No one enters into a marriage thinking that it is bound to grow cumbersome; we do not plan on taking each other for granted. However reality is that a substantial number of marriages lose their luster and become an uphill battle. Somewhere, somehow, with the pressures of raising children, a stressful job, and providing for family, the initial spark of marriage is lost and marriage becomes another painful chore.
Here are 10 signs to be apprised of when a marriage counselor can prove to be beneficial to ignite the spark in your marriage again.
- When you are newly married and want a good start:
Seeing a counselor does not always indicate a bad marriage. We do not have to wait till our marriages fall apart to see a counselor. Counseling is preventive just as much as it is curative. Seeing a marriage counselor is highly recommended especially if one missed the opportunity to attend pre-marital counseling. Counselors can help couples get to know each other better and gain a better insight into strengths to create a meaningful marriage.
- When you are not fighting but not communicating either:
You may not be bickering nor having petty fights, but when couples feel like they are not getting through to each other; it is a good idea to visit a marriage counselor.
- When there are ongoing fights about the same issues repeatedly:
Not being able to resolve a particular issue and move on can be exhausting. Compromising on issues, without being heard and validated can cause resentment and bitterness. It is imperative to talk about these issues with a marriage counselor who can offer unbiased help to both parties.
- When you feel like you are alone in the marriage:
Feeling alone in a marriage and feeling emotional neglect can be roadblocks to connect with one another and grow in the relationship. A marriage counselor can help to navigate through this period of loneliness, heartache and confusion.
- When there is an attraction to someone else or an emotional affair:
There will be moments when we wonder whether we married the right person or don’t understand what happened to the person we married. Sometimes, we also will come across people who find more attractive, smarter, and well-mannered than our own spouses. However, if the attraction is nurtured or even squelched, it can lead to unhappiness and frustration. Explore with a marriage counselor about where these feelings sprouted from. This could even be traced to some lack in your relationship that can easily be rectified.
- When one feels low or inferior to the other person:
Feelings of inadequacy, inferiority and low self-esteem can affect one’s own mental state as well as that of the other person in the relationship. When we nurture these attitudes, not only do we act from a negative place, but sometimes, our own inferiority is projected onto our spouse. This kind of projection is generated from thinking that our partner also holds the same low opinion about as we do. The danger in this is that we begin to react negatively to them by operating from a place of anger and jealousy, withholding affection; we put up defenses and resist being open and vulnerable in the relationship. It is recommended to talk to a counselor and find out where these feelings originate from. Chances are that these feelings have been embedded in our unconscious minds from our childhood.
- When there is infidelity or even suspected infidelity:
This can be pretty hard to digest and come to terms with. However, there is no beating around the bush with this one: infidelity hurts and it breaks. It breaks the cord of marriage, hearts and trust. Counseling is vital to the resolution of this crucial matter and in navigating through the negative effects. Counseling is a safe place where you can validate your fears and doubts, and help you persevere through this difficult time.
- When the other person wants to leave or wants a divorce:
It is not easy to experience a decline or stagnancy in a relationship. More often than not, it is difficult to put a finger on the one thing that has led to this point.The process is not always evident, it starts slowly and often unnoticed it creeps in to widen the gap. Whether you think you have reached your limit and cannot move toward progress, or whether you want to push through and work it out, it is imperative to voice out your concerns with an empathetic counselor for closure and move along to the path of recovery. However, I would advise against going to a counselor who is not proactive about moving you to work out the marriage relationship, as marriage is an institution ordained to flourish and to be committed to. It is highly recommended to seek professional intervention before calling the shots to part ways in order to further explore choices and the outcome of those choices, even if your spouse is not ready to seek counseling.
- When there is physical abuse:
Physical abuse in any relationship is unacceptable and help has to be sought to end violence and avoid future recurrence. A person in an abusive relationship would need help in dealing with anger, guilt, sadness, anxiety, and so many other emotions that surface. Counseling could also offer direction and active support in dealing with the abuser, and with psychological issues associated with physical abuse in a healthy way and in learning to protect themselves in such an environment.
- When your sex life has shifted significantly:
This can still be a pretty uncomfortable topic to talk about in the therapy room with a counselor or with anyone else for that matter; nevertheless, it is an important issue to address. It is common to have one’s sex life taper off once in a while, but if there is a significant decrease in your sex life, it is time to shed your inhibitions and talk openly about it to your counselor.
Every relationship takes a good amount of energy, time and effort to make it work. Counseling is a quest to illumine the spark, expand each other’s world, and help each other experience the joy of sharing life adventures together. Counseling is also a great place to work on ourselves as well. Go ahead, be brave and give it a try. You have more to gain than you have to lose and in the best case scenario, you will have come out with healthy coping mechanisms, greater awareness, more clarity and hopefully, rekindled romance with your spouse.