When Is It Time to See a Marriage Counselor?
Happily ever after is the way most fairy tales end, but it doesn’t always exist in a marriage without hard work by both spouses. Fairy tales typically conclude with the prince and princess marrying. The reader never witnesses their struggles within the pages of the book.
Every marriage is a work in progress, with varying levels of conflict. When a couple feels they can no longer handle the struggles alone, there are supportive marital counselors who can offer new viewpoints to help resolve conflict.
Living as Roommates
The couple who only co-exists within the home are living as roommates, according to Donna M. White, LMHC, CACP, of PsychCentral.com. Once there is no communication or intimacy, it’s time to seek professional assistance to help rebuild or strengthen bonds.
This roommate dilemma sometimes occurs when one or both partners work outside the home and are too exhausted at the end of the day to acknowledge each other’s existence. Taking at least 10 minutes each day to honor the marriage is a critical, worthwhile investment.
Share a cup of tea, talk about daily events or just hold hands while watching TV. Remember that your spouse is much more than a roommate.
Staying Together for the Children
Children are very intuitive and know when Mom and Dad are struggling or truly don’t like each other. Kids often internalize these feelings and develop inner conflicts leading to depression or lower grades in school, according to PsychCentral.com.
It is not fair to a child to live with parents who no longer love or respect each other. A counselor can help a couple decide if a marriage is worth saving and if the couple can do the hard work to save the marriage.
When a child is involved, the process becomes more difficult since that child needs to understand that he’s not the cause of the problems.
Too Much Fighting
No marriage is perfect, and disagreements are expected. When fighting is constant and seems to escalate, help is needed to resolve the conflicts. When done in a constructive way, fighting is healthy, according to Aaron Cooper, a psychologist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University.
The goal of therapy is to help couples resolve conflicts in positive ways, without belittling each other. Counseling may not get rid of the problem totally, but it can make the situation easier to deal with by providing communication tools.
The Couple Wants to Separate
There’s a quote, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” This applies to couples in healthy, committed relationships. Once a couple has decided that separation is the only answer, absence may make the conflicts larger.
The couple should make every attempt to save the marriage, including seeking counseling, before separation is discussed. Sometimes a break could help, but shouldn’t turn into overnight absences and temporary separations.
If the partner does return home, the conflict remains unresolved if the couple doesn’t have the tools to fix it.