The relationship has changed. You and your spouse are more distant at times. Then, at other times, you are angry and frustrated. The sweet conversations that once flowed for hours are gone or few and far between. What changed? How can it be restored? Can it be restored? Most marriage vows include a commitment to the relationship “for better or worse” because most marriage experience good times and hard times. It is normal for spouses to struggle with how to love each other well and how to maintain their relationship throughout life’s challenges. It is also normal for spouses to reach out for help. Many couples are going to marriage therapy when their relationship is struggling.
“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
As many as 40 percent of all first marriages end in divorce, and the rates go even higher for second and third time marriages. For some couples, divorce may be the right next step. For other couples, their marriage can be repaired, and the best of their relationship is in their future. Only those within the marriage can determine if they want to keep working at their relationship, but there is help and guidance for that decision. Many spouses are working with a marriage therapist for a better relationship—whatever form that relationship may take.
Being in a marriage is hard, and that is why Thriveworks Wilmington offers marriage counseling. It is ok to struggle, and it is ok to ask for help. Marriage therapy is often the right next step for spouses who are struggling in their relationship.
Is Now the Time to Go to Marriage Counseling?
When relationships hit troubled waters, many wonder if the issue they are facing is the type of issue people go to marriage counseling to resolve. When spouses should start therapy is a very personal decision. There is no perfect time to get started, but for many challenges that can hurt a couple’s relationship, the sooner spouses begin to address the problem, the better. Here are a few challenges that have led spouses to the decision to start marriage counseling…
1) Someone had an affair.
- Cheating destroys trust, and trust is the foundation of a healthy bond. The circumstances and extent of the affair can vary from circumstance to circumstance, and it is normal for each spouse’s reaction to vary as well. In many ways, an affair is a crisis point. Some marriages recover. Some do not. Navigating the many different questions and problems and hurt that an affair can ignite is a difficult feat. Many people turn to a marriage therapist for help.
2) Each spouse is trying to change the other.
In healthy marriages, each spouse accepts the other for who they are—in their strengths and weaknesses. In healthy marriages, each spouse takes responsibility for their own personal growth. When these boundaries are blurred, spouses may begin to see each other for who they are not instead of appreciating each other for who they are. Shame, frustration, disappointment, and more will be introduced into the relationship. Marriage therapists often help spouses clarify these important boundaries.
3) You and your spouse never argue, or you and your spouse argue constantly.
Have you ever heard of The Golden Ratio? It is a metric that many marriage counselors use to determine a relationship’s health. Happy, healthy spouses have five positive interactions for every one negative interaction. Negative interactions are normal, but they are powerful. Too many arguments or disagreements can harm the relationship. At the same time, it is important for spouses to disagree. When differences are handled with respect, then they show a healthy individuality within the relationship. This individuality paves the way for genuine, positive interactions. Marriage therapists often help couples when The Golden Ratio is off balance.
Scheduling Marriage Therapy at Thriveworks Wilmington
If you and your spouse think that marriage therapy may help, know that the therapists at Thriveworks Wilmington have appointments. A few of the ways our counselors have helped our clients include…
- Identifying toxic patterns. Spouses tend to relate to each other in predictable ways. Some of those patterns are healthy. Some are not. Often, spouses are not aware of these patterns, but a marriage therapist may be able to help them see them so that they can protect the healthy patterns and change the toxic ones.
- De-escalating the tension. Healthy arguments can quickly evolve into personal attacks. Tensions rise. It is natural, but it is not helpful. Marriage therapists can often keep spouses focused upon solving the problem together.
- Setting a timeline for change. Some marital problems are more urgent than others. Some changes can be made immediately. Others can wait. Marriage counselors often help spouses clearly name and prioritize the changes they want to make.
If your marriage is struggling, know that you are not alone. There are many options available. Meeting with a marriage therapist may be the right next step for you. If it is, know that Thriveworks Wilmington has appointments available. When you contact our office, a scheduling specialist will help you make an appointment. New clients often meet with their counselor within 24 hours of their first call. We also offer evening and weekend sessions and accept many forms of insurance. Let’s work together. Call Thriveworks Wilmington today.