Marriage counseling, for many, still has a negative stigma attached to it. After all, only desperate people, or failed marriages seek out professional help, right? Wrong. This fast paced world of technology forces all of us – each and every one of us – to multitask beyond even our most skilled abilities. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything we need to do: line up your next high profile client, do the laundry, hire the secretary, get up early to jog, and all while taking care of our families with a home cooked meal night after night.
Many of us reach a breaking point professionally and/or personally. That’s when the skills and insight of a counselor can help bring things back into perspective for our life’s situation and help us regain control. Are you and your spouse feeling rundown? Perhaps it would be a mature decision to seek professional help while you’re ahead instead of waiting til you absolutely need it! Here’s a guide to help you know when it’s time to be proactive with your marriage by seeking outside help.
You Feel Overwhelmed
There’s a difference between having a bad day and having a really bad series of days (or years). You can feel it in your bones, the inability over a period of time that your life as you know it is becoming less and less manageable on your own. One of the biggest areas of need for marriage counseling come from individual problems and may not necessarily be related to the other partner. If you’re struggling to make necessary changes in your life (exhibiting self-destructive behavior, putting yourself down excessively, experiencing problems at work, or having trouble finding purpose) it’s important to get help that involves your spouse. A therapist is good, but he or she doesn’t live with you! (Unless of course you’re married to one, or live in a commune). Professional counseling is beneficial for anyone who needs a jump start, and who is willing to talk about difficult issues and patterns of behavior in their lives. Being honest with your spouse, and being responsive to learning about various aspects of their lives and relationship to their spouse which may actually uncover that the roots of the actual problem are less individual than you would think!
Man or woman, life hits us all with the same issues. Our gender, however, does affect how we respond to stressors. Often, relational tension (at any level) in our marriages come from an inability to understand the behavior of our spouse, because we don’t experience life through their bodies, or with their collection of hormones and experiences. This can often make our spouse feel that we aren’t being supportive when they really need us (or vice-versa). Some people are quick to think that this is an indicator that their spouse may not have been the right choice all along, or that they are just a disagreeable or unsupportive person! These sorts of feelings, gone unchecked, lead to more divorces than can be counted. If, however, we are able to have the professional input of a counselor who can explain you or your spouse’s behavior and feelings, then the simple ignorance that leads to misunderstanding can be undercut early on. Counseling is often the key to successful communication and empathy with our spouse!
18.8 million American people experience depression symptoms. Are you one of them? Whether you’re dealing with the occasional lull in attitude, are having trouble sleeping to the point of insomnia, have lost the ability to enjoy activities that used to excite you or are feeling so depressed you’re at the point of thinking suicidal thoughts, it’s time to see a professional counselor with your spouse. Depression can become dangerous when not treated through therapy and other forms of support, and statistically, 80% of depressed people don’t receive treatment at all. Don’t suffer in silence or let it affect your most important relationship. See a counselor if you can’t shake “the blues” or feel hopeless.
You Argue About Petty Things
If you and your spouse are noticing that you regularly miscommunicate or argue constantly about petty things, then don’t wait until the arguments become serious before you seek an outside perspective of your marriage. There may be seeds of discord being sown in your marriage in an area that you would have never thought about. Better to be proactive than up a creek later. When you get sick, you don’t wait to see a doctor until you wasted away and can’t walk, do you? No, you notice symptoms and you get checked out so that you can get the prescription you need to keep yourself from getting worse! Relational needs are no different!
Counseling works. It offers perspective, it heals wounds, and it unites spouses in wonderful ways! While it may not be the most joyous hour of your day or week, your marriage will greatly benefit!
Author Bio: E. W. Steadman writes for Power of Two Marriage. Power of Two is a group of counselors that specialize in both marriage and couples counseling.