Couples Counseling: Do We Really Need It?
Couples Counseling: Do We Really Need It?
The longer you wait to start couples counseling, the harder it may be to heal – this is something I usually say to couples who are considering marriage counseling in Raleigh, NC. Statistics shout that couples wait on average eight years before they decide to seek couples therapy. When I ask them, “Why so long?” spouses usually respond they weren’t sure whether they need counseling or not. Many couples believe their relationship problems are just a passing turbulence that will change on its own. Even if things get pretty rough, people tend to talk themselves out of coupes counseling in Raleigh, NC, thinking that things will get better.
So, let me give you a few insights here to help you decide whether you need marriage counseling or not. You should probably get couples therapy if…
1. There Are Long-lasting Unhealthy Patterns
If you look back over years of your relationship and find yourself rehashing the past without getting to resolution. You tried everything and still feel hurt and disconnected. You realize that same ineffective patterns are still there, and nothing you’ve tried so far is leading to a significant change, it’ a red flag that you might need couples therapy. For instance, you are unable to talk about things that bother you in a healthy way. Let’s say your partner always leaves their clothes around the house but you never communicate these things that upset you to your partner without them taking offense. You rather let the annoyance and frustration build up until they explode in an argument or fight.
When you are aware that there are enduring dysfunctional patterns in your relationship that haven’t changed for years, it’s a sign you might benefit from marriage counseling in Raleigh, NC.
2. You Survived Infidelity
If one of you was cheating, you may decide to end your relationship. Many people can’t go over partner’s infidelity, saying that an affair killed trust in a relationship. However, if you decide to forgive and give you marriage another chance, you may struggle with your decision afterwards as you might not know how to forgive in you heart. In this case, marriage counseling can help you move through the anger, disappointment, and pain so you can rebuild your marriage. Without couples therapy after an affair, people usually stay stuck in their cheater/victim roles where one is to blame and the other stays hurt and offended.
Marriage therapy can help you understand how and why the affair happened and avoid endless blaming and shaming game. In addition, counseling after infidelity can help you learn how to communicate and rebuild trust and a better relationship.
3. You’re Turning Against or Away from Each Other’s Bids for Connection
Dr. John Gottman introduced Emotional Bids to explain the dynamic between two people in a close relationship, stating that we regularly send signals that we want attention and positive connection with our partner. According to Dr. Gottman, emotional bids are crucial for your relationships because you make them to build, keep up and rekindle connection.
Turning away from your partner’s bid means that you are constantly missing them. This will reduce your partner’s bids over time. Or even worse, if you keep missing your spouse’s emotional bids, they might decide to make bids for connection outside your marriage.
Similarly, turning against or rejecting your partner’s bids for connection will kill your relationship, Dr. Gottman says. Marriage therapy can help you recognize these patterns and learn how to change them and turn towards each other’s bids for connection instead.
4. You’re Going Through a Relationship Crisis
When someone says ‘infidelity’, we automatically think of sexual infidelity (which undoubtedly is one of the major relationship crisis). However, one of you may have been participating in emotional or financial infidelity as well. These types of relationship crisis are also very difficult for couples to work through on their own. If your feelings have been hurt to the point where productive communication is impossible, with constant arguments and breaks of trust, you may be experiencing toxic marriage crisis and you should consider marriage counseling.
5. You Stopped Talking
If you’re still fighting, you are trying to be heard and get your needs met. Nevertheless, if you don’t talk anymore, you’ve probably beginning to withdraw from the relationship. Couples who have stopped talking have essentially given up on their relationship. However, marriage counseling can help you see the crisis as a growth potential for both you and your partner as individuals and your relationship. Even though you feel hopeless, a good marriage counselor can help you see if there is still hope and willingness to try again and reconnect.
All relationships have ups and downs and that’s normal. However, if you feel that unhealthy patterns have settled in your relationship or you are going through a relationship crisis, couples counseling may be a good place to start understanding what’s wrong and what you can do to reconnect and improve your marriage.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call at (703)-347-3200 for your free of charge 15-min consultation and/or to schedule an appointment in my Wake Forest office or online.