By Sylvia Smith
What many people do not realize is that counseling can help prevent problems in a relationship. Learning ways to build a relationship before there are problems is one reason some couples seek a counselor. Unfortunately, many couples wait too long before they consider marriage counseling and do not care enough about their partner to continue with the marriage. If you are even wondering if counseling might help, it is probably time to find a counselor.
Deciding when to seek marriage counseling can be a tough decision. Check out the list below to see if you and your partner might need to see a professional for marriage tips.
No communication. If you and your spouse have stopped communicating, it is time to look for help. In reality, many problems in a marriage start with a lack of communication between the couple. Everyone has busy lives and it can be easy to take your partner for granted, but you both need to make time every day to talk about something other than bills or schedules.
Living separate lives. Again, people have become so busy that it is easy to focus only on what you need to do next and not think about making time to spend with your partner. If you start to feel more like your spouse’s roommate than his/her lover, it is time to find help to learn how to be a couple again.
If you think your spouse needs to change. If you truly believe that the only problems in your marriage are because of your spouse, it is time to try marriage counseling. While your spouse may have issues to deal with, it is rare that only one person is to blame in a troubled marriage. You cannot live your life waiting for someone else to change. You can only change yourself and learn to be happy.
Big relationship issues. These problems can include problems with either side of the family, religious differences, views on money or how to raise your children correctly. Often, in a marriage, these issues are swept under the rug because the potential for hurting someone’s feelings is so large. If you and your spouse are constantly arguing about the same things, it is time to seek marital advice from a marriage counselor. A counselor can help you hear your partner’s side without becoming defensive.
Keeping secrets. Keeping secrets from your spouse can be extremely damaging to your relationship. Whether you are spending money that you don’t want your spouse to know about or thinking about an affair, those secrets are hurting your marriage. Everyone has a right to have private thoughts, but when you are afraid of telling your spouse something, it is time to check for a marriage counselor.
If affection is withheld. In some couples, affection is withheld as a way to punish the other spouse. This usually occurs when one spouse gets angry over something and decides to punish the other by not talking or by refusing to touch or kiss.
If communication is always negative. Everyone needs to be encouraged and to hear positive things every day. If the communication between you and your spouse is constantly negative, it is time to seek marriage counseling. Negative communication can be anything that makes one spouse feel degraded, ashamed or judged. Remember that how you say something is as important as what you say. This type of communication can also become emotional or verbal abuse without you even realizing it.
If you are thinking about an affair. If you are even thinking about an affair, it is time for marriage counseling. You need to find out what you are missing from your relationship that you think you can find somewhere else. Affairs are not just for sex; they can also be for companionship and intimacy. Some people have affairs because that other person talks to them and really listens. People have affairs to find the missing element in their lives. A counselor can help you find that missing part in your marriage instead of with someone else.
A difference in your sex life. Most relationships go through periods when sex is the last thing they are thinking about. This is normal, especially if you have been together a long time. Big changes in your sex life can signify problems in the relationship, though. Even having more sex can be a negative thing as one spouse may be trying to make up for something they are feeling guilty about.
Seeking marital advice is not admitting defeat. It is a sign of how much you still care about each other that you are willing to open up and listen to the advice from a counselor. It will not be easy, but if you are both willing, saving your marriage through counseling is definitely worth the pain of the process.
Sylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples in therapy. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is currently associated with Marriage.com, a reliable resource assisting millions of couples to resolve their marital issues. She holds a Master’s Degree in Arts (Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy).