No matter what stage you are in your relationship, seeking help from a reputable, experienced therapist specializing in couples counseling is a wise investment.
Whether you are newlywed or empty-nester, or in a blended family or living in a multi-generation household, or facing major life transition or welcoming a new baby — a grounded relationship can
Often, a professional counselor can help you resolve issues that you cannot do on your own. This is especially true if the relationship has drained you emotionally and finding solutions is difficult, if not impossible.
Across the United States — from North Chicagoland to Colorado Springs to San Francisco’s Bay Area*** — partners seeking couples counseling are finding that therapists trained in couples work can help strengthen their relationships and make marriages last forever.
Empirically-based couples therapy (counseling based on research and data) created positive changes for 70% of couples and these changes were lasting, according to a 2012 article in the “Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.”
Consider these six reasons to seek couples counseling and save your marriage or relationship.
1. Every conversation is an argument.
Partners have two different mindsets, so it is natural they will disagree from time to time.
“Disagreeing/ or fighting with your partner is a normal part of any relationship,” said Terri A. Ammirati, LCPC, a couples counselor in Chicago, Illinois. “It is how the couple manage differences and deal with them in the aftermath that is key to whether or not the relationship will lasting, happy and stable.”
Research conducted by The Gottman Institute studied how successful couples process regrettable incidents and address the underlying issues of fights.
If every conversation seems to turn into an argument, then there is a likelihood of an underlying issue either within the relationship or on a personal level within one or both partners.
It is time to see a couples therapist, preferably one with Gottman Method training who can help you understand and acquire the skills to deal with the aftermath of a fight. Most importantly, a trained therapist can help you address and resolve the underlying issues.
2. Relationship problems are affecting other relationships negatively.
When your relationship is without strife, everything else in life is rosy. Same is true when you are in a relationship in crises. Do you find yourself growing increasingly frustrated with other family members, friends and colleagues? Are tensions at home filtering into your workplace? Are your children having problems at school?
If so, then get your relationship back on track. Find a couples counseling method that is proven to help heal and rejuvenate relationships.
3. Either partner has mentioned divorce.
The time to seek professional help is before conflicts have reach a point of discussions on divorce. In fact, pre-marital counseling is the best time for meeting with a couples therapist. Unfortunately, the stigma of therapy dissuades couples from seeking marriage counseling.
If either or both partners are thinking of a separation or divorce, then the couple should seek a qualified couples counselor.
Unfortunately, only 37% of divorced couples worked with a professional prior to dissolving their marriage, according to a 2001 survey by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. A more recent article (March 2020), published by marriage.com, put the rate of divorcing couples seeking therapy at a dismal 10%.
The mentioning of divorce as an empty threat or serious suggestion can change the whole outlook of the relationship and cause critical consequences. Under these circumstances, couples should seek couples counseling and prevent their relationships from falling apart.
4. Staying together for the sake of the children.
A couple who is stays together because of their children should seek counseling sessions. Some therapists specialize in couples work, trauma, divorce, and/or mediation. One group, DRI Alliance for Marriage and Divorce Counseling***, includes therapists who are trained in helping couples preserve their marriage where possible or find a safe landing for their children when a marriage is ending.
Tensions in the marriage are detrimental to children and their future relationships. Couples counselors can help couples strengthen compassion, improve family bonds and resolve issues in a healthy way.
5. Struggling with intimacy.
Lack of intimacy is one of the top reasons for seeing a couples therapist, said Caralee Frederic, LCSW, owner of Principle Skills Relationship Center, a couples counseling group in Colorado.***
“Most couples have not learned how to appropriately talk about their bodies, desires and fantasies,” Frederic said.
Couples therapy sessions can be a safe way to talk about sexual needs and become educated on intimacy anorexia***, a condition in which physical or emotional intimacy is withheld.
Intimacy is one of the top reasons for divorce, according to a 2019 report published by the “Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy.” In the report, the top response, answered by 47% of participants, was a lack of love or intimacy, either because one or both partners fell out of love.
6. Respect has left the room.
How you and your partner treat each other is indicative of the health of the relationship. Saying something hurtful to each other while arguing, being unwilling to listen to your partner, or not valuing your partner’s perspective are signs of a lack of respect in the relationship.
An experienced couples therapist provides guidance in helping couples gain the skills to communicate effectively. Counseling sessions can help you learn to be heard, to hear and respond, as well as learn what to do and not do when you are flooded with emotions.
Relationship experts recommend couples find certified and licensed counselors whose methods are back by research on marital communication rather than a counselor who relies on pseudo-psychology or trends of the day.
Bio: Sunny Skousen’s aim as a Professional Content Curator is to engage and influence her audience with thoughtful and research-based blogs. She specializes in writing about Couples Therapy, Family Therapy, Faith-Based Counseling, Anxiety Disorders, Mood Disorders, Grief/Loss and Trauma, and more!