Are you and your partner not seeing eye to eye on much anymore? Find out in this guide whether it’s time for marriage therapy and get that spark back.
Staying in a long-term, committed relationship is one of the most difficult things human beings demand of themselves. When you live hand-in-hand with another person, disagreements, arguments, and fights are inevitable. The question is, is your relationship important enough to you and your spouse to weather the storm?
For 45 percent of first marriages, 60 percent of second marriages, and 73 percent of third marriages, the answer is no. However, marriage doesn’t have to end in divorce, regardless of your differences. With marriage therapy, couples can learn to resolve their issues, communicate better, and recapture the spark that once lit the flames of their love.
The key is understanding that every long-term relationship or marriage takes a substantial amount of work and dedication on both sides. When you’re in a committed relationship, your life is no longer just about you. You and your spouse become a single entity that thrives on giving and receiving.
If your marriage is struggling, however, marriage counseling therapy may be your only hope of moving forward as a couple. Keep reading for nine telltale signs you need marriage counseling.
1. You or Your Partner Have Become Indifferent
Most people think the antonym of love is hate. However, hate still conveys a sense of passion, a sense of caring. Therefore, the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference.
If you or your spouse have gotten to a point in your relationship where you no longer care enough to fight or argue, couple counseling might be necessary. This includes:
- Not caring when your spouse is upset
- Rolling over on issues instead of expressing your beliefs
- Not desiring to spend time with the other
- Not caring if your sex life is struggling
- Being indifferent to infidelity (yours or theirs)
- Living separate lives that hardly intersect
- Not knowing where your spouse is and not caring
- A general disinterest in their life
2. Almost All Communication Is Negative or Leads to Fights
As suggested above, indifference can be a sign that you need marriage therapy. However, too much passion can also be a negative thing. Like a fire, passion burning out of control can be devastating.
For example, if you and your spouse struggle to get along because every conversation leads to arguments or fights, it’s likely indicative of a severe breakdown in communication. This can lead to one or both partners being overly sensitive, getting defensive, or acting from a place of hurt when there’s no reason for it.
This type of dysfunctional interaction can make genuine communication and progress nearly impossible. A competent therapist may be able to help you and your partner learn how to recover from a bad fight, and how to have more productive communication.
3. You or Your Partner Lies or Keeps Secrets
Counseling for relationships may also be necessary when people start keeping secrets from one another. While total honesty should be the goal of every marriage, there is an unspoken rule about acceptable white lies. For example, a wife can tell her husband his thinning hair is hardly noticeable and a husband can tell his wife she hasn’t aged a day in 10 years.
However, when couples start lying to one another or keeping secrets about things of significance, it could convey a larger problem in the relationship. It could mean you no longer trust your partner with certain information or feelings, that you’re doing something you shouldn’t, or that you don’t care enough anymore to share things with them.
4. Your Relationship Lacks Intimacy
All couples struggle to maintain the same level of physical intimacy after the first few years of marriage. It’s totally normal. However, if you struggle to be intimate with your spouse at all, or feel a lack of intimacy from them, it may be time to find a marriage counselor.
If there’s a lack of intimacy that both people are aware of and are concerned about, counseling can help you fan the flames of your relationship to get things back on track.
5. You View One Another as the Antagonist
Another important indicator that you need marriage therapy is if you or your partner view the other as the “bad guy” or antagonist. In general, humans have a tendency to adopt an “us versus them” mentality, constantly differentiating ourselves from others.
A healthy marriage can’t operate that way. You and your spouse need to embrace that you’re in the relationship together, regardless of blame. You’re a team, not rivals.
6. You or Your Partner Have Been Unfaithful
Infidelity in a relationship can be an incredibly difficult hurdle to get over. It’s a violation of trust that may not be earned back so easily. However, unfaithful partners rarely act without reason.
While we don’t encourage or condone infidelity, both partners must understand that it’s often the result of a breakdown in the marriage. This could mean sexually, yes, but it could also be emotional. For example, men who don’t feel respected by their wives are more prone to infidelity, as are women who don’t feel cherished by their husbands.s But the number one factor leading to infidelity is loneliness.
7. You Find Yourselves Having the Same Argument Over and Over Again
There are big-ticket issues in any relationship. Often they stem from emotional baggage, sometimes from before the relationship began. However, they can also be caused by the actions of a spouse in the relationship.
Some issues for couples will be perpetual. Couples will fight over these issues throughout a marriage. The key is respect, understanding and humor, as these issues are connected to core values, personality and temperament, which will not change.
Other issues can be solvable and require good compromise skills from each partner. Often a couple will need to seek marriage therapy for help to differentiate between solvable and perpetual issues and to learn the appropriate skills to master each.
8. You or Your Partner Are Being Dishonest About Finances
Finally, while it may not seem like a big deal, hiding, lying, or keeping secrets about finances is a major sign of distress in a relationship. Financial infidelity is a real thing and being dishonest about how you’re spending money is a serious issue.
In younger relationships with separate bank accounts, it’s relatively accepted that each person can do what they wish with their finances once all the joint bills and expenses are accounted for. However, when couples share bank accounts, making secret purchases isn’t fair to the other partner.
This includes taking out credit cards, opening bank accounts, and applying for loans without the other’s knowledge. This issue can be tricky because it may be partly a perpetual issue and partly a solvable issue, and often therapy services are needed to determine how to approach the problem.
Do You Need Marriage Therapy?
After reading this article, you might have a further understanding of your relationship issues and whether or not you need marriage therapy. If so, remember, there’s no shame in working hard and seeking help to fix or improve your marriage.
I’m here for you. Contact me today to learn more about what we can do for you and your spouse. I look forward to helping you improve your life and your relationship.