Seeking marriage counseling can be a pivotal turning point in a relationship. Though therapy is often associated with couples in crisis, you don’t have to experience something as relationship-shaking as infidelity in order to attend. In fact, many couples seek marriage counseling just to facilitate healthy communication in a safe, non judgemental place. All couples face trials and uncertainty, but the ones who navigate through them together can come out the other side with a stronger bond. There’s no shame in facing conflict when it is the nature of human experience.
Still, because of the stigma surrounding therapy and mental health, it can be difficult to convince your partner to attend marriage counseling. To convince a skeptic, consider a few of the proven benefits of marriage counseling:
- According to the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, 98% of couples who received marriage counseling were satisfied with the results of their sessions.
- 93% of couples reported that marriage counseling gave them the tools they needed to deal with their problems.
- Marriage counseling is common. 44% of couples today attend marriage counseling before tying the knot.
- 93% of American adults believe that a happy marriage is the most important life objective.
You may have heard the unfortunate statistic that fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. It’s heartening to know that this statistic is falling, and now fluctuates between 40% and 50%. Despite this, couples who undergo counseling together have a 30% higher marital success rate than those who do not. And guess what? Psychologists assert that there are many behaviors, such as how a couple fights and talks and what kind of dates they go on, that can be learned and practiced. It might feel strange to “practice” loving your partner, but doing so can change the course of a marriage. Who doesn’t want a mutually loving and supportive relationship with their life partner?
Here are 4 reasons you may need marriage counseling.
1. To Repair Trust Issues
After trust is broken, relationships may struggle to regain that trust. Part of respecting a partner is knowing that they will keep your words in confidence, follow through on promises, and show up on time. A spouse can feel betrayed when their partner breaks their trust, and learning to trust again can be slow and difficult.
Marriage counseling can help educate and assist couples with the process of regaining trust. With the proper tools and direction, couples can navigate through very difficult or painful situations. Couples can work on establishing healthy boundaries, consistently showing up for each other, and making an effort to prove that they are prioritizing the relationship.
2. Miscommunication in the Digital Age
Among digital phone users, nearly every one has probably experienced misinterpreting a text. Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, texting, Reddit comments… Our communication with each other filters through all of these social media platforms on a minute-by-minute basis. When body language, facial expression, and tone of voice is removed from a dialogue, circumstances are rife for misinterpretation of plain black and white text. Who to text, who to friend, and what photos to like can become a source of conflict. Most of all, communication can feel detached and impersonal, especially if the couple is going through a period of long-distance. A marriage counselor can help couples work through problems that originated from these sources, and establish social media boundaries that historically have caused conflict.
3. The Feeling That You Are Growing Apart
“‘Til death do us part” is a lifetime, and a lifetime of marriage is full of wonderful shared experiences and terrible ones. Couples who have been together for many years often fall into a sort of relationship complacency. They may find themselves feeling anxious about the possibility of growing apart or that their partner has grown into a new person without them. Either way, the situation is exacerbated by a lack of communication and a lack of quality time spent together. The more one feels that their partner cannot relate to them, the less they are likely to share with them and the further a wedge is driven between them.
Couples can work on this issue by seeking the help of a licensed marriage counselor. A marriage counselor can guide discussions about why feelings of growing apart might be arising and listen to each individual’s perspective on the situation. By encouraging open communication and meaningful questions, a marriage counselor can help partners establish daily rituals or novel experiences that bring them together.
4. Passive-aggressive Communication Styles
Words are everything when it comes to relationships. What we say to one another and what the other person perceives as the truth is the basis of how we connect. If your partner’s primary confrontation style is disguised insults with just the right amount of probable deniability, you’re dealing with passive aggression. Passive aggressive behavior is an unhelpful way of communicating that can pave the way for shame and confusion about what the person actually wants. Partners on the receiving end of this kind of verbal sparring can harbor resentment and feel uncertain about broaching the subject with their partner for fear of retaliation.
Marriage counseling can help the couple understand the ineffectiveness of passive aggression and walk them through the true substance of the conflict. Often, people resort to passive aggression because they were discouraged from expressing their true feelings in childhood. By making indirect and inefficient jabs, they may feel that they are protecting their true source of hurt by disguising it as another emotion.
A healthy marriage can significantly impact a couple’s satisfaction with life. For spouses and their children, a happy home protects against mental, physical, and social problems. While not all marriages are successful and not all couples are a good match, a commitment to counseling can help couples rediscover their appreciation for one another.
Whatever circumstances you and your partner may be navigating, it is possible for things to get better.
Talk to Someone Today
Brett Beaver is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over 25 years of experience. Using a comprehensive range of practices for individual therapy, couples therapy, and group facilitation, Brett works with clients to jointly develop interventions to work through challenges. Contact Brett Beaver by calling (925) 464-3916 or visit the contact us page.