Marriage counseling exists to help people safely and successfully address their relationship problems. Professional counselors are trained to address problems that can otherwise tear families apart. The question for many people is how to know when it is time to see a counselor.
One doesn’t necessarily want to run to counseling to solve problems that can be addressed in other ways. After all, counseling can be expensive. It can also become an unnecessary crutch. But to those who truly need it, marriage counseling can be a real godsend.
Though everyone is different, below are five signs suggesting it is time to see a marriage counselor. The therapists at Relationships & More, a New York marriage counseling practice that offers individual and couples counseling, suggest that exhibiting two or more of the signs is enough motivation to seek professional help.
1. Conflict Is the Only Way You Communicate
Conflict is a normal part of every relationship. However, it should not be the hallmark of your communication. If the only time you and your partner communicate is when you’re arguing about something, it has probably been a long time since you’ve enjoyed meaningful communication. You could use some counseling – if for no other reason than to help you learn to start communicating again.
2. You View Your Partner as the Enemy
It is not uncommon for early counseling sessions to be dominated by accusations and blame-laying. By the time couples reach that point, they have begun viewing one another as the enemy. If this sounds like your mindset, consider couples counseling.
If you view your partner as the enemy, you probably view that person as the antagonist as well. In other words, you see your partner as the sole cause of all of your relationship problems. You need professional help to overcome that mindset. Your thinking is both destructive to your marriage and completely wrong.
3. You View Divorce as the Only Solution
Couples counseling is often framed by the assumption that if it fails, the couple will divorce. Couples who enter counseling with that mindset are likely to have determined that divorce is the only way out. Perhaps they feel that way because they have already spent time separated.
A skilled marriage counselor can help you understand that divorce creates as many problems as it solves. It may be the only solution in your case, but it may not be. It is important that you know what you are getting yourself into before you journey down the road to divorce. It’s not all sunshine and roses.
4. Your Trust Has Been Violated
Some couples finally acquiesce to marriage counseling after there has been a breach of trust. If nothing else, your trust being broken is definitely motivation to seek marriage counseling. Why? Because marriages are unique relationships built on mutual trust. They can only be maintained while that trust is there. If one or both partners doesn’t trust the other, any efforts to fix a broken marriage will likely fail.
5. Another Life-Changing Event Is Happening
Troubled marriages that would otherwise survive can ultimately fail in the midst of other life-changing events. For example, the death of a close family member can exacerbate marriage problems to the point of making them unresolvable. Definitely consider couples counseling if another serious event is making it too hard for you to work on your marriage.
Marriage counseling is a valuable tool for fixing broken relationships. It may not work in every case, but it does work in many. You should at least consider it if you and your spouse are having problems.