Your once-blissful union is now fraught with tension. The days when you rushed home from work, eager to have some alone time with your spouse now seem like a distant memory. Now you find reasons not to come home so you won’t be confronted with yet another fight, or worse, silence. You wonder if it would just be easier to split up. But you also wonder if it isn’t too late to salvage your marriage. Could your relationship improve if you went to marital counseling?
Talk to your spouse about marital counseling to see if he is open to the idea.
- Describe how you are feeling and what you’d like to accomplish by seeking a therapist. Using a calm voice, review with your spouse all of your previous attempts to make the marriage better and tell him you’ve run out of ideas to improve things. Invite him to consider the possibility that working with a therapist could save your marriage.
- Keep the conversation low-key, with no yelling or crying. If you feel tensions escalating, tell your husband that you need to take a break.
- Make things short and concise. Do your research and have the names of some local therapists handy. Consider pulling up their information on the internet and asking your husband to choose one he thinks would be good for you both. This will give him a sense of ownership in this decision to bring in some outside help to save your marriage.
Here are some good reasons to try counseling before going directly to divorce court:
1. Communication has broken down
This is the number one reason people consult a therapist or a counselor. Many problems that couples face can be worked on using better communication tools. A qualified marital counselor can help you not only dialogue in a civil manner but also teach you how to better communicate with each other outside of the therapist’s office. When every single conversation you have together ends up in a fight, you must bring in an expert to help you move forward and learn to talk with each other using respectful language.
2. Arguments never lead to anything productive
Do you end up saying the same thing over and over again when you fight with your spouse? Does everything devolve into “You ALWAYS do ……” or “You NEVER do….”? A marital counselor can help you “argue productively”, teaching you language that will align you so you are fighting the problem and not fighting each other.
3. Your marriage contains secrets
Maybe one of you is having an active affair. Or an online affair. Or fantasizing about having an affair and perusing dating websites. Is one of you hiding money or spending money on items that you are hiding from your spouse, like new clothes? In order to restore trust and move towards a more loving relationship, the secrets you are keeping must be shared with your partner, in the safety of a therapist’s office. This is not an easy exercise, but with the marital counselor guiding the conversation, you can avoid irreparable damage when you do divulge what you have been keeping secret.
4. You feel disconnected
Anger and resentment have built up so much that you find it impossible to feel loving towards your partner. You no longer have sex and turn your backs on each other in bed. You both live separate lives; you have little interest in spending time together. You seem more like roommates than husband and wife. Because you aren’t connecting physically, your emotional connection is weak. A marital counselor can help you get to the root of the anger and suggest ways to bring back the emotional and sexual bond that you once had.
5. You should not try to change your partner
A marriage counselor will help you recognize that you can’t change other people, you can only change yourself and how you react to other people. A counselor will help you invest in your own well-being and not concentrate energy on how you might change your spouse. Your spouse is who he is and that isn’t going to change, even for all the love in the world. Counseling will help you make a decision: either you live with your spouse as he is, or you work on changing how you react to him, or you decide to leave.
6. Do not wait to get help
Couples who seek marital counseling before their issues become too large to repair are more likely to be successful in returning their marriage to a happy and loving state. While all relationships will have their highs and lows, do consider consulting a marital counselor when you start feeling the lows are outweighing the highs. With the proper guidance, you can rebuild your union to be even better than before.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.