Marriage Counseling: 7 Signs You Might Need Professional Help
By Jenny Tiegs
This article originally appeared on GalTime.com
There’s no question — marriage can be challenging. Maybe marriage
counseling should be something you register for when you tie the knot.
Much like a new set of dishes that gets scratched from constant use,
relationships can also show wear and tear over the years. So how do
you know if your marriage has hit a rough patch or it’s something more
serious… requiring professional help?
Sign 1: Poor Communication.
Martin Novell, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los
Angeles, urges couples to seek professional help when they aren’t able
to talk about their problems. According to Novell, “When It’s just too
frightening to even bring issues up — from sex to money, or even
annoying little habits that are being blown out of proportion, a
therapist’s job is to help the couple become clear about their issues
and to help them understand what they are truly talking about.”
Sign 2: Your Sex Life has Significantly Changed.
Most feel that when there is a loss of intimacy, there are problems.
While this is true, it is also important to be mindful of a sudden
increase. Valerie Jencks, Founder and Executive Director of Prairie
Family Therapy in Chicago, warns that either an absence or a sudden
increase of sex in your relationship can signal danger. “If you have
not been having regular or passionate sex and all of a sudden your
partner behaves like a courting lover or wants to experiment with new
activities that s/he has never expressed an interest in before, it
could indicate that he is experiencing feeling of arousal that are not
originating from his relationship with you!”
Sign 3: Holding on to the Past.
Silvia M. Dutchevici, the founder and President of the Critical
Therapy Center in New York City, suggests that it might be a good idea
to talk to a professional when there has been a traumatic event in
your lives, like the loss of a child or an affair — and one partner
cannot let the past go. “Whatever the situation, every person
processes trauma differently.”
Sign 4: A Reoccurring Issue.
“One type of red flag that usually can be greatly helped by therapy is
an issue that has been difficult in the relationship from the
beginning, but regardless of endless discussions, never seems to
pass,” explains Dr. Julie Gurner. “When you see that the same issues
are coming up again and again in disagreements, it is a good sign they
are not effectively being resolved and the couple is at a ‘sticking
point.’” Dr. Gurner encourages couples to seek help to save “many
years of trouble down the road.”
Sign 5: Finances.
Disagreements over money are one of the top reasons couples find
themselves in conflict. If your spouse keeps you in the dark about
family finances or feels the need to control everything related to
money, it may be time to speak up. Christine K. Clifford,
CEO/President ofDivorcing Divas, suggests you say, “I want to be aware
of our debt, our monthly bills, the balance on our mortgage, how many
savings/checking accounts we have, etc.” Clifford explains, “If your
spouse objects, it’s time to see a counselor.”
Sign 6: Kids.
Yes, children are a blessing, but they can also add stress to your
marriage, especially if the two of you are not a united front.
Clifford suggests seeking counseling if you disagree with each other’s
parenting styles and frequently argue about how your children should
be raised. “Think Katie Holmes — and how she doesn’t want Suri raised
as a Scientologist,” states Clifford. “These are major issues that
need to be resolved.”
Sign 7: You Still Love Your Spouse.
If you still love your spouse, really want to make things work, and
haven’t been successful, then consider finding a counselor. Dr. Gurner
also stresses the point that you need to seek advice before things
escalate and you truly despise the other person. “Be a proactive
couple who strives to solve issues before they tear at the fabric of
your deepest bonds of trust and intimacy.”