Who do you talk to when your relationship is on the verge of breaking up?
If you’re like most people, you may be talking to a friend who gives good, comforting pieces of advice. You may turn to your parents, whose relationship experiences have earned them the right to tell you what and what not to do. You may also validate your feelings by reading a random self-help article online, entitled “10 warning signs your relationship is doomed right now.”
While some words are comforting, not all of them are genuine and helpful. They’re mostly based on personal experiences, biased perceptions, or even ideas presented in movies, not science-backed facts.
The best person to talk to when your marriage gets rough? Someone unbiased and knowledgeable enough to provide psychology-based ways to become more thoughtful, loving versions of yourselves – an expert in marriage counseling or couples therapy.
If you want to save your marriage, here are 8 signs it’s time for you and your partner to seek couples counseling.
1. You don’t communicate effectively
You don’t talk anymore. And if you do, you can’t express your feelings effectively, which leads to senseless arguments, emotional abuse, and resentment.
In all honesty, most relationship challenges are caused by one thing: poor communication skills. A couples therapist can help facilitate new, effective ways to communicate with each other.
2. You’re living separate lives
You just go home to the same house, but you don’t eat together, sleep together, and do things you used to do, together. You keep secrets to each other. When you and your partner become more like roommates than a couple, this is a strong indication you need counseling.
There may be a lack of communication, fruitful conversation, and intimacy in the house – something a good marriage counseling session can help resolve and get back.
3. You fight all the time
Do you find it hard to have a conversation with your partner without fighting? It’s not the end of the road for you – you may just need to learn how to communicate more effectively.
Even the healthiest couples fight, but they know to argue without losing their respect for the other person. They know to avoid negative communication, which includes name-calling, humiliation, blame games, and anything that leaves the other person feeling judged, disregarded, shamed, insecure, and wanting to get out of the conversation. Negative communication also includes the tone of the conversation as well as non-verbal cues.
Couples therapy may help you learn how to diffuse arguments, speak more calmly to each other, and make sure you treat your partner with respect.
4. Same relationship issues keep coming up
If you argue over the same things over and over again, it may be time to consult professional help. They can help you find ways to work out your issues, whether it’s as petty as household chores expectations and unpleasant habits, or as serious as differing views on finances, child-rearing, and incompatible sex drives.
A marriage therapist can help you discuss these issues, determine the real root of the problem, and offer ways to solve them. Therapy can be of big help if both parties are committed to recognizing the other’s POV and are willing to reach a reasonable resolution.
5. You ignore ongoing issues
Just because a couple can talk to each other without fighting doesn’t mean everything is fine. Some couples find themselves brushing things under the rug because one or both are afraid to speak up. They ignore important issues that needed to be resolved, from annoying little habits to issues about sex, kids, and money.
No need to brush it off and pretend everything is okay. A marriage therapist can provide ways on how to tackle issues in ways that feel safe, comfortable, and manageable to both of you.
6. Your sex desires aren’t matched
Sex is one of the reasons why couples fight. Sexual issues, including mismatched sex drives, lack of time for sex, and lost spark, are legit relationship struggles that need professional help. Fortunately, sex therapists, or even general psychotherapists, are there for a reason.
7. Your money issues are affecting your relationship
This is one of the most destructive relationship issues. Money problems come in different forms. Next, to the anxiety about not having enough money, most couples fight about mismatched spending habits and how they’ll split up their share of expenses. Other couples argue about financial infidelity, which can be just as damaging as a sexual affair.
While couples therapy can’t resolve your financial problems, it can help you find ways to compromise your finances.
8. You’re about to hit a big milestone
In contrary to popular misconception, couples therapy isn’t just a nuclear option for failing relationships or a last resort before filing a divorce. You can also seek counseling when things are going well, especially when you’re about to hit a big life change.
Milestones like moving in together, getting engaged or married, or having children, can be discussed. Couples counseling can help you prepare for the changes ahead as a team.
Couples therapy carries negative connotations in our society. Many couples wait too long before seeking help. Other couples end up not getting help at all. It’s time to break the stigma around marriage counseling and give your relationship a chance to thrive.