In what might be the most famous wedding scene of all time, Princess Buttercup and Prince Humperdink stand before the priest as he opens the ceremony, “Marriage. Marriage is what brings us together today.” The priest in The Princess Bride continues, “Marriage, that blessed arrangement, that dream within a dream… and love, true love, will follow you forever… so treasure your love.” The absurdity of this homily is sharpened as Prince Humperdink interrupts, yelling, “Skip to the end!”
Of course, the fake marriage between Buttercup and Humperdink is no dream within a dream, but the truth is no marriage is. Many times, spouses find themselves in a less-than-blessed-arrangement. It is normal for spouses to be frustrated, annoyed, or even angered at each other. That is one of the many reasons wedding vows usually include a promise to love “in good times and bad, in sickness and health, for rich or poor.” Every marriage has times that are hard. Many spouses are getting through those times by reaching out for help. More and more, spouses are going to marriage counseling together.
Marriage takes work. Life is hectic. Conflict is inevitable. Spouses can grow apart, but they can also come back together. There are no quick-fixes or magic formulas. Only those within the marriage can decide its future. Many spouses want a better marriage, but they may not know how to improve their relationship. Marriage therapy is often helpful for identifying areas where spouses can grow personally and within their relationship.
The marriage counselors at Thriveworks Counseling in St. Louis have worked with many couples as they are learning to love each other well. There are always good times and bad within any relationship, and our clients are learning how to optimize the good and work through the bad.
Should We Go to Marriage Counseling?
This is a common question couples may ask when they are struggling. Spouses who have never been to therapy previously may wonder, Is this the type of thing others go to counseling for? In many ways, there is no right time to start therapy. The good news is that there is also no wrong time to start therapy. If you are wondering if therapy might help your marriage, it may be time to get started. Of course, everyone will have their own reason to begin marriage counseling, but here are a few of the reasons clients have started working with a marriage therapist at Thriveworks in St. Louis:
1) You and your spouse argue nonstop.
All couples argue. Disagreeing is normal and even healthy. Many marriage counselors use a metric called The Golden Ratio to determine whether disagreements have become harmful. The Golden Ratio says that for every one negative interaction that couples have, they need five positive ones to balance it out. Negative interactions have more destructive power than positive interactions have healing power. Spouses may feel as if they are arguing all the time when The Golden Ratio is off balance. Marriage therapists often help couples improve their conflict resolution skills so that negative interactions are engaged and resolved. Then, spouses can move onto more positive interactions.
2) You and your spouse never argue.
Just as too many arguments can cause a problem, so can too few. The Golden Ratio can be thrown off when couples never argue. A healthy marriage consists of two individuals. When couples do not argue, it may be a sign that they are losing their individuality. Respect for differences is a sign of a mature marriage. Spouses can get into trouble when they stop advocating for their unique thoughts, feelings, and needs. Instead, they minimize their distinctiveness. Lack of arguments may also signal that spouses are weary of conflict and have given up. In either case, marriage therapy may be able to get the marriage to a healthier place.
3) Someone has cheated.
Affairs can send a marriage into crisis. In some ways, it is like the relationship going into cardiac arrest. Just like anyone having a heart attack needs intervention, often spouses need mental health care when one or both have cheated. Some spouses know that they are ready to separate. Some spouses know they want to try and save the marriage. Many spouses have no idea what their next steps should be. In all these cases, a marriage counselor is often a helpful guide for navigating an affair.
4) You are trying to change your spouse (or your spouse is trying to change you).
A fundamental of any healthy relationship is that people cannot change each other. They can only change themselves, and this is especially true in a marriage. When spouses try to change each other, they never success. Instead, they often introduce frustration, shame, and disappointment into the relationship. No one is perfect. Everyone needs to grow. However, personal growth comes from an internal motivation, not from a spouse’s prodding. Marriage therapists often work with spouses on appropriate boundaries and accountability and help them avoid trying to change each other.
Marriage Counseling at Thriveworks in St. Louis—Making an Appointment
When you contact Thriveworks in St. Louis for an appointment, you and your spouse may be meeting with your therapist the following day. We offer evening and weekend sessions. Many different insurance plans are accepted. Let’s work together. Call Thriveworks Counseling in St. Louis today.