Going to marital therapy doesn’t mean the marriage will survive…but it can mean you have a fighting chance.
There are times in everyone’s life when we know we need to reach out for help. If you’re sick, you go to the doctor to get better. Sometimes it’s not as easy to tell if your marriage is “sick” and needs a doctor to help it get “well” again. Marital therapy can make or break a marriage but, if your marriage is sick, it’s worth your time and effort.
Here are ten signs you might need a marital “check up”.
1. If every discussion turns into WW3. Sometimes, the simplest things turn ugly…fast. But when every SINGLE discussion begins or ends with a screaming match, it’s time to re-evaluate and involve a third party. If nothing more than to mediate.
2. If your sex life isn’t pleasing to one (or both) of you. Every couple goes through ebbs and flows of sex in a relationship. But when the sex becomes colder than a Bud Light at a Pats game…or non-existent – it’s time to find out why.
3. When one spouse finds a “friend” of the opposite sex outside the marriage. A dear friend of mine called me to tell me her husband had met a “friend” on his Saturday morning bike ride. A few weeks went by and they started meeting every Saturday at Starbucks after their rides. She was so furious and talking to him was like hitting her head on a brick wall. If it’s affecting your marriage…get a neutral party’s opinion.
4. When one of you isn’t pulling their weight. Like…all the time. If your husband (or wife) suddenly decides to quit their job, stop contributing to the household and let you carry the weight of the responsibility – it’s a major sign of withdrawal form the marriage. Counseling might give them a safe place to open up about what’s behind the behavior.
5. If resentment has built to the point of hatred. Let’s be honest, all of us (at one time or another) has given the “death stare” to our spouse for something or the other. But when the death stare is your resting expression…it’s time to find out if that resentment can be cleared…or if it’s time to clear the bench and start again.
6. If the occasional “joke” about one spouse’s behavior has turned into a running cruel diatribe. No one likes to be picked on, and what’s worse…by the one person who’s supposed to defend them no matter what. So if one partner feels “picked on”, time to get a counselor involved to see if there’s truth to the statement.
7. When you’re living like you’re two single people. You got married to do things together; to witness each other’s accomplishments and defeats. But when you don’t re-connect, you’ve become two strangers sharing an address. If you don’t know how to re-connect with your spouse…or if you don’t have cooperation on re-connecting, you need someone else to guide you through the process.
8. When one of you feels sad or abandoned in the relationship. This is a big one because sometimes it can actually be a sign of a bigger, deeper issue. It’s common for depression to manifest in a lot of ways, including marital discord. Getting a counselor involved can clarify things and maybe shed a little light on what’s behind those feelings.
9. If one (or both) of you are having an affair outside the marriage…or even just thinking about it. I’ve said it before…we’re not talking about the fleeting “oh, he’s hot” kind of thoughts. We’re talking about more than the harmless flirtation at the company Christmas party. Affairs destroy marriages. And…for the record? You don’t have to sleep with someone for it to qualify as an affair. If you “fall in love” (even online) with someone else WHILST STILL MARRIED? Yeah…it’s cheating. Get help before it destroys what you’ve worked so hard to build.
10. If you believe your marriage is actually “holding you back” from being happy. There are periods when all of us can’t do things for whatever reason when we’re married. But when it becomes a much bigger issue and careers are being ruined or dreams are stifled – it’s time to find someone who can explore ways to constructively deal with that.
It’s so important to realize when your marriage in trouble. But it takes two people to save it. Going to marital therapy doesn’t mean the marriage will survive…but it can mean you have a fighting chance.