Every marriage goes through ups and downs. A number of marriages also go through times of severe turmoil, such as deaths in the family, chronic illnesses, unfaithfulness, or national disasters. Some marriages hold strong during any ups and downs; others begin to crumble. For any marriage in crisis, however, marital counseling can help.
Each couple’s marriage is, of course, unique. Therefore, the way in which that couple deals with problems and issues will be unique. However, there are several signs which are common to all marriages–signs which point toward trouble brewing in the relationship. The earlier a couple begins to recognize the signs, the earlier the couple can begin marriage counseling. And, the sooner the couple starts counseling, the better the couple’s chances of saving their marriage.
Here are the common warning signs of a marriage that is likely headed toward crisis:
The couple bickers, nags, and nitpicks a great deal.
The couple doesn’t fight fairly.
The couple tends to spend a good deal of time apart, doing activities separately because that is more fun than spending time together.
The couple doesn’t talk about problems together. One member of the couple may be unaware of household issues or problems with the children that the other couple member handles, for instance.
The couple no longer agrees on long-term goals and values, either for themselves or for the family as a whole.
The couple has a low level of intimacy–or none.
The couple doesn’t talk much. The two members of the couple may be unaware of significant events or happenings at each other’s workplaces, for example.
Marriage counseling can help couples who are having any of the above issues. Counseling can also assist couples who are in crisis for other reasons. There is no reason for a couple to stay in an unhappy marriage; yet people who head straight for separation or divorce without trying to first make the marriage work through the use of marital counseling may be throwing in the towel without giving their marriage a fair chance.
Professional marriage counselors have experience in working with couples who have gone through all types of difficulties. Counselors can assist couples in dealing with infidelity, spending issues, problems with family and children, differences in faith, and much more.
Couples who attend marriage counseling learn the following:
How to resolve conflict through effective listening
How to state needs clearly and openly without anger or resentment
How to get what is needed in the relationship without making demands
How to work through unresolved issues in the marriage
How to understand the needs of both members of the couple–and how to meet those needs
Marriage counseling works best if couples go as soon as they begin having problems in their marriage. A marriage in crisis can be helped with marital counseling; however, if a couple waits too long to seek counseling, their chances of saving their marriage may not be as great.