When Do You Need Couples Counseling
A healthy marriage can be very rewarding and derive a great sense of happiness and satisfaction. However, when marital satisfaction substantially fades, spouses might start wondering if they should get a divorce. In those cases, marriage counseling can help couples work through their marital problems and stay happily married.
What are the signs that you might need couples counseling?
1. Communication break down. You two are not talking. You feel like you can’t express yourself, your spouse is not there for you emotionally, and your requests are falling on deaf ear. You experience lack of support from your partner. You might even feel uncomfortable or scared to communicate.
2. Increase in negative interactions. Everything your partner does annoys you. There are more and more instances of anger, blame, constant arguing, “dirty” fights, or superficial arguments. Sometimes it can be just a tone of voice that communicates contempt. Withholding of affection is used as punishment. You have a feeling like you two are on different sides. There is more lashing out, and your interactions are more vengeful and insulting.
3. Broken trust. There are secrets, lies, deception, and dishonesty in the relationship. You find yourself pretending that your feelings are different from what they really are and acting like things are OK when they are not. You are not able to be yourself and be real with your spouse.
4. Unsatisfactory sex life. You’ve noticed serious shift in or complete avoidance of sex life (for example, your sex life went from frequent to none) that is beyond the regular and steady decrease that is normally experienced by couples overtime. You feel sexually rejected or make more frequent excuses to avoid sex.
5. Ongoing unresolved issues. You feel like you two are stuck in your problems and unable to address dysfunctional patterns no matter what you do.
6. Life transitions. You experienced a significant change or transition in your life and cannot regain ground. This could be due to negative life events (e.g., job loss, death) as well as positive events (e.g., moving for a dream job, a new baby).
7. Distance. You feel like you two are living separate lives and not enjoying your time together anymore. You might avoid each other’s company and spend time in separate rooms. There is no more emotional intimacy, and you feel like you’re growing apart. You find yourself seeking support somewhere else more and more often.
8. Contemplating ending the marriage or an affair (or already having one). This is a very serious issue. Do not wait any longer! It is much better to address this issue when it is still in the contemplation stage. Even though relationships can survive an affair, recovery from it is normally much more difficult than taking steps to prevent it.
And last, but not least … you simply have a nagging feeling that something is wrong but can’t figure out what it might be. Trust your intuition and get help!
If you experience any of the above issues, try to facilitate healthy communication between the two of you by putting down your devices and listening to each other without defensiveness while making sure to use “I” language, avoid blame, criticism, and attacks. If that does not work to your satisfaction, though, definitely seek help from an experienced marriage counselor.