In many situations, prevention is cheaper than treatment. Regular oil changes and tire rotations will keep a car in its best condition; therefore, avoiding the expense and stress that major repairs can bring. Maintaining a healthy diet and visiting a physician regularly will prevent costly medical treatment.
The same concept applies to marriage.
According to the Chicago Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy, approximately 50 percent of couples who participate in therapy have recovered upon the termination of their sessions, with 70 percent recovered within the next three months.
With the success of counseling in some marriages, many married couples still do not go to counseling until their problems have gotten seriously bad, making their issues or relationship almost irreparable. The cost, the time and the thought that any problem can be solved on its own are some reasons why married couples opt not to pursue counseling.
Below are three reasons why any couple should seek professional help before things turn ugly.
1. You are having problems finding the words
The phrase communication is key is an understatement when it comes to maintaining a healthy marriage. In order to truly effectively communicate, one has to not only understand and accept how their partner thinks and understand their behaviors, but also be willing to express their opinions honestly. Most people find that tactful words escape them regarding a conflict. A counselor will help you articulate your feelings and thoughts around issues that may be bothering you, preventing any built-up frustration. “Sharing feelings enables you to talk through the situation causing the feelings,” states clinical psychologist Susan Heitler, Ph.D. in Psychology Today. “That way you and others involved in the situation can figure out what to do about it.”
2. You can’t find a solution
So both you and your partner have the communication part down and have no problems with expressing your feelings to each other. What next? Talking about the problem in detail and from both viewpoints is great, but a solution is needed in order to better handle similar situations that might arise in the future. John Gottman, Ph.D., founder of the Gottman Institute and the University of Washington’s Love Lab, says that 69 percent of marital conflict never gets resolved. “The people who have stable, happy relationships are much gentler with one another than people who have unhappy relationships or break up,” says Gottman.
3. The romance is dying
Just because you are married, and possibly married with children, it doesn’t mean the romance should become nonexistent in your relationship. Trying to find the time for date night or even just a few hours a week alone with your spouse can become difficult — especially if you have kids or hefty work schedules. According to a study of 3,000 couples showed that a lack of romance along with lack of sex, spontaneity and affection makes it hard to maintain a loving relationship. More than half of those polled said their partner was no longer the “affectionate and giving” person they were when they first started dating. A counselor could suggest ways to boost your romance to fit your busy schedule.
Alyssa Rachelle has been married for two years. She lives in the Atlanta area with her husband, 4-month-old daughter and 9-year-old cocker spaniel.