Anyone who has ever been married will never say it is easy. There are a lot of compromises, difficult conversations, and tense moments that can surely test a marriage. Once children become involved, you add a whole new element to the equation. In essence, marriages take work—a lot of work.
Many times people jump into a marriage too quickly without the tools needed to handle different situations. Even people who have been married for a while never have all the tools they need to make a marriage run all the time fluidly. The problem today is that it is too easy to give up. Getting a divorce is not nearly as difficult as it once was, and that’s a problem. Couples need to have patience and take time to work things out.
Before deciding to call it quits, couples should consider marriage counseling as a chance to rectify some situations. Sometimes deciding when to get marriage counseling can be the most challenging part, but if you are thinking about it, it is probably time.
It can be challenging to bring up uncomfortable topics to each other. Having a counseling session or two can make it easier to discuss some of these topics by having a neutral party help you and your spouse navigate through the challenges. Even though many people believe that marriage counseling often fails, there is no fault in trying.
Let’s look at some possible signs that you should see a marriage counselor before it’s too late.
Conversations Have Stopped
Ignoring a problem will never rectify the situation. You can’t try to sleep it off and pretend like whatever went wrong will be gone in the morning. The biggest problem most people have in their marriages is their inability to communicate effectively. When you don’t take the time to air out your problems and have an open conversation about it, it is only going to pile up more and more.
A marriage counselor can provide some tips to help initiate difficult conversations better. Sometimes it is hard knowing exactly where to begin. The benefits of marriage counseling can show you different ways of letting your partner know there is something that needs to be discussed.
There is a difference between open communication and negative communication. If almost all of your conversations take a negative turn, it could be time to consider marriage counseling. Marriages are not going to survive if someone always feels shamed and judged during a conversation.
The tone a person takes can also be considered negative talk. Sometimes the tone in which something is said is enough to destroy a marriage. Consistent negative talk can lead to emotional abuse, which is just as damaging as physical abuse. It is never good to go to bed angry at your partner. For too many people, that is always the case. It is time to speak to someone if that is how you feel or if you feel you are being verbally abused.
Afraid to Talk
Many times people have important things on their minds to discuss but are scared to bring them up. They bottle it up, and all of a sudden little things become more significant problems. You do not want to be harboring feelings about something big like sex or money. Stewing over that and blowing up over small things is a recipe for disaster.
Couples should never be afraid to discuss any possible issues. A marriage counselor can help you strategize appropriate ways to bring up issues that are on your mind. If you are worried that your partner will explode over the topic you want to bring up, something deeper is going on.
Using Lack of Affection as a Punishment
One of the most significant signs that it might be time to see a marriage counselor is if withholding affection is being used as a punishment. If you are uncomfortable hugging your partner or holding hands because you are angry, something more is going on. One person in the relationship should not be acting as a parent. There needs to be a balance, and one should never be disciplining the other. It is important to show affection as often as possible. This shows your partner the pure love that you feel for them.
When You No Longer Feel Like You’re On The Same Team
When it comes to parenting, both parents must always be on the same team. Whether you agree with it or not, you must show a united front. This is also true when you are hanging out with other family members and friends. Stick together and support each other. A couple should never feel as though they are adversaries. A successful marriage is a team effort, and if you feel as though you and your partner are continually disagreeing about everything, it is time to seek help. It is not healthy to be combative all the time and have the feeling that no matter what you say, your partner is going to disagree.
Keeping secrets from each other is an absolute no-no. If you want to surprise your partner with something good, that kind of mystery is good. However, if you are afraid of how they will react to something and hide it from them, it will only make things worse when it is exposed. One of the things that you give up (to some degree) when you get married is your privacy. Everything tends to get shared throughout a marriage, no matter how bad it may be. You are part of a partnership and should feel comfortable and safe enough to share everything. Your marriage will never be healthy if you have to keep secrets from your partner.
Thoughts of an Affair
This connects fluidly with keeping secrets. If you have ever thought of having an affair or had one, marriage counseling should be sought right away. When you fantasize about someone else, that is a clear indication that you desire something more than you already have. If that is never discussed, it will only continue to get worse. This can be a complicated conversation, but your partner will have more respect for you if you talk about it rather than act on it.
If you do have an affair, saving the marriage can be extremely difficult. The element of trust will have been removed from the marriage and will take a long time to earn it back. A marriage can be saved with counseling. Both parties need to commit to the full counseling process and be completely honest. After trying marriage counseling, you both may realize that moving on from each other could be for the best and a much healthier option.
Besides having an affair, money is one of the most significant disputes throughout a marriage. If someone is hiding what they are doing with their money in the marriage or they act as though they need total control over the finances, there’s a problem. Couples should be able to have an open discussion about the finances of the family. Even if someone is in charge of the bills, their partner should be able to have access to all the statements.
If you believe that both sides are not on the same page when it comes to the family’s finances, it might be a good idea to consult a financial advisor to go over everything. It is important to have all the finances out in the open and ensure that each person has an idea of the savings, checking, and retirement accounts. A good marriage will know precisely how much money comes in and out of the house.
Feeling Only ONE Person Needs to Change
It is all too easy in a marriage to entirely blame the other person for all the difficulties that they are encountering. It takes two to tango, and there is no doubt that both parties have a hand in the marriage problems. It is important to remember that you can only control yourself. If you expect your partner to change magically, you are going to be waiting a while. Marriage counseling is effective as it can offer the opportunity to understand better who you are and what it is that you exactly want. What you want from your partner may be something they don’t even realize. You might expect that they do, but that’s your first mistake. If you are frustrated with your partner, you need to explain precisely what is making you frustrated.
Living Separate Lives
When you look at your spouse more like a roommate, it is time to seek out extra help. Because you both live under one roof does not constitute a marriage. You do not have to do everything with your partner, but you both should be aware of what each other is doing. It is important never to feel as though you and your partner co-exist together. If no real communication is happening, intimacy is minimal, and conversation is just general, you are co-existing together. Each partner should have a good idea of how the other is feeling and what they are up to consistently.
Change in Sex Life
It is not uncommon to experience the ebbs and flows of a marriage sex life. That is entirely normal and should not be something to be concerned about. However, if you feel as though something seems off, that could be cause for concern. This could mean the way he/she acts in the bedroom; the connection seems off. You should be able to tell if they seem distant or not at their normal performance level.
Another visible sign is if your partner is avoiding having sex. Something is going on if they are not showing any interest in being intimate with you. The same can be said if they are trying to have too much sex. This could be a sign of guilt over something else they have done. Sex can be tricky, but your gut will tell you if something doesn’t seem right.
When you feel as though you are living the same day over and over again, that can lead to a monotonous relationship. Many times you find yourself arguing over the same thing day after day. The fights end up being over the smallest things, but it builds up over time. Your partner could be confused over why the same debate continues to happen day after day. It can be exhausting if minute things become significant issues. Regardless, if you wake up dreading each day, it is time for help.
Continuous Relationship Issues
Lastly, if you and your partner seem to always come up with some issues to fight over, it is time to seek help. If you have a big-ticket item that can’t seem to get rectified, it is going to wear on the relationship. It is critical to meet with someone to talk about a reasonable resolution. Significant issues cannot continue to be swept under the rug because eventually, that rug is going to have an awkward bump that is going to cause people to trip, fall, and get hurt. Bring the problem to a marriage counselor and allow him/her the chance to help you work it out. They will be able to help you see the other person’s point of view and help both of you find common ground.
Is It Time?
Do not panic if you feel as though one of these issues could be a problem in your marriage. If you feel as though you have a good, honest, and open marriage, there is an excellent chance that you could talk about many of these potential problems out with your partner. If you read one or several of these and feel as though it was written just for you, then it might be time to schedule an appointment with a counselor.
The longer you wait to get help, the less likely the marriage will have a chance of survival. If you care about your marriage, you will seek advice sooner rather than later. There are differences between marriage counseling and couples therapy, so be sure that you focus on marriage counseling.