Whether you are married or in a long-term relationship, distress can and does affect every couple from time to time. Typically, couples can work through these lulls in their relationships but occasionally, marital distress can reach a boiling point. Marriage counseling is sometimes needed to rekindle that spark in your relationship by working together with a licensed professional who can help overcome what may appear to be insurmountable challenges. Like with any physical or psychological distress, letting the issue fester and go untreated can worsen the situation and lead to other problems.
Every marriage and every relationship is unique and there is no test that determines your need for marriage counseling; however, there are a number of issues that may test the strengths of your relationship. Fortunately, licensed marriage and family therapist are trained to help couples cope with a variety of setbacks such as:
- Infidelity: Your significant other has cheated or cheated again. Can trust be rebuilt?
- Finances / Unemployment: Stress from a tough financial situation such as foreclosure or job loss can create finger pointing and guilt.
- Infertility: The inability to get pregnant and have children can lead to guilt and resentment.
- Childcare: Disagreements about how to raise children or share responsibility.
- Cultural differences: Blending two cultures into a family can be challenging.
- Communication: Simple disagreements can quickly become heated arguments.
- Sexual or romantic issues: The spark is gone along with the sex.
- In-laws / friends: Controlling in-laws or needy friends find themselves in the middle of your arguments.
- Substance abuse: Alcohol or drugs have become a priority.
Signs You Might Need Professional Help
Jenny Tiegs, in an article published in the Huffington Post, listed 7 signs that you might need marriage counseling.
- Poor Communication
- Your Sex Life has Significantly Changed
- Holding on to the Past
- A Reoccurring Issue
- You Still Love Your Spouse
How does Marriage Counseling Work?
Willingness to work together and dedication to the process is an important first step to resolving marital distress. Marital counseling typically is a joint session in which the couple and therapist meet once a week. The therapist serves as a mediator between the couple and guides them through the process of identifying the source of distress, negotiating compromise, and developing effective communication strategies. According to the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapist, treatment for marital distress involves building on essential skills such as communication and problem solving and learning a system that helps identify issues, address them and find solutions, and to not let the problem become overwhelming. In many ways, couples have to learn how to argue effectively and work together to get through disagreements or other issues.
Not every Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist works in the same way and every couple has their own dynamic, so it is important to discuss expectations and the counseling process with the therapist. It is common for couples to seek therapy out of desperation and hope that the therapist can solve all their issues; however, a mutual commitment to improving the relationship helps yield better results. Do not expect a marriage counselor to choose sides or to solve all of your issues. You may find that differences are irreconcilable and it is best to end the relationship.
If you feel that your marriage could use some work please call me at 954-675-1936 or send me a secure message via my contact me page. My systematic approach to couples counseling focuses on breaking bad habits within relationships and building new strategies. I have been helping couples rekindle their spark for years and I provide an open and nonjudgmental environment.