source of major strife in a relationship. One major source of contention for some couples is the desire to be “friends” with old flames. Today’s marriage counselor is savvy with technology and knows the pitfalls and traps that a couple can become embroiled in because of improper use of social media. Seek outside help if this is becoming an ongoing issue for the two of you.
5. You start to seek support from others
For better, for worse. We take vows in relationships to lean on each other and to see each other through tough times. When you don’t feel that your partner is supportive of you anymore, it can be difficult to turn to them in times of need. If you finding yourself seeking outside or different sources of support or becoming emotionally attached to others as a means of desiring that connection once more, it’s time to take a good hard look at your relationship.
6. You are always fighting
If you can’t seem to see eye to eye on anything, and the smallest things become big issues as the two of you lock horns, it’s time to seek professional help. Viewing your partner as an adversary rather than an ally is a sign that you need to prioritize your relationship. Take a deep breath, take a step back, and realize that these issues will pass.
7. You never, ever fight
On the other hand, not being invested in your relationship means that you don’t care enough to fight. This lack of conflict can be more problematic than constant fighting, for it’s an indicator that you have lost interest in the relationship. Apathy is a true enemy of passion, and your marriage will not survive unless the two of you are a little invested. Seek the advice of a marriage counselor to determine the underlying cause of your disinterest, and see if you can rekindle your romance once more.
8. You face intimacy issues
Intimacy is more important than most couples think. Indeed, it can be the glue that holds the two of you together during tough times. Sure, all couples go through occasional dry spells, but if you are sleeping alone for extended periods, this is a signal that some attention needs to be placed on your relationship. A licensed marriage counselor or a sex therapist can help the two of you recover the reasons that brought you together in the first place, and will allow you to rekindle your passion for each other once more.
9. You have been thinking about it
There are times when you feel that you can resolve issues on your own, and there are times when you “know” that your problems are bigger than the two of you. Most couples land in therapy long past the point where they should have decided to go; many couples wait because they attach shame to the act of getting help with their relationship. If you notice signs that you may need help learning to relate to your spouse once more, seek the advice of a marriage counselor to help you re-establish healthy patterns and boundaries.
10. If you’re thinking about getting married
Couples that are dating should consider seeing a marriage counselor to work through major differences before marrying. Making sure you are on the same page concerning major life goals, finances, and other important issues will help you build a solid foundation on which to stand for years to come. Show a deep level of commitment to one another by prioritizing your relationship from the beginning.
Final Thoughts: A marriage counselor can help you solve seemingly impossible problems
You owe it to yourself and your relationship to uncover the reasons for your strife. Taking a good hard look at your feelings, your motivations, and your past actions are difficult, though. Do what you can to improve your relationship with the help of a marriage counselor, and see what life-transformative events come your way.