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Every committed, long-term relationship has its problems. Living with anyone eventually leads to a disagreement, fight, or argument. However, when the other person is your spouse, finding ways to overcome a problem can be challenging without help.
Marriage counseling allows you and your partner to find common ground and begin the healing process to improve your relationship. Every marital problem doesn’t have to end in divorce. Instead, you and your spouse can learn to communicate and resolve issues through therapy sessions with a qualified marriage counselor.
Despite problems in a relationship, knowing when to get marriage counseling may not be easy. Below, the professionals at Couple Connection San Diego outline some of the top warning signs that a couple may need marriage counseling.
Reasons to Seek Help from a Marriage Counselor
Many couples say therapy improves their relationships. Counseling offers many benefits to committed partners, including:
- Stronger cooperation between spouses
- Improved communication
- Strengthened emotional bond and intimacy
- Better mental health due to less stress
A healthy relationship builds on a foundation of trust, communication, and honesty between both parties. When someone breaks one or more of those tenets, the relationship can feel like it’s on a downward spiral. However, it is sometimes possible to restore or develop them again through marriage counseling.
9 Signs You and Your Spouse May Benefit from Marriage Counseling
Marriage counseling isn’t a catch-all to prevent divorce. However, if you and your partner are willing to work with a qualified counselor, you increase the possibility of saving your marriage and strengthening your relationship.
1. Lack of Physical Intimacy
Intimacy takes many forms, including emotional, intellectual, and physical intimacy. All are valid, but many couples struggle the most with physical intimacy. When someone in the relationship struggles with physical intimacy due to a lack of interest, the romantic relationship can become strained.
Many long-term couples experience an ebb and flow in their sex life, which is normal. A problem usually occurs when there are sudden or drastic changes in the frequency at which a couple is intimate with each other.
Perhaps intimacy in the bedroom is occurring less than one person prefers, or the sex is no longer exciting or fun. In either case, marriage counseling could help uncover the cause for the change and put the couple on the right path toward reclaiming the physical connection they desire.
2. Resentment Toward Each Other
The occasional argument is part of every relationship, marital or otherwise. Resolving conflicts requires some work. However, if you or your spouse have resentment, conflict resolutions will become more challenging.
Marriage counseling can help you and your partner uncover the root cause of the resentment, which could stem from past arguments or hurts. Without identifying the reason why one or both of you are resentful, every conversation you have with each other will have negative connotations.
Resentment may taint conversation and stagnate growth. If you resent your partner for any reason, the resentment can lead to shame, insecurity, or judgment. A negative voice and perspective during conversations are enough to spark additional arguments, causing the cycle to repeat itself.
3. Most Communication Is Negative or Argumentative
There is such a thing as having too much passion. Every conversation you and your partner have shouldn’t be negative or end in an argument. Unchecked passion can devastate a marriage because it becomes almost impossible to get along with the person you love.
Hostile or argumentative communication is a communication breakdown. Neither one of you hears what the other is trying to say, which is frustrating. This type of communication leads to defensive behavior and hurt feelings when there is no real cause.
A skilled couples therapist helps you and your spouse learn how to communicate more effectively. They can show you and your partner how to resolve conflicts healthily and have genuine conversations.
4. Secret Keeping
Keeping secrets from your spouse is a fast way to present yourself as untrustworthy. It’s one thing to tell a white lie about small things that don’t cause harm. It’s something else entirely to withhold an important secret.
An example of a white lie is a spouse telling a partner wrong information about where they’ve been to hide the fact that they’re planning a surprise birthday party. A secret involves withholding pertinent information like credit card debt or a child from a previous relationship.
When a couple starts hiding serious things from each other, it usually stems from a larger issue in the relationship. Marriage counseling can help uncover those issues and guide you and your partner in coping with the truth.
5. Major Life Change
Sometimes, life circumstances can cause a breakdown in a marriage through neither person’s fault. Anything that changes your life for the better or worse can affect your relationship negatively. For instance, the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, or a change in financial status can affect a person’s mental health and living conditions.
As people experience change, their marriages change. Marriage counseling can help you navigate those new areas of your life to improve the bond with your spouse.
As one of the tenets of a healthy relationship, trust between a married couple is a must for a healthy relationship. Unfortunately, some people marry without having a foundation of trust. Others wed as trustworthy partners until one or both parties breached the trust they earned.
Without trust, you might start viewing your spouse as an enemy, not a partner. If you question everything they do, they can become resentful of your mistrust. You may look toward people outside your marriage for emotional support, such as friends and family members, instead of seeking it from your spouse.
If someone is mistrustful in marriage and seeks support and validation from others, it may be time to get marriage counseling. Friends, coworkers, and relatives can have biased opinions that validate mistrust. An experienced therapist offers unbiased opinions and proven techniques to regain trust with your partner.
7. Dishonesty about Finances
A common reason for divorce is financial troubles and household money management issues. If one person in a relationship doesn’t contribute money to the household or spends money frivolously, it could lead to intense arguments. The pushback over careless spending sometimes causes people to lie or embellish the truth about their spending habits.
Financial dishonesty includes hiding receipts, lying about purchases, and not disclosing credit card debt to a spouse. Not only could dishonesty about finances cause tension in a marriage, the lying and secretive habits also breach the other person’s trust.
If you and your spouse frequently argue about money and spending, seek marriage counseling immediately.
8. Little Time Together as a Married Couple
You and your spouse probably enjoy many interests, hobbies, and friendships that are uniquely yours. However, that doesn’t mean you and your partner should have completely separate social lives.
Quality time together as a couple is as important as taking time for yourself. It’s a balancing act that not everyone knows how to master. Even with a busy work, social, and home life, neither you nor your spouse should feel like a roommate within the household.
It’s not uncommon for a couple to experience brief disconnections from each other. However, that phase shouldn’t be long-term without intimacy or effective communication.
You don’t have to argue every day to benefit from couples therapy sessions. A counselor can help you and your partner revitalize your emotional connection after long spells of indifference or time spent apart.
9. Contemplating an Affair
Even thinking of having an affair warrants help from a marriage counselor. If you or your partner is considering an affair, it is best to seek help from a marriage counselor immediately. The therapist can help you and your spouse work out the best way to proceed with your marriage and address the lack one of you is experiencing.
Begin Improving Your Relationship Today
Identifying the warning signs in your relationship and choosing to seek help is the first step toward improving your relationship. With the help of a qualified marriage counselor, you and your spouse can reclaim the once-bright spark in your relationship that now seems diminished.
At Couple Connection San Diego, we have an experienced team of licensed marriage and family therapists. We can provide you and your partner with proven strategies to overcome problems and a safe space to resolve issues. Our therapists aim to help couples and individuals by providing the tools and perspectives necessary to develop healthy habits to manage their relationships.
Are you a couple seeking marriage counseling? If so, contact Couple Connection San Diego today at firstname.lastname@example.org.