I don’t know about you but I never received a guide on how to do relationships when I left school. We teach people how to do many skills; we learn math and how to read, we have coaches that teach us how to do sports, we get on the job training on how to do a new job, but we are supposed to intuitively know how to have a great marriage. Seems silly doesn’t it?
The way that most of us learn how to have a relationship is by watching movies and television, or by what we noticed in our homes or in the homes of those around us. That’s not always the best way to learn. Sometimes it is, but many of us have not had textbook perfect role models. We carry those often unconscious ideas into our relationships.
Think of how much money people plan to spend on a wedding. The average cost of a wedding in the United States is 25K. Even if you don’t spend that much, I have many people tell me that they have paid at least 10K for their wedding. The average cost of a divorce in the United States is close to 13K. That cost is higher in California where I have heard of divorces costing way more than that. Doesn’t it make sense to invest some time and money on having a healthy, connected, loving marriage?
Here are some reasons to seek marriage counseling:
You and your spouse are practicing any or all of John Gottman’s Four Horsemen of Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, or Stonewalling. The Gottman Institute has studied relationships since 1975 and these are telling signs that your relationship is in trouble. There are solutions to these common problems
Many couples are not on the same page sexually. Whether frequency differences, boredom, emotional disconnection that leads to no desire, infidelities by one or the other partner all lead to conflict, lack of trust and disconnection and can be helped by therapy.
Unresolved differences in spending and saving, choices to spend money on, unequal division of finances, resentments of past spending behavior or lack of one party contributing when previously agreed upon all cause conflict that can be mitigated.
This is a skill that can be taught and so many of us get into bad habits. We speak nicer to the store clerk than we do our own spouse. Learning to state what you are thinking and feeling and making requests helps us you to get your needs met in the relationship. Learning how to be a good listener with empathy creates a closeness that many couples long for.
This is also another area of communication, but it is more. Do you ever find yourself in that same argument cycle over and over again? You can learn new ways to resolve conflicts and also how to compromise on those differences that just can’t be resolved.
Couples will tell me that they just grew apart and that they don’t even know their partner anymore. It doesn’t have to happen that way. We crave to be known and especially by the one that is closest to us. Do you know your partner’s inner world?
Many couples just hope that love will carry them through because it feels like it in the beginning. There is so many things that can come up. Are you on the same page as far as parenting, money, extended family, religion, holiday traditions, roles and responsibilities?
Many couples wait too long before seeking counseling. Don’t be one of those couples who just keep pushing problems under the rug and hoping it will get better. We don’t do that if we have an infection or a broken bone. There is help available and with help you can have a wonderful relationship that feels supportive, connected, and loving.
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.
More by Nancy Ryan