The number one issue with couples is communication. However, there are other issues that can contribute to undermining an otherwise good relationship. Issues to consider if you are wondering, that your marriage needs help.
There are many different ways of how people miscommunicate.
1. Triggering the partner with the first sentence said
Instead of promoting understanding and resolution, the first sentence triggers defensives and the partner’s first reaction is to attack. Soon after, the couple starts arguing about issues from the past, instead of the one at hand.
2. Stonewalling / Avoidance
What are the signs your marriage is in trouble? One or both partners try to avoid disagreements or arguments by avoiding each other. At times, a partner becomes overwhelmed with emotions and needs to move away from the situation. This type of couple is used to avoidance and “letting go” (or harboring feelings) and they usually don’t go back to the argument.
3. Lack of clarity
Partners may have specific needs/wants but have difficult to voice them. Instead, they assume the partner should have known what to do.
Having good communication is the foundation of a healthy relationship. Knowing how to talk about anything (including finances, sex, and other difficult subjects) is essential for a good relationship.
With the advent of cellphones and social media, it seems that more and more partners are having issues of trust. Some don’t like their partners talking with people of the opposite gender. Others have issues with finding sexting and/or pornography on their partners’ phones. Partners should be asking themselves, “Are there any boundaries/rules that one partner is crossing? Are there clear rules/boundaries to follow, and the consequences understood if they are broken?
Freewill is a wonderful thing to have; however, making your own decisions comes with subsequent consequences. But if there are clear rules/boundaries to follow, it gets easier to build and keep the trust.
5. Growing apart
So you are not in the dating phase anymore – nor in the honeymoon phase anymore. Life is happening, and stressors arrived. Each partner decided how to overcome their stressors and progress as a human. Then they find themselves distant and not moving forward towards a common goal (ie. retirement, travel, volunteerism, etc.) They feel they are growing apart and that they may not have a solution for their relationship.
Unfortunately, this can happen, however, often times the distance happens when there is a lack of good communication and when partners forget to appreciate all there is in their partner (their successes and accomplishments).
What are the signs of a failing marriage? When a partner feels disconnected and does not care to talk to the other partner, a therapist could be a good introduction for the couple. That’s when your marriage needs help.
6. Lack of support
Couples can grow apart for not having support from one another; it is important to mention that partners that do not support the other partner’s decisions can create a hostile environment in their home. At times, a spouse may feel there is no financial support from the other spouse.
Other times, a spouse may feel there is no support with household chores or child rearing. Sometimes people get isolated within their family nucleus and forget to build friendships and care for family relationships. Having a sense of belonging in the world beyond the household is important for every individual.
7. Romance and intimacy
The best predictor of great sex is having great sex often. But sometimes people find themselves in a sexless (1-2 times per year or less) marriage.
Does your marriage need help? If your marriage is plagued by a lack of romance and intimacy, then it is in throes of misery.
Lack of romance and intimacy happens not only by a lack of connection and routine. The modern world is damaging romance and intimacy. The pornography industry is at its boom. There was never a better time to produce porn, as almost every household/individual can have access to it using their phone or computers (some even use their work computers to watch porn).
The availability and what pornography represents is damaging relationships on many different levels. Pornography is being widely used for masturbation.
Males specifically are getting off (pretty quickly) by watching porno on their phones or computer, and females are complaining of males’ lack of sexual interest in them. This is a two-fold issue: males report that “it is a lot of work to have sex with a partner” and “our sexual encounter is nothing like porn-sex.” It seems like males are giving up having sex with their partners.
Another way romance and intimacy are being damaged by the porn industry is that more younger-aged males are showing up at the doctor’s office with erectile dysfunction (ED). This includes porno actors too.
The number of ED cases increased in the past 30-40 years, and the average age reported for ED issues have dropped considerably (from the ’50s to now ’30s). Males have been avoiding having sexual encounters with their partner, as they are having difficulties getting and maintaining an erection for long periods of time.
How do you know if you need marriage counseling?
If your marriage is afflicted with either of the above, then couples counseling or marriage course can be an invaluable tool to resurrect your broken relationship.
Is couples counseling only for married couples? Not necessarily.
If you are in a serious relationship and you look at enhancing the longevity of it, then irrespective of being married to each other or not, you should seek couples counseling to reap benefits of it.
It is important to reassure couples that most cases/issues mentioned above have possibilities for resolution without having to dissolve their relationship. Couples should engage in couples’ therapy with an expert in marriage/couples’ therapy and be committed to working on their issues, as well as continuing to engage in their strength as a couple. Most importantly you need to ask, does your marriage need help?