Your marriage is different. Your spouse is different. Maybe you are different. Something changed. What was it? When did it happen? It was definitely subtle, but it was definitely real. Maybe times like this are why you vowed to love each other “in good times and bad, for rich or for poor, in sickness and in health.” This is definitely a time of difficulty, poverty, and sickness. Conversations that used to be filled with patience, understanding, and empathy are now rushed and cold. Tension escalates quickly. Then, coldness sets in. This is not the relationship either of you envisioned when you said those marriage vows, and like many other couples, you are struggling. Like many other couples, you are also considering marriage counseling.
“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
Many couples reach a point in their marriages where they never wanted to reach. They are not experiencing a happily-ever-after. For some, it happens slowly. For others, it happens in an instant. That is why forty percent of first time marriages end in divorce. And yet, that means sixty percent of spouses work through their differences and stay together. What is the right path forward? Only you and your spouse can decide, but there is help. Many couples go to marriage therapy.
All spouses experience difficulty, and when those hard times come, the marriage therapists and psychologists at Thriveworks Newport News are ready to help. It is normal to struggle. It is also normal to reach out. Marriage therapy has helped many spouses establish a healthier relationship, regardless of what form they choose for that relationship to take.
Should We Go to Marriage Therapy?
When spouses are struggling, they are often desperate for any kind of change. They may wonder if marriage therapy will help and if their struggle is the type of thing other couples go to marriage therapy for. Marriage therapy is not a magic potion that quickly restores marital bliss. Working toward a healthy marriage takes effort and time. As Barbara De Angelis says, marriage is a verb. Here are a few of the reasons other couples have come to marriage therapy to work on their relationship…
1) One or both spouses have had an affair.
Adultery is often a point of crisis for a marriage. It may signal the end of the relationship. It may spur each spouse to make needed changes. It is the spouse’s decision, but in either case, they have many difficulties to navigate. Marriage therapists often help spouses navigate the challenges moving forward, whatever future they are moving toward.
2) You are trying to change your spouse, or your spouse is trying to change you.
An important principle for healthy relationships is that people cannot change others—each individual is responsible for their own personal growth. This principle is particularly important in a marriage. When spouses are trying to change each other, there may be real areas that each spouse need to address and change. However, trying to change someone else is not the path to take. This rarely produces healthy, long-lasting change. Instead, it often introduces shame, disappointment, and frustration into the relationship. Marriage counseling can often teach spouses how to take responsibility for their own thoughts, feelings, choices, and growth.
3) Tension or apathy are stunting the relationship.
Certain problems can leave spouses stuck. Sometimes, being stuck looks like fire. Sometimes, it looks like ice. Sometimes, spouses fight all the time but never resolve the issue. Sometimes, spouses use apathy as a weapon and ignore each other as well as the problem. In either case, the marriage is in trouble. When tensions run high or when apathy runs high, it may be time to go to marriage counseling. Therapists often help spouses identify the underlying issue and learn conflict resolution skills.
Setting Up Marriage Therapy at Thriveworks Newport News
There are several ways that marriage therapy may benefit spouses who are struggling. Counselors and psychologists often help spouses…
- Pinpoint unhelpful patterns of behavior. It can be difficult for spouses within the marriage to see the patterns that play out and undermine their intimacy. Marriage therapists, however, often see these patterns clearly and help their clients see them too. Once they are pinpointed, these unhealthy patterns can be changed.
- Learn relational skills. Marriage takes hard work, but it also takes interpersonal and conflict resolution skills. Sometimes, spouses need to work smarter instead of harder, but they have never learned how. Marriage therapists often teach their clients these important relational skills.
- Set a timeline for change. Certain ways of relating are more problematic than others. When safety is a concern, changes need to be made as soon as possible. Other adjustments take time. Marriage counselors can often set a reasonable pace for change.
- Better manage present issues and prepare for future conflicts. This is a staple of a little something called the Gottman Method. The Gottman Method is an approach to marriage counseling and couples therapy that has a foolproof plan for helping couples improve their overall relationship. We have marriage counselors who have Level 1 Training in Gottman Method who would be happy to incorporate this into your treatment plan.
As you read through the issues of why spouses come to marriage counseling, did you recognize anything? Maybe you did. You are not alone. Maybe you did not. You are not alone. Deciding to start marriage therapy is a personal journey. If you are ready, so are the marriage counselors at Thriveworks Newport News. When you contact our office, a real person will answer your call and help you make an appointment. We do not have waitlists or voicemail. Instead, new clients often meet with their counselor within 24 hours of their call. Let’s get started. Call Thriveworks Newport News Counseling today.