October 14, 2013
by Casey Truffo, LMFT
There's no doubt; marriage is challenging. Nearly every newly married couple is excited and elated about their nuptials, and rightfully so. You are extremely smitten with your spouse and you are excited about creating a new life together. So what happens in the years following your wedding that causes so many couples to become unhappy and ready to throw in the towel? The first thing that happens is reality sets in. You go back to the "real world" after returning from your honeymoon. You return to your job and everything else it takes to run a household, such as grocery shopping, cooking, paying bills, cleaning, doing yard work. Sometimes when reality sets in and the "honeymoon is over", people really struggle with the commitment to being married and the time it takes to ensure your spouse knows how you feel about them, as a person, sexually, and as a partner in life and in realizing your common dreams.
So, how do you know that your if your marriage is going through a rough time or if you're dealing with something more devastating and permanent? Marriage Counseling can be a godsend for couples struggling in their relationships. If you have hit a brick wall in trying to work things out between the two of you, it may be time to seek counseling. There are definite signs to knowing when you should at least start talking about finding a marriage counselor in order to get through the rough patches.
- You No Longer Communicate - You are married, you go through the motions, and you have become more like roommates than a married couple. You speak to each other, only when necessary, and mostly about the kids, who is responsible for the chores this week, who will pick up the groceries or dry cleaning, and what is needed to pay your monthly bills.
- Your Sex Life Changes Dramatically - If there is a loss of intimacy, there are problems somewhere. If there is an increase in intimacy, there are problems somewhere as well. Loss of intimacy tends to mean there are unspoken issues and quite possibly, one spouse has no idea what those issues are. On the other hand, if your spouse is wanting to make passionate love to you every day and wants to try new positions, there are probably issues as well. In that case, your spouse may be feeling aroused by things that are not originating from you.
- Ongoing Issues - If you have had the same issue in your relationship from the start and have tried to work things out and agree on an outcome, but the same issue comes up time after time, you should seek counseling. Ongoing issues can lead to divorce very quickly, or the issue can build and build, causing tension and bad feelings for years to come.
- Finances - Disagreements over how to save money or how to spend money are one of the top reasons couples find themselves in constant conflict. If all of a sudden your spouse feels the need to control the entire budget, it may be time to say something. If you are being kept in the dark about family finances all of a sudden, there is a reason for this shift.
- Unfortunate, Devastating Life Events - If there has been a traumatic event in your marriage, such as an affair, a miscarriage, or loss of a child, and one or both partners are struggling with letting go, it is time for counseling. Many times, especially within the case of losing a child, people tend to blame themselves, or their spouse for the occurrence. This is never healthy. Counseling can help you talk through the issues and blame and work towards a shared understanding.
- Kids - Children are miracles and nothing short of blessings, but having kids can add stress to your marriage, especially if you are not unified in your parenting styles. One parent is always the "hard" parent, and the other the "soft". Kids know this and will play this to their advantage. It is essential that both parents are unified in decisions and support each other in childrearing decisions.
- You Still Love Your Spouse - There is a difference between loving your spouse and being in love with your spouse. Many struggling couples find that although they love their spouse (maybe for their parenting skills, their selflessness in putting the rest of the family above their own needs, or their role as a provider in working to support their family's wants and needs) they are no longer "in love" with their spouse. This is a good time to start speaking with your spouse about counseling. If you wait until you truly despise your spouse, it's probably going to be too late.
Going through life being unhappy is never productive. Many times couples are aware that something is wrong, and they may even know what is wrong. The problem is, they don't know how to fix it. Marriage counseling takes a commitment from both spouses in order to get through the issues and create a better, stronger marriage. As times go by in your marriage, you will see that sometimes it's just not worth it to argue about in-laws, how much money is spent on grocery shopping, or how many times a week you want to have sex. Marriage Counseling can help in so many ways.
Typically when a couple first attends marriage counseling, each individual spouse blames the other for the problems. However, both spouses create the climate of the relationship; both spouses put distress into the relationship; and both spouses need to do things differently to create the marriage they both want. Conflict is the start of growth, and it can go in a positive direction or a negative direction. Take the time and commit to marriage counseling when things get tough. You may develop a stronger relationship than you ever had with your spouse.
And remember, you were head over heels in love with your spouse at one time. You chose your spouse. Shouldn't you do whatever it takes to get your marriage back on track? The counselors at OC Relationship Center are here to help. Give us a call today at 949-220-3211 or book your appointment via our online calendar, and get your relationship back on track.