Something has changed. Your marriage is not how it was a year ago or three years ago or five years ago. When did the shift start? It may be hard to say when it started. It may also be hard to say what exactly changed. But you feel it. Intimacy was once easy and sweet. Conversations once flowed. Now, some interactions with your spouse leave you feeling confused. Others leave you angry and upset. Others leave you feeling nothing at all. Maybe you never thought this would happen to you and your spouse. Sure, your wedding vows included a promise to love each other “in good times and bad, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer.” You just never knew there would be so many hard times. What is next? Is this marriage worth saving or is it time to part ways? Many spouses are experiencing relational problems and asking these difficult questions. Many spouses are also working with a marriage counselor to help them find their answers.
“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
The divorce rate for first marriages is intimating—40 percent. The rates for second and third marriages are even more so. And yet, when some couples hit difficult patches, they work through those challenges. You and your spouse are the only ones who can decide what the next right step is for your marriage, but if you are struggling and you want help, know that many spouses are going to marriage therapy to work toward a healthier relationship—whether the marriage continues or not.
The marriage therapists at Thriveworks San Francisco understand that being in a relationship can be difficult. Everyone has struggles. Spouses often need help, and that is why we offer marriage counseling.
Should We Start Marriage Counseling?
There are any number of issues why spouses start marriage counseling. The decision to start therapy is often personal, and there are no right or wrong reasons to begin. In fact, if you are even considering going, it may be a sign that marriage counseling might help. Here are a few of the reasons some couples have chosen to reach out for help…
1) There has been cheating.
- If someone in the marriage has committed adultery, marriage therapy may be a good idea. Cheating is often an emergency. It is often the relational equivalent of a heart attack, and often, intervention is needed. Some spouses try to reconcile and rebuild trust and intimacy. Others decide to divorce. In either case, a marriage therapist may be able to keep the process as healthy as possible.
2) One or both spouses are trying to change each other.
No one is perfect, and in healthy relationships, each individual takes responsibility for their own growth. Relationships can become toxic when people are trying to change each other, and this harm can be magnified within a marriage. If spouses are not taking responsibility for their own improvement or if spouses are trying to change each other, it may be time for a relational expert to each them a better way.
3) Arguments happen all the time, or arguments never occur.
Relational experts often talk about marriage’s golden ratio. That is, happy spouses have five positive interactions for every one negative interaction. Both sides of this ratio are important. When couples are arguing all the time, they may need to grow in their conflict resolution skills so that issues can be issued directly and resolved. There may also be an underlying issue that is causing excessive tension. When couples never argue, one spouse may be dominating the other. One spouse’s perspective, feelings, needs, and thoughts may be swept under the rug. Neither arguing too much or never arguing is healthy for a marriage.
Working for a Healthier Relationship
You and your spouse may be facing one of these problems. You may be facing a different challenge. Whatever may be the case, many couples wonder how marriage therapy could help. Here are a few practical ways that marriage counseling may help you and your spouse establish a healthier relationship:
- Helping spouses recognize toxic patterns. Certain ways of relating are more harmful than others. When spouses become aware of toxic patterns and when they are open to change, they can often learn new ways of connecting.
- Setting sensible expectations for growth. People rarely change over night. It takes time to implement sustainable growth. Yet, growth needs to occur. Marriage therapist can often tell when spouses are stalling and when they are growing slowly.
- De-escalating conflict. Conversations about heated topic can easily escalate into personal attacks. Marriage therapists can often help spouses have difficult conversations in a productive manner.
- Advocating for each individual. Each individual within the marriage matters. Each spouse’s needs and preferences and feelings should be honored. Marriage counselors do not just advocate for the relationship but also each individual within the relationship.
Marriage Therapy Appointments at Thriveworks San Francisco
If you and your spouse are struggling, you are not alone. No relationship is perfect. If you are ready for help, you are not alone. Many spouses go to marriage counseling. Considering reach out to Thriveworks San Francisco. When you call for an appointment, you may be meeting with your therapist the following day. We offer evening and weekend appointments, and we accept many insurance plans. Call today.