5 Telltale Signs That You Need Couples Counseling
Accepting that you need couples counseling doesn’t mean you’re weak as a couple. It also doesn’t mean that now your marriage or relationship has no room for saving or that it’s over. On the contrary, going to counseling shows that you both still care enough for your relationship and you’re actually willing to do anything to save it.
No marriage is perfect, and you shouldn’t try to be. There may be trying seasons in your marriage where you feel you need the objective help of a third person to bring your relationship back to the right direction. Obviously, you can’t have this from your family and friends, as you wouldn’t want to put your dirty laundry out to the public. The best recourse? Couples counseling. It’s as simple as a few “counseling services near me” searches on the internet so you can start searching for possible counselors you can approach to achieve your goals.
With that said, this post will help you identify some of the telltale signs that should steer you toward couples counseling to save your marriage or relationship.
- You Fight All The Time
A few disagreements or arguments here and there are acceptable. But if you’ve been fighting every day—and, worse, even more than once a day—that’s a sign you need to go to couples counseling. No relationship can ever go on happy if you’re always arguing. In fact, that’s no longer normal. If left that way, you may get used to this habit that you’re creating an unhappy marriage for each other and a toxic home for your children.
You can tell that the fighting is already problematic when you both can’t seem to have a normal conversation without ending up in shouting matches. Going to couples therapy will help you learn how to argue the healthy way, such that you both can get your voice out politely and amicably, without resulting in an unhealthy argument.
Here are some tips you may also want to try out:
- Dodge The Defensive Attitude: When your spouse tries to point out something wrong about you or something they think you’re doing that’s not good for your relationship, be open-minded about it. While your first instinct may be to defend yourself, this attitude may only do more harm than good.
Don’t think of your spouse as someone attacking you; rather, take your conversations constructively. Couples have to learn from each other, and there’s always room to learn from one’s mistakes or weaknesses.
- Calm Down: Don’t react at the heat of the moment. Otherwise, you may be able to throw hurtful words you didn’t mean to say but ended up saying anyway.
If you feel the need to cool down on your own, just step away for a few minutes. If your partner or spouse asks for that time, give it. When you force the conversation when you’re both still heated, doing so may only do more harm than good. Perhaps it may even escalate what would’ve otherwise been a minor disagreement.
- Talk Face To Face: Avoid arguing over the phone or, worse, through messaging apps. If there’s anything serious you both need to discuss with each other, do it face to face.
Text messages are prone to getting misunderstood, and you wouldn’t want that to worsen your argument, rather than help build up or improve the situation. When you talk face to face, the conversations are clearer and you’ll also be able to understand more of what your partner or spouse is trying to say through their body language. There’s very little room for misinterpretation compared to sending text messages.
- You’re No Longer Intimate With Each Other
Intimacy in a relationship refers both to emotional and physical intimacy. One can’t exist without the other, as there’s no “making love” without “love” in it. When you love each other, your intimate moments should come out of love and not one you’re only forced to do. Worse still, you’ve both been avoiding intimacy altogether.
After being in a relationship or marriage for quite a long time, it’s normal for the intimacy to dwindle quite a bit. The same holds true when a baby arrives in your life or when either spouse is going through a difficult time, like the passing of a loved one, for instance.
But if this lack of intimacy goes on a long time, that may be a sign of a deeper issue. A marriage needs both emotional and physical intimacy to survive, and you shouldn’t shy away from talking about this to your counselor.
Along that line, here are some simple ways that may help you both be more intimate toward each other:
- Seek New Experiences: Perhaps you’re not bored with each other, but you’re just bored with the routine that’s now been shaping your life. Why not seek new experiences? When was the last time you both traveled together? Tried out something new? Experiencing something new can strengthen your bond and may also bring back intimacy.
- Hold Hands More Often: Along with hugging and kissing, holding hands could also release oxytocin, which brings a calming sensation to the body. This can also lower your stress levels, which is healthy for both of you.
Who knows? Your partner or spouse might have just been having a tough day at work, and they’ve been holding it back as a way to keep stress from entering your home. If you notice something different in your spouse, it doesn’t cost anything to give them a hug, a kiss, or simply to hold their hand.
When this becomes a habit, you’ll find your relationship getting back stronger, perhaps like how it was when you got together.
- Show Your Love: When was the last time you told your spouse you love them? When was the last time you did anything for your spouse to show you care?
It’s not about buying material things on your anniversary or Valentine’s Day. In fact, these are “sanctioned” occasions where either spouse might feel obliged to do and give something. There’s nothing special when the expectations are there.
The priceless moments are in those mundane little things you do for your spouse, even on normal days. Send them food at work. Ask how their day went. Fill up their car’s gas tank so they’ll no longer have to do this. Find small ways to show and remind your spouse or partner that you care for and love them. These may be little things, but when done consistently, it can bring back the flame that you may have thought was lost.
- You Feel Like You’re Speaking Different Languages
In the early stages of your relationship, you may have had dreams and goals as a couple, and everything centered on you both. But recently, perhaps there are times when it seems you don’t even know each other anymore. He wants to go left, but you want to go right. She wants this, but you want the opposite. You don’t even meet a crossing point anymore.
Counseling can help you understand the differences that may now be going on in your mind, life, and even in your decision-making. And by working through these differences, you’ll learn how to find that common ground just like how it was when went steady.
- You’re Afraid Of Talking With Your Partner
Open communication in any relationship is very important. You shouldn’t have to fear talking to your partner. In fact, if there’s anything you need help with, your partner should be the very first person you’ll talk to.
If this isn’t the case, then couples therapy may also help. Remember that your relationship is a partnership between you both. For it to work, you’ve got to talk openly. Once you fear talking to each other, this might develop into a cycle of keeping your thoughts to yourself or seeking help from other people outside your marriage.
Through couples therapy, you’ll learn how to approach each other again with no fear. Who knows? Because you both haven’t been vocal about your feelings, perhaps your spouse doesn’t even know that you actually feel that way—that you’re fearful. This brand-new sense of awareness can help break down the barriers of hidden emotions which may have been slowly hurting your marriage.
- You’ve Become Indifferent
Becoming indifferent toward each other means you no longer care. You don’t even care enough to listen to what your spouse or partner has to say. Even worse, if you know they’re going through a rough patch, you aren’t there emotionally and physically as well.
Remember, you both promised to be with each other “for better or for worse,” so on the worst days, you shouldn’t be indifferent. As you share in each other’s victories, you should also share in each other’s grief and turmoil. You can tell you’re indifferent toward each other when you’ve noticed these feelings resonate with you both:
- You’ve developed a general disinterest in what goes on in your partner’s life.
- You don’t care when your spouse is upset.
- You no longer desire to spend time with your spouse.
Don’t let these feelings bring you even further away from each other. Your work with your counselor could become the middle ground to glue you back together, before your indifference escalates.
All these considered, go through this list and check if any of these speaks to you and your spouse. If it does, then why not be both open to counseling? Staying in a long-term commitment such as a marriage is never easy. Even the couples who may have made it through their golden year of marriage will tell you that. There are going to be a lot of bumps along the way, but those bumps add color to your marriage or relationship, providing depth and strengthening what you have. What matters is what you actually do to protect and work to bring your marriage back. Going to couples counseling is a good start.