Los Angeles, CA Marriage Therapists and Counselors
“Marriage. Marriage is what brings us together today,” the priest in The Princess Bride opens the slap-stick wedding ceremony between Princess Buttercup and Prince Humperdink in what has become one of the most famous wedding scenes from any movie. “Marriage,” the priest continues, “that blessed arrangement, that dream within a dream… and love, true love, will follow you forever… so treasure your love.” The absurdity of the cleric’s vision for marriage is made clear when Prince Humperdink demands, “skip to the end!” The prince has his own reasons for rejecting this picture of marriage, but most people know intuitively that being married is not a dream within a dream. There are many times spouses will not feel blessed in their arrangement. That is why many marriage vows include a promise to love one another “in good times and bad, in sickness and health, for rich or poor.” Spouses often disagree, argue, or annoy each other. It is normal and even healthy to a degree. And when spouses are experiencing more bad times than good ones, there is help. Many spouses are reaching out for help and going to marriage therapy.
“Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do. It’s the way you love your partner every day.”
—Barbara De Angelis
It is the little, everyday things that make a marriage, and it is often those little, everyday things that throw a marriage off track. When spouses are open to change and willing to make adjustment, they can often find a way back to a healthy relationship. Marriage therapy is not a magic potion, but skilled counselors are often excellent relational guides.
Thriveworks Los Angeles offers marriage therapy because we know that marriage takes work. Sometimes, spouses need a little help along the way as they work on their relationship.
Should We Go to Marriage Counseling?
When spouses are dissatisfied with their relationship, they often wonder if marriage counseling may help. They may ask each other, should we go to marriage counseling for this? In some ways, there is no right way to answer this question. If one or both spouses think that therapy may improve their relationship, it shows a willingness, and marriage therapy may very well help. In other ways, there are certain problems that couples face that are common. Marriage therapists see these issues regularly, and they regularly steer spouses toward healthy resolutions to them. A few of those issues include…
1) Someone has had an affair.
Cheating is the physiological equivalent of a relationship going into cardiac arrest. It is a crisis. Just as someone having a heart attack needs professional help, so marriages that are suffering from one or both spouses having an affair may need a therapist’s intervention. Some marriages can recover from cheating. For others, the best path forward is to end the marriage as amicably as possible. In both cases, a marriage counselor can often help.
2) Tension defines the relationship.
Relationship experts know that every relationship has tension—it’s normal to disagree. However, when disagreements happen too often, they can be harmful. Marriage therapists talk about the golden ratio: spouses need to have five positive interactions for every one negative interaction that they have. When this ratio is off, the relationship can feel overwhelmingly filled with tension because negative interactions have more power than positive ones. Marriage counselors frequently teach conflict resolution skills so that spouses can directly address disagreements and resolve them so that they do not grow.
3) One or both spouses feel apathetic.
Fiery conflict can be a problem but so can icy apathy. When one or both spouses feel nothing—not even negative emotions—it may be time to reach out to a marriage counselor. Apathy can be a red flag for several difficulties within the relationship. Maybe each spouse is so weary of the conflict that they have withdrawn as a way of giving themselves a break. Maybe one spouse is not allowing the other’s feelings and thoughts to be expressed and that spouse has shut down. Marriage therapists can often help a couple find the underlying problem and work toward resolving it.
4) Spouses are living parallel lives.
Calendars fill up. Life is crazy. Healthy spouses always find time for each other. When spouses realize that they are living parallel lives that never connect, it may be time to reach out for help. “Busy” is often a red flag for a deeper problem to connect physically, emotionally, sexually, socially, and/or spiritually. Marriage therapists often help spouses build more intimacy into their relationship.
Marriage Counseling at Thriveworks Los Angeles
When you read through the list of why some couples go to marriage therapy, you may have recognized an issue. You also may not have recognized anything. There is no way to list every reason that people reach out for marriage counseling. Seeking out help for your marriage is a very personal decision, but if you are ready, so is Thriveworks Los Angeles. Our therapists have worked with many spouses, and we have marriage counseling appointments available. When you call to make an appointment, you may be meeting with your therapist the following day. You will never reach a voicemail or be put on a waitlist. However, we do offer evening and weekend appointments, and we also accept many forms of insurance. Let’s work on your marriage together. Call Thriveworks Los Angeles today.