When to seek Marriage Therapy

I just read a good article titled “When is it a good time to seek couples counseling?” and I thought I would summarize some of the great points the author made. If you would like to read the entire article please click on the link.

Red Flags

The article started with what it calls the “red flags that need to be addressed”, some of them are:

  1. Constant Criticism –You or your partner, or both of you, are constantly criticizing the other. The criticism is more than a complaint. It is personal and disrespectful.
  2. You’re on the Defense – One of both of you is not apt to accept the partner’s perspective or offer an apology. 
  3. Negativity overrides your feelings – The relationship experiences “overriding negative sentiment,” which is when one or both partners consistently sees the negative side of problems or each other.
  4. The 3 A’s. Adultery, addiction, or abuse is present in the relationship. These are couples who need the help the most. They are dealing with serious issues that can cause emotional and physical harm to the partners and the family. Healing and recovery from these traumas will require the help of a skilled couples therapist.

Preventing Damage To The Family

Studies from The Gottman Institute reveal the “masters” and “disasters” of relationships. “Masters” of relationships do not do everything right all the time, but they know how to make repairs and deepen their intimacy even through the rough times.

“Disasters” of relationships were partners who did not learn how to manage conflict or communicate effectively. They neglected their friendship—which, researchers learned, is the foundation for trust, commitment, gratitude, problem-solving, intimacy, and shared dreams.

Data were drawn from studies that included more than 3,000 couples and spanned 45+ years. For the first time, relationship experts were able to scientifically quantify what couples do in stable happy marriages and what behaviors will lead to divorce. If you would like to read more about the “masters” or “disasters” please read our blog explaining the differences.

What happens when issues are prolonged? According to Dr. John Gottman unhappy couples wait an average of six years before seeking couples counseling. This is six years of chronic conflict, resentment, criticism, and contempt.This is unfortunate because timing is everything.

The effectiveness of couples and marriage counseling is directly related to the motivation of the partners. Motivation can be lacking when problems are too ingrained, and past hurts have been festered for too long. The quality of their interactions has burned to ashes and rebuilding the house will take time, work, and herculean motivation.

Where To Get Help

There are resources available for relationship help. Depending on your circumstances and stage in your relationship, here are two good choices:

  1. Couples Therapist. Seek out a professionally trained therapist who specializes in couples therapy. Couples therapists have the specialized and foundational education and experience to effectively diagnose and treat couples. After all, if you needed medical help with the joints in your knee, you would want to be treated by a specialist — an orthopedic knee specialist. It is no different in the area of couples counseling. Family Christian Counseling Center has therapists that are trained in The Gottman Method as well as other types of approaches and are able to combine the best treatment plan for your relationship.
  2. Couples Workshop or Retreat. Attend a couples workshop. Many times getting away from the busyness of life can help us see things in a different light.

Never Wait – Whatever you do, never wait. Waiting and hoping for things to get better is never the answer. Don’t ignore warning signs.  Protect and strengthen your home by learning and mastering foundational relationship skills.

Family Christian Counseling Center has therapists that are trained in the Gottman method of marriage therapy. Click on the link to read more about this method.

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