9 REASONS TO SEEK RELATIONSHIP OR MARRIAGE COUNSELLING
How do you know it’s time for relationship counselling?
If your relationship is on the rocks, it’s often difficult to admit it – let alone take action. You might tell yourself it’s normal. It’s only temporary. Things will get better when your financial situation improves or a stressful scenario resolves.
When married or in a long-term relationship, it’s normal to experience some conflict and endure some difficult periods. However, the way we manage and navigate through these situations can be crucial in how well you bounce back and return to the happy functioning couple you once were.
So when is it time to seek counselling?
The fear of counselling
For many couples, counselling can feel mysterious and confusing. The idea of sharing intimate personal details about yourself and the relationship can feel daunting and a little overwhelming.
It’s considered a big step. And yes, it’s a process that takes a lot of effort with the scheduling and financial aspects. In instances where only one party is interested in seeking assistance, it can be difficult to convince their partner to participate.
Relationship counselling is best when both parties attend, however individual relationship counselling can be just as helpful if one party isn’t keen.
The alternative of counselling might be separation or divorce – and this is often feared more. With 50% of marriages ending in divorce, relationship therapy could be the key to saving your marriage.
9 reasons to seek relationship or marriage counselling
If you’re unsure whether counselling would suit your current situation, read through some common issues below.
1. You’re experiencing communication issues
Do you find yourselves arguing all the time or not talking for days?
Maybe you’re feeling undervalued or underappreciated. Or don’t understand what’s going on in your partner’s world and how they’re feeling emotionally.
Either way, these can all be signs of a breakdown in communication.
If you feel your communication levels need some improvement, seeking support from a relationship counsellor can be vital. It can help you to understand any underlying issues and/or unhelpful patterns that are getting in the way of maintaining a healthy connection.
2. Your trust has been broken
If one of you has had an affair or been deceptive in any way, you’re likely to be experiencing a significant amount of hurt and distrust. Trust is vital for a healthy relationship. Without it, relationships can become unhappy, often leaving a trail of further damage and heartache if no repair is made.
Learning how to trust one another again can be a slow and painful process – and hard to do alone. Counselling can provide a safe forum to express vulnerability, explore the betrayal, and consider the possibility of rebuilding trust and finding a way forward.
3. You feel like roommates
After being in a relationship for a long time, it can be hard to keep the spark alive. You get caught up in the daily to-do list and find yourself caught up in work and the kids – and forget to spend quality intimate time together. As a result, it’s not uncommon to feel like your partner is more like a roommate, than a soul mate.
If you feel like you’ve disconnected in recent months, sometimes prioritising a regular date night or putting some time aside for each other can make a big difference. But if you’ve been quietly growing apart or changing in incompatible ways for some time, counselling can help you pinpoint what’s missing and work out a way to reconnect again.
4. You’re only staying together for the children
While you might be willing to stay in an unhappy relationship for the sake of your kids, it can actually be detrimental to them and their wellbeing. Especially if there’s a lot of conflict and tension in the household. Children are very intuitive and will often know when trouble is brewing or sense unhappiness.
Seeing a relationship counsellor can help you recognise if your relationship is salvageable. It some instances, everyone might be healthier if you live apart. But therapy can help you to discover if there is any love left and find ways to strengthen it. Therapy can also be helpful in mediation and in working towards an amicable separation, if that’s the direction the relationship lands.
5. You’ve been through a difficult change or life event.
If you’ve experienced a major setback in life, such as a loss of a loved one, unemployment, or a health crisis, it can be hard to keep your relationship intact. The emotional turmoil can be hard to deal with, and you may find the stressors start to overflow onto each other.
A relationship therapist can help you to strengthen your bond and equip you with the tools and supportive practices to get through the difficult period together.
6. You’re about to get married
If you’re about to tie the knot, your mind is probably swimming with thoughts about the future. How will we manage finances? Are children going to be a part of our life?
Pre-marital counselling provides the opportunity to start the conversation about everything in your world as a married couple.
7. You’re experiencing sexual issues
Issues in your sex life can be both a symptom and cause of relationship problems. Sometimes there’s a sudden drop in frequency. Other times, intimacy has slowly taken a back step with one or both parties feeling unsatisfied.
An occasional sexual rut is normal. But it’s not always healthy to stay in one. It can lead to all kinds of challenges for one or both parties. A relationship counsellor can help you understand your sexual desires and intimate concerns and work towards rebuilding a level of intimacy you’re both comfortable with.
8. You’ve become part of a blended family
Do you and/or your partner have children from another relationship? If yes, it can be difficult to work through the boundaries and struggles when starting a co-parenting arrangement.
With the support of a therapist, you can discuss parenting differences, the role of the other parent, and the new identity of the family.
9. Difficulties with extended family, friends, and/or other relationships
As a couple, you’re likely to have relationships with people outside of your partnership. This may include friends, extended family, children, coworkers, and supervisors/bosses/professors, just to name a few.
These relationships might be healthy or unhealthy. Sometimes, you or your partner may feel boundaries have been crossed or toxic people are affecting your relationship. A counsellor can help you deepen your understanding of the situation and work through ways to set healthy boundaries to ease any tension, insecurities, or stress that may be impacting the relationship. This may include exploring concerns around members of the opposite or same sex, how to communicate with exes, how you spend time together as a couple, and when it’s okay to have some alone time.
The journey of finding your way back to a happier and stronger relationship mightn’t always be easy. However, if both people care for one another, are open to compromise, and committed to making changes – a new, and often deeper connection is possible.
Do you need Counselling Support?
If you need counselling support, contact Kylie Lepri for a FREE 15-minute phone call to discuss your situation and find out how she can help. Call us now on 0404 032636 or book your free phone call online.
Kylie Lepri is a registered Psychotherapist, Marriage & Relationship Counsellor, Clinical Supervisor, and Training Consultant. Since 2003 she has helped individuals and couples work through life stressors, develop new goals and create better relationships. Get Kylie’s FREE ebook: 5 Proven Strategies to help manage stress today, by joining her newsletter below.