Erie, PA Marriage Therapy and Counseling
According to several decades’ worth of romantic comedies, marriage is the end of the story, right? The dating, the pursuit, the finding the soulmate is the hard part, full of ups and downs, but once spouses have found each other, it is only wedding bliss, right? According to My Best Friend’s Wedding, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, Enough Said, Hitch, Love Actually, 27 Dresses, and more, the answer is “yes,” but reality would say, “no.” Only a 2-hour movie could ever wrap life up so neatly and top it with a bow. In real life, there are many good reasons most wedding vows include a promise to love each other “in good times and bad.” Couples can and often do experience just as many ups and downs in their marriage as they did while they were dating. No marriage is immune from hardship, but every couple can have help in navigating the difficulty. More and more, spouses are going to marriage counseling when they hit a rough patch.
“A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together.
It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.”
– Dave Meurer
Thriveworks Erie offers marriage counseling because we know that every marriage needs a little help from time to time. Challenges can also be opportunities to establish a better connection, a better relationship, and a better marriage.
Is Now the Right Time for Marriage Counseling?
Spouses often ask whether it may be time to start marriage counseling. There is no right answer to this question, but there is also no wrong answer either. There are limitless possibilities of what can lead spouses to reach out for help. Their relationship may be going well, but they are experiencing stressful circumstances. Their relationship may not be going well, and each spouse feels like they have done everything they know. There are many circumstances that can bring people to marriage therapy, and here are just a few…
1) There is open hostility or tension in the marriage.
At times, every spouse will feel disappointed or frustrated with their partner. At times, spouses may love each other, but they do not necessarily like each other. When this becomes the norm instead of the exception, the marriage may be in trouble. The root cause of the tension can be any number of things. One spouse may have acted irresponsibly. One spouse may have lied or cheated. One spouse may be trying to control the other. These root causes need to be addressed and resolved for the marriage to move forward and the tension to ease. Marriage counselors often help couples work through these difficulties.
2) Spouses are living separate lives.
Calendars are always packed, but in a healthy marriage, spouses make time for each other. Their relationship and connection is a top priority. When spouses live separate lives—when they do not make time for each other—then the marriage may be in trouble. The separate lives may be a red flag that spouses are having difficulty connecting with each other emotionally. It can signal an intimacy problem.
3) One or both spouses feel numb about the marriage.
When marriages hit hard times, each spouse may be furious with the other. Negative feelings may rage. However, the opposite can also be true. Spouses can shut down and stop communicating, interacting, and feeling. Ice can cause as much harm as fire. When spouses have lost all feeling for each other, it may be time to reach out for help. Stonewalling is a danger to the marriage. Spouses can learn to relate in a healthier way, often with the guidance of a marriage counselor.
4) On-going annoyances are escalating.
All marriages have issues: things one spouse does that annoys the other spouse. These annoyances may be big. They may be little. They are always present. Spouses are only human. How each spouse responds to these annoyances is critical to the marriage’s health. When spouses respond with respect, patience, and understanding, the marriage is set up for healthy connection. When spouses escalate these annoyances by attack each other or shaming each other, the marriage is set up to suffer. Often, marriage counselors work with couples on their conflict resolution skills so that they can address these issues directly and resolve them before they escalate.
5) One or both spouses think counseling might help.
One principle of therapy is that often, people get out of it what they put into it. If you or your spouse is ready to try marriage counseling, it will likely help because you are willing to change and try something new. Even asking the question, “should we go to marriage counseling?” can be a sign that you are ready to get started.
Setting Up Marriage Therapy at Thriveworks Erie
If you think that marriage therapy could be the next step for you and your spouse, know that Thriveworks Erie is ready to help, and we have appointments available. When you contact our office, a scheduling specialist will answer your call and help you set up an appointment. We do not have a voicemail, and we do not have a waitlist either. Instead, new clients often meet with their counselor the day following their first call to our office. We also office weekend and evening sessions. Even more, many forms of insurance are accepted. Call Thriveworks Erie today.