When we think of marriage, we often think of love and happiness. Of endless laughter and smiles, of one big happy family, of a real-life fairytale. And while this can certainly come to be, we need not forget about the second half of the deal: the hardships. Sure, we can hope for the best as we say our vows and pledge to love our partner “for better or worse,” but the truth is that problems will unavoidably arise—we’re only human. And sometimes we’re just not equipped to deal with them alone. But fortunately, there’s someone who specializes in helping you and your partner with a multitude of issues: a marriage counselor. Here are 10 signs that marriage counseling might benefit your relationship:

    1) You’re constantly arguing.

    You argue about whose turn it is to do the laundry, why the other was late to work, who’s taking the kids to school tomorrow, and on and on. It’s absolutely normal to bicker every now and then, but if every little conversation is turning into an argument, it’s probably time to see a counselor and get to the bottom of this ill will.

    2) Or you’re not talking at all.

    Avoiding one another can be just as harmful as arguing—because ultimately the foundation of every relationship is built on communication, so if you’re not talking then it’s looking a little rocky. Seeing a therapist will help the two of you understand why you’re not talking, as well as adapt effective ways to communicate.

    3) A partner has had an affair.

    If you or your partner is having an affair (or want to have an affair), that is a tell-tale sign the relationship is lacking something. And while an affair oftentimes leads to separation, it is still possible to salvage the relationship—as long as both partners are willing to put in the work. A marriage counselor will help the two of you confront this issue head-on and help you discover means for a happy, healthy relationship again.

    4) You’re waiting on your partner to change.

    The only person you truly control is yourself—so wanting or expecting your partner to change just isn’t very promising, nor is it fair. It’s one thing to desire and anticipate changes in the relationship, but changing who your significant other is just isn’t part of the deal. A counselor can help you better understand what you want in a partner and also help the two of you relate better.

    5) The relationship is tainted with abuse.

    Abuse—whether it be physical, mental, or emotional—is never okay. And if it has entered a relationship, that is a sign that outside help is needed. If you decide that the relationship is still worth saving, and both partners are safe, then it is possible for a therapist to assist you in doing so. Together, you will identify the unhealthy behavior and change it accordingly.

    6) You loathe your partner.

    If you start to loathe your partner or feel as if you’re on different teams, that’s a sign of a problem. It can be difficult to identify and understanding underlying causes of these negative feelings, but doing so will allow you to target and change them—and seeing a marriage counselor will help you do so. Sometimes it takes an outsider’s perspective to see what’s really happening under the surface.

    7) Or you feel no particular way about your partner.

    You might not be angry or frustrated with your partner, or fighting with them day in and day out, but feeling nothing can be just as bad. If you start to feel apathetic—whereas you lack passion, emotion, love, and concern—toward your significant other, that’s a sign that your love is evolving from what it once was. A marriage counselor can help determine where this apathy stems from and whether or not it’s reversible.

    8) It feels like you’re living separate lives.

    We all get busy from time to time—some more than others—but if it gets to the point where it feels like the two of you are living separate lives, that signifies a potential need for counseling. A therapist can help you understand how your busy schedules are affecting each other and the relationship, assist you in allocating time just for each other, and (if needed) tackle any intimacy issues.

    9) You have ongoing relationship issues.

    Sometimes we just can’t see eye-to-eye; and that’s okay. But if there are ongoing issues in your relationship that are causing damage, then a marriage counselor can help you work through them. They may mediate any discussions regarding the topic or issue at hand, give their outsider’s perspective on it, and help the couple better tackle it.

    10) You think you would benefit from doing so.

    You don’t have to have a huge case for why you need marriage counseling—if you simply think that you and your partner would benefit from it, then that is plenty of warrant to do so. A marriage counselor’s job is to help you improve your relationship and they are more than equipped and happy to do so.

    *Click here to see a counselor or a coach this week, if not within 24 hours—because you can thrive, and we can help.*

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