Working out problems together is one of the most important things you and your partner need to do to strengthen your relationship. Sometimes, however, issues can get too big or complicated to be worked out within your relationship, and you may need some third party help and perspective to help you work out your relationship issues.
A recent study in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, reports that marriage counselling aids 7 out of 10 couples to find greater satisfaction in their marriage.
John M. Gottman PhD, a renowned marriage researcher, and the author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, says that on average, a couple entering marriage counselling has been dealing with marital difficulties for more than six years.
So what are the signs that you need to seek help?
When You Should Consider Seeing a Counsellor
If you are dealing with one or more of the below issues, you should consider seeing a counsellor or therapist to help you get your relationship back on track:
You Repeatedly Have the Same Arguments
If you are having the same argument over and over, a therapist will help you to get to the root of the problem. It may begin innocently, but then ends up with you both rehashing the same stuff again and again. Marriage expert Sue Johnson refers to this as the “protest polka,” where one partner advances and the other retreats.
You Aren’t Talking
This occurs when you are in full retreat. Even if you both know that there are serious fractures in the relationship, no one’s talking and the silence is deadening, masking deep anxiety and discouragement. Seeing a marriage counsellor can bring encouragement. Relationship challenges are often the result of communication challenges, and a counsellor can help facilitate better and more open communication.
You Are No Longer Having Sex
According to Today’s Parent lack of sex is a good barometer of the emotional health of your relationship. In a broken marriage, sex can also be used as a tool for revenge or power. A counsellor can help to restore balanced power dynamics and intimacy.
You Talk but It Is Always Negative
Negative communication is any communication that leaves a partner feeling insecure, shamed, judged, or wishing to withdraw from talking. It can also involve the tone of the conversation because it can be how you say it, not what you say. Negative communication runs the risk of turning into emotional abuse.
Old Issues Are Constantly Raised
If you are constantly bringing up old issues, it will prevent you from working on present issues. A counsellor can help you to sort through these old issues and put them to rest so you can begin to move forward.
You Live Separate Lives
If you are living like roommates rather than a married couple, counselling can help to figure out what is missing in the relationship and how to get it back.
If you find fault with everything your partner does or says, your conversations are always sarcastic, you are constantly nagging at your partner, or you are keeping score, then one or both of you has lost faith in your commitment and love. A counsellor can help you reconnect on the big things so you stop sweating the little things.
According to the ECC, a large scale study investigating relationship counselling services across Victoria, Australia, there are two kinds of relationship services that have been shown to be effective. They are relationship education and couple counselling. The study also states that healthy couple relationships are essential to a healthy society, whereas a breakdown in relationships is linked to many negative health and wellbeing effects.
Most couples tend to wait too long before they decide to seek help from a marriage therapist or counsellor. You and your partner’s relationship, as well as your mental health and wellbeing, will benefit the most if you get help sooner than later. Even when it seems hopeless, before deciding it’s over, take the time to meet with a relationship or marriage counsellor. To make an appointment with one of our skilled counsellors just get in touch.