“Couple’s Therapy.” It’s amazing how much controversy and difference of opinion there is about two simple, little words. The truth is, though, couple’s therapy (or marriage counseling) is a debated practice. Can a therapist really fix the problems between two people? No, they can’t—but they might be able to give you the tools to do it yourself and facilitate the environment where you can heal as a couple. You and your spouse need to be willing to do the work, though. Here are 4 signs you should look for in your relationship to see if counseling might help strengthen your struggling marriage.
1. You’ve Caught the Problem Early
The most common mistake for couples that attempt therapy or counseling is waiting too long after problems become, well, problematic. The longer your bad habits as a couple persist, the harder they will be to break. If your car squeals every time you hit the brakes, you’re going to take it into the mechanic as soon as possible before any more damage is done. So, why wouldn’t you do the same with your marriage?
It’s not a sign of weakness to head to a therapist when problems arise and they seem out of your fixing ability. In fact, it’s a sign of strength that you are willing to get help. You should try your best to communicate and improve with your spouse first, but if problems still persist, don’t be ashamed to ask for an unbiased opinion.
2. External Pressures Are the Problem
Many times the marital problems that many couples face come as a result of financial struggles, intruding relatives, or career obligations. It’s not actually a problem between the couple—it’s just an outside force or pressure that is causing stress and contention.
Marriage counseling is a wonderful tool for these couples that just need some extra help coping with external difficulties. Counseling can teach you how to rely on each other for strength and how to be a support each other during trials, instead of drawing apart.
3. You Both Take the Blame
One thing that marriage counseling is not is a blame session. This isn’t the time or place for you to just dish out the complaints about your spouse and number every fault or problem. There is a time for constructive criticism, but putting all the blame on one member of the relationship is anything but constructive.
It is important for both of you to be willing to accept blame for the troubles in your relationship. Once you are able to do this, both of you will be willing to change and adjust your actions to get rid of that blame. You both become responsible for bettering the relationship.
4. Neither of You Are Decided on Divorce
It is vital to the success of marriage counseling that both members of the couple are willing to participate and are committed to helping the relationship succeed—meaning neither has decided that divorce would just be better. The decision to get divorced is a very long, winding road, so once a spouse has travelled down it, it is unlikely that they will come back. That’s not to say it’s impossible, but couple’s therapy probably won’t be the reason his or her mind changes.
You will find the most success from marriage counseling if you both go into it with open minds and a determination to stay together. Believe in your love, your marriage, and the commitments that you made to each other.
No marriage is perfect—they all have their ups and downs, peaks and valleys. Sometimes, though, a marriage counselor or therapist can help the two of you to right wrongs and return to those feelings of honeymoon love. If your relationship sounds like the one described in this article, it might not hurt to try it out.
Georgiah Cook has a passion for finance and accounting, as well as education. This passion has driven her to become a prolific writer on subjects like personal growth, relationships, and higher education. Georgiah loves studying relationships and family dynamics from all angles, from family law practices like Donnell Law Group to the latest trends in parenting.