Facing challenges within a marriage is inevitable and, at times, can even be healthy. Keeping an open line of communication, sharing wants or needs, and confronting problems are well-known ways to keep a marriage running smoothly. But what happens when things are not going as smoothly as planned, regardless of how much effort is being put into it? When is it time to seek marriage counseling? Seeking outside help can feel like defeat to some couples, but it is essential to remember that licensed and trained therapists have the ultimate goal of supporting both you and your spouse in your relationship.
Research has shown that the majority of divorced couples never attempted marriage therapy. When asked for their reasoning, most were quoted as saying that it was simply too late. Reaching out to a non-biased, professionally trained therapist can often be the difference between progressing in your marriage and staying stagnant or even divorcing. It can be difficult to know when it is time to seek marriage therapy officially. Though the answer to this may vary slightly from couple to couple, there are seven research-backed challenges that will likely need outside guidance to solve.
Circling Back To The Same Issue
One of the most prevalent marital issues couples experience is the regurgitation of prior fights that simply do not seem to go away. Whether it’s days, weeks, or months, the underlying problems continue to be brought up in various ways without a solution. It can feel like you are both completely gridlocked on the issue. This can be a result of past trauma in a prior relationship, childhood, or even experiences within the current relationship.
If you have tried a variety of different ways to handle the issue, it may be time for a professional to step in. Problem-solving processes are unique to individual people, and, as a result, they do not always align with others. This can create a much larger issue if it is not confronted and strategically solved. A licensed marriage counselor can guide you to a place of mutual understanding and can help you develop solutions that work for you both.
Perceived Lack Of Support
Often, couples may feel that their spouse is not providing them with the support they need. When this happens, over an extended period of time, resentment can begin to build up. This can lead to explosive fights over smaller-scale issues and can create an unhealthy environment, which is especially damaging if children are involved.
Feeling supported is an essential aspect of a healthy marriage. Even if you feel that you are providing sufficient support, your spouse may not feel the same. Some couples have difficulties approaching topics such as this for a variety of reasons. Past experiences can have a significant influence on the way that people communicate. Fortunately, marriage counselors are specialized in teaching effective communication skills. Even if it feels unnatural at first, with practice, communicating your needs can become dramatically easier.
Regardless of the severity, daily fighting can be draining for mental and physical health. In most cases, arguing causes a spike in cortisol that has negative impacts on overall well-being. If this is occurring on a daily basis, the toll on health can be great.
Additionally, if there are children residing in the home, they will be impacted by unhealthy and negative forms of communication. In adults that grew up in a dysfunctional household, constant chaos is their baseline, and they may subconsciously bring their old dysfunctional patterns into their current relationship.
The inability to resolve conflicts can destroy a relationship. Seeking counseling is imperative if this is the case in your marriage. You and your partner will need to work towards creating calm and productive communication habits rather than being explosive and counterproductive.
Experiencing infidelity within a marriage can have lasting impacts that influence every aspect of the relationship. Recovering from the broken trust can be extremely challenging, especially for those that have been deceived in the past by parents or other trusted adults. The implications for the spouse on the receiving end of the infidelity range from increased stress and anxiety to low confidence and depression.
Spouses begin to question their own self-worth, which can have draining effects on their partners. The newly developed need for reassurance is not a healthy result of the action and is another important aspect to solve. A professional can help you heal from the pain that comes from infidelity. A therapist can also help you understand the causes of infidelity and help you develop healthy ways of creating intimacy. Many marriages are able to be repaired following unfaithful behavior, but professional intervention is often vital for continued success.
Lack Of Intimacy
Intimacy within a marriage is an important aspect that can be dramatically undervalued. Partners that report high levels of intimacy exhibit significant levels of comfort around their spouse, clear communication, and physical connection. A study done on couples that were approaching the point of divorce showed that increasing their frequency of intimacy increased their marital satisfaction overall.
Intimacy can occur on many levels, including emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Some of the ways that spouses can increase intimacy include, holding hands, hugging, resolving conflicts, spending meaningful time together, and having vulnerable conversations. The true definition of intimacy refers to the closeness between spouses. This increase has been shown to create a stronger bond between partners and increase relationship resiliency overall.
If significant topics are not discussed prior to getting married, they are likely to pop up later down the line. When this happens, the realization that you are not on the same page can be incredibly stressful. In some cases, viewpoints may have started out in line with one another and shifted as time progressed. This can cause friction as well, especially for those that are resistant to change.
Important topics like child-rearing, finances, religion, and politics have the ability to damage a marriage significantly. Disagreements can turn into regular fighting that dissolves the bond necessary for a healthy, flourishing marriage. In a highly functioning marriage, spouses report feeling like they are on the same team. When large-scale topics are not agreed upon, it can be difficult to achieve this feeling.
Counseling can guide you as you attempt to compromise or accept each other’s differences in a positive way. Not seeing eye to eye is difficult, but it is fixable with proper interventions.
Repeated Lying Is Occurring
Deceit in any form can cause a rift in a marriage. Repeated deceit presents even greater challenges that will likely require professional help to solve. When one partner is lied to, they may begin to question everything in the relationship. This can turn into resentment, jealousy, anger, and a feeling of betrayal.
Ultimately, a healthy relationship should feel safe and secure. This is vital for the mental health and well-being of both spouses. While trust takes time and effort to be rebuilt, it is possible when the correct steps are taken. A counselor can help you process the deceitful experience and guide you as you begin to form a trusted bond once more.
Seeking marriage counseling is a wise choice for couples experiencing any of the above challenges. If you feel that your relationship is suffering in some capacity, it is important to reach out for professional help. While solving problems together is the goal, it may take intentional work with a counselor to get to that point. Ultimately, it is never too early to begin marriage counseling, so don’t wait until it is too late.
We Can Help!
MHThrive provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any mental health or substance abuse issues, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Online Treatment Programs provides Teletherapy Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs allowing participants to receive intensive therapy with our licensed therapists and psychiatrists without having to leave home. If you or someone you know is struggling to overcome depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, trauma, panic attacks, PTSD, alcoholism, drug abuse, or other mental health or addiction issues, we can help. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our teletherapy programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.