Identifying Issues & Ways to Improve Your Marriage
1. You or Your Partner Have Become Indifferent
Most people think the antonym of love is hate. However, hate still conveys a sense of passion, a sense of caring. Therefore, the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference.
If you or your spouse have gotten to a point in your relationship where you no longer care enough to fight or argue, couple counseling might be necessary. This includes:
Not caring when your spouse is upset
Rolling over on issues instead of expressing your beliefs
Not desiring to spend time with the other
Not caring if your sex life is struggling
Being indifferent to infidelity (yours or theirs)
Living separate lives that hardly intersect
Not knowing where your spouse is and not caring
A general disinterest in their life
2. Almost All Communication Is Negative or Leads to Fights
As suggested above, indifference can be a sign that you need marriage therapy. However, too much passion can also be a negative thing. Like a fire, passion burning out of control can be devastating.
For example, if you and your spouse struggle to get along because every conversation leads to arguments or fights, it’s likely indicative of a severe breakdown in communication. This can lead to one or both partners being overly sensitive, getting defensive, or acting from a place of hurt when there’s no reason for it.
This type of dysfunctional interaction can make genuine communication and progress nearly impossible. A competent therapist may be able to help you and your partner learn how to recover from a bad fight, and how to have more productive communication.
3. You or Your Partner Lies or Keeps Secrets
Counseling for relationships may also be necessary when people start keeping secrets from one another. While total honesty should be the goal of every marriage, there is an unspoken rule about acceptable white lies. For example, a wife can tell her husband his thinning hair is hardly noticeable and a husband can tell his wife she hasn’t aged a day in 10 years.
However, when couples start lying to one another or keeping secrets about things of significance, it could convey a larger problem in the relationship. It could mean you no longer trust your partner with certain information or feelings, that you’re doing something you shouldn’t, or that you don’t care enough anymore to share things with them.
4. Your Relationship Lacks Intimacy
All couples struggle to maintain the same level of physical intimacy after the first few years of marriage. It’s totally normal. However, if you struggle to be intimate with your spouse at all, or feel a lack of intimacy from them, it may be time to find a marriage counselor.
If there’s a lack of intimacy that both people are aware of and are concerned about, counseling can help you fan the flames of your relationship to get things back on track.
5. You View One Another as the Antagonist
Another important indicator that you need marriage therapy is if you or your partner view the other as the “bad guy” or antagonist. In general, humans have a tendency to adopt an “us versus them” mentality, constantly differentiating ourselves from others.
A healthy marriage can’t operate that way. You and your spouse need to embrace that you’re in the relationship together, regardless of blame. You’re a team, not rivals.
6. You or Your Partner Have Been Unfaithful
Infidelity in a relationship can be an incredibly difficult hurdle to get over. It’s a violation of trust that may not be earned back so easily. However, unfaithful partners rarely act without reason. While we don’t encourage or condone infidelity, both partners must understand that it’s often the result of a breakdown in the marriage. This could mean sexually, yes, but it could also be emotional. For example, men who don’t feel respected by their wives are more prone to infidelity, as are women who don’t feel cherished by their husbands. But the number one factor leading to infidelity is loneliness.
7. You Find Yourselves Having the Same Argument Over and Over Again
There are big-ticket issues in any relationship. Often they stem from emotional baggage, sometimes from before the relationship began. However, they can also be caused by the actions of a spouse in the relationship.
Some issues for couples will be perpetual. Couples will fight over these issues throughout a marriage. The key is respect, understanding and humor, as these issues are connected to core values, personality and temperament, which will not change.
Other issues can be solvable and require good compromise skills from each partner. Often a couple will need to seek marriage therapy for help to differentiate between solvable and perpetual issues and to learn the appropriate skills to master each.
8. You or Your Partner Are Being Dishonest About Finances
Finally, while it may not seem like a big deal, hiding, lying, or keeping secrets about finances is a major sign of distress in a relationship. Financial infidelity is a real thing and being dishonest about how you’re spending money is a serious issue.
In younger relationships with separate bank accounts, it’s relatively accepted that each person can do what they wish with their finances once all the joint bills and expenses are accounted for. However, when couples share bank accounts, making secret purchases isn’t fair to the other partner.
This includes taking out credit cards, opening bank accounts, and applying for loans without the other’s knowledge. This issue can be tricky because it may be partly a perpetual issue and partly a solvable issue, and often therapy services are needed to determine how to approach the problem.
Do You Need Marriage Therapy?
After reading this article, you might have a further understanding of your relationship issues and whether or not you need marriage therapy. If so, remember, there’s no shame in working hard and seeking help to fix or improve your marriage.
We’re here for you. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you and your spouse. We look forward to helping you improve your life and your relationship.
Ways to improve your Marriage
Communication: This may seem obvious but it’s one of the key elements in any kind of interaction that many couples struggle with. When sharing your thoughts, feelings, and dreams with your spouse, you begin to create an intimacy that no other aspect can build. Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts with them. Show them that you want them to know everything going on in your life, even something as mundane as your day at work. You must also be willing to listen whenever your partner shares something with you. Communication is not a one-way street. Show them that you genuinely care about what they have to say.
Expect Changes and Accept them: There are different stages in relationships couples go through and during those stages, emotions, feelings and even expectations change. Some of these changes will be necessary and healthy in a relationship. For example, early on in your marriage your emotions are on fire and this fire is going to dimmer as time passes by. These changes are natural and you could find different ways to create interest by making an effort to get to know others interest and hobbies.
Show Interest in their Interests: Just because you are now married does not mean that you and your spouse have to share every interest with each other. You are both still your own separate beings with your own unique personalities. However, you can still enjoy the time spent engaging in one of their interests. Open yourself up to doing things you wouldn’t do on your own. You may not actually enjoy the activity or interest in general, but you may find that you just enjoy spending these moments with your partner and watching them get excited and geek out about something they are passionate about.
Love the Way They Love to Be Loved: Yes, there are ways that you can show your spouse that you love them, from just saying you love them to doing something nice for them without being asked. However, everyone is different, and everyone has a way of being loved that best fits who they are as an individual. Gary Chapman wrote a book discussing The 5 Love Languages, suggesting that there are five distinct ways in which individuals give and receive love. Learning which one best suit your spouse is a crucial key to loving them how they wish to be.
Be Happy on Your Own: Even though you both made a commitment to love and to serve each other for the rest of your lives, it is important to make sure that you are happy on your own and that you love yourself. You cannot properly love another if you don’t properly love yourself. It is not fair to put all of your problems onto your partner. This can create resentment and strain on your relationship. Some things need to be settled by you. This is not to say never go to your spouse in times of duress, but you need to know when there’s a problem you can handle it on your own. When you both come together as two happy individuals, the love that you share as a couple can become stronger.
Marriages can be incredibly difficult. Yes, they are fun and exciting, but they can also become stagnant and lacking. You have to step back and analyze where you need to focus your time and energy into your relationship to sustain a loving, long marriage. If you and your spouse need help to rekindle that spark you once had, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have about marriage counseling.
Staying in a long-term, committed relationship is one of the most difficult things human beings demand of themselves. When you live hand-in-hand with another person, disagreements, arguments, and fights are inevitable. The question is, is your relationship important enough to you and your spouse to weather the storm?
For 45 percent of first marriages, 60 percent of second marriages, and 73 percent of third marriages, the answer is no. However, marriage doesn’t have to end in divorce, regardless of your differences. With marriage therapy, couples can learn to resolve their issues, communicate better, and recapture the spark that once lit the flames of their love.
The key is understanding that every long-term relationship or marriage takes a substantial amount of work and dedication on both sides. When you’re in a committed relationship, your life is no longer just about you. You and your spouse become a single entity that thrives on giving and receiving.
If your marriage is struggling, however, marriage counseling therapy may be your only hope of moving forward as a couple. Keep reading for nine telltale signs you need marriage counseling.