Signs that it is time to seek marriage counselingDave Smith
By the time most couples attend their first counseling session, they are very far on the road to irreconcilable differences. There are many reasons why they wait so long. They think the problems are not really that bad and can solve it. They tell themselves that time will take care of it. Life and responsibilities distract or hinder sincere efforts to work in the relationship. No matter the reason, the more distant or tense a relationship becomes, the harder it is to repair it. So, if you recognize problems in your relationship, start by asking yourself: How important is my relationship with me?
A good follow-up question to consider is: How important is it for me to work to make my relationship strong and healthy? It is very easy to let your relationship become the backdrop while concentrating on addressing the different facets of life. But if you value your relationship, it is essential that you make a conscious effort to nurture it.
Do what you can to meet with your partner to address problems that arise, but know that there are times when you probably need the help of a therapist. These are some of the most common signs that it is time to seek advice:
- Do not enjoy each other’s company.
- There is lack of affection. This may indicate negative or hostile feelings. Or, it could reflect a lack of feeling.
- You lead parallel lives. If you try to connect, it seems that you still miss yourself.
- Feels lonely, even when they are together.
- Every small difference of opinion quickly leads to tension. Most attempts to discuss disagreements end in an intensified conflict or by avoiding each other. Both feel misunderstood and criticized.
- They are defensive in each other’s company. Because you are prepared to protect yourself, each of you quickly sees the negativity in your spouse’s comments.
- Keep secret. With a feeling of distance or disagreement, you tend to avoid talking about much that is important. You can also lie about things that you think your spouse would not agree with or against you.
- You have thoughts of having an adventure … or are already involved in one. This includes emotional matters. (In an emotional matter, you are not physically intimate, but you probably share personal experiences that you do not share with your spouse. Nor do you tell your spouse about the person or minimize their importance.)
- You feel more like adversaries than as a team. You may not mind if they are upset, or you may even want to hurt them (probably because of how much they hurt you).
- You don’t feel hot when you think of your spouse. This is true even when you reflect on your first days of dating and you’re wedding.
- Your trust is broken. This is a tough question. Although you may feel that broken trust can never be repaired, as after one of you has a love affair, this is not necessarily true. Marriage therapy has helped many couples regain confidence, albeit slowly, and rebuild a relationship that is stronger than ever.
- You don’t respect your spouse and you can even feel disdain for them. (At this point, even marriage counseling may not be able to revive your marriage, although you can still try, if you are really motivated.)
If you notice any of these signs, it is time to consider getting outside help. While marriage counseling is not a panacea for relationships, it does offer a better chance of having a happier future together.
Tags: Therapy, Conflict Management, Dating and Marriage