Is Marriage Counseling Right For Us?
Do married couples fight more often than unmarried couples?
Sometimes we get more skilled at communicating with our partners over time – but with that deepening intimacy comes a dangerous knowledge: We know all those right buttons to push to make a simple household disagreement escalate into thermonuclear warfare. If you find yourself fighting with your partner all the time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your relationship is “doomed” or even “toxic”. All relationships progress through cycles of ebbs and flows. You and your partner may have just slipped into one of those temporary slumps—but, no worries: We got your back!
Topics that Marriage Counseling & Therapy can be used to address:
- Premarital Counseling: So, you two haven’t tied the knot yet… but there are still some kinks to work out. You might be having some of those initial “heavy” conversations, like: “What do you mean you don’t want to have kids!?!?” Or maybe you two don’t have any problems, per se; but you want to start off married life on the right foot, with deeper understanding for each other and improved communication. Premarital counseling can help you both articulate your expectations for the marriage, enhance your level of intimacy, and iron out past conflicts that might be smoldering beneath the surface.
- The Honeymoon period ended… When a relationship first begins, a lot of us are guilty of presenting our “best” self instead of our “true” self. We let little slights slide that would normally set us off, and we pretend that we’re WAY more into things that we might actually hate: like watching sports, trying adventurous foods, or accompanying you while you shop… for hours, and hours, and hours. The moment when the honeymoon period typically ends is usually also the moment when couples begin being more honest with one another. Marriage counseling can help you conquer the honesty hurdle and ease you into the “reconfiguration” period of your relationship.
- Communication & Listening: You’re trying to talk about your day… and your partner is (once again!) glued to his or her phone, computer screen, gaming device, or television set. An argument ensues, and both of you reach into your arsenal of designer insults – because who knows better how to hurt your partner than their other (and ahem, better!) half? Sound familiar? That’s because we all do this at some point! Fortunately, marriage counseling can avert some of these unnecessary disagreements by helping you both improve your listening and arguing skills – so you can disagree with your partner healthily… without zooming in directly for the jugular.
- Financial Squabbles: Most married couples have entangled assets and expenditures: shared bank accounts and payments (house, auto, health insurance…) and a credit card, or two… ok, maybe five. And someone has to pay for all of that! Financial disagreements in marriages tend to occur when one person feels like the other person is spending too much or not contributing enough; or that one person never loosens up the purse strings for long enough to enjoy a little leisure time. Marriage counseling for financial issues can help you both reach a consensus for a spending budget and help you navigate more tricky situations—like when one partner loses their job, the triplets are all heading off to college simultaneously, and your reliable 1993 station wagon? Just bit the dust.
- Sex: Differing expectations or drives for sex can easily become a touchy subject in most marriages. On the one hand, you desperately want to feel desired by your partner. But on the other hand… you’re not a machine! You have a job for which you must wake up at 5 am, screaming babies with whom you must contend, and if you don’t get a full five hours of sleep—you might just end up being that person who gets escorted off the premises of their job for brandishing a stapler as a weapon! Marriage counseling can encourage you to carve out much needed time for intimacy or empower you to communicate your sexual desires with your partner in a judgment-free space.
- Kiddos: From navigating the when’s & if’s to have ‘em, to handling issues of infertility, or parenting them without losing the last vestige of your sanity or branding your partner as the “bad” guy, children are a wonderful—but stressful—addition to a marriage. Marriage counseling can assist the two of you in getting onto the same page about discipline and ensuring that neither member of the relationship functions as a “single-parent” when life… happens.
- Resentment: The longer that a relationship lasts, the longer that resentments can simmer. Sometimes, resentment emerges as the accumulation of many small and seemingly trivial aggravations: you feel like you’re the one who always washes the dishes, cooks the meals, walks the dog… and suddenly the sound of your partner breathing becomes infuriating. Or maybe something profound has happened: your partner had an affair, or suffers from an addiction and you feel like you’ve been thrust unfairly into the role of caregiver. Breaking a cycle of resentment isn’t always easy… but marriage counseling can assist you to identify and vocalize how you feel, and along the way… you might progress from “tolerating” your partner to enjoying their company once again.
- Last-Ditch Marital: You and your partner have been through HELL and back. You don’t know whether to call it quits or keep trudging along. But we’re here to tell you: the fact that you’re both still invested in trying definitely means something! When focusing on “what went wrong” has failed to produce results in the past, we’ll help you concentrate instead on recreating your relationship. Let’s get rid of what’s not working, and focus on what is!
How Can Marriage Therapy & Counseling Improve My Marriage?
We’ve delved extensively into the specifics; but sometimes it’s nice to review the bigger picture. Effective marriage counseling can enhance the quality of your relationship by:
- Awarding you and your partner with the opportunity to articulate your frustrations and expectations for the marriage, on topics such as parenting, division of household chores, physical intimacy, extended family (the horrors!), finances, and more!
- Rebounding successfully from the end of the honeymoon period, that era when you both begin to actually start getting to know one another
- Equipping you and your partner with tools that enable you to express disagreement more productively, without resorting to launching verbal bombs; and honing your general communication and listening skills
- Recovering long-lost intimacy and putting aging resentments to rest
- Confronting issues—such as substance abuse, depression, chronic illness, etc.—that have altered the original dynamics of your relationship
- And, lastly: rejuvenating relationships where both parties have tried everything… but nothing seems to work. Paint won’t make a shack a load-bearing structure… so instead, we’ll tear down that crumbling shack, and help you build a new foundation!