I have met couples who came to counseling when it was too late. One, or both, of them had already become so dead to the relationship that they were unwilling to engage in bringing it back to life. In this situation, couples will sometimes come to therapy to say that they tried everything, to get help telling their partner that it’s over, or to make the break-up go more smoothly, but the relationship itself withered on the vine a long time ago. It’s important to watch for the signs that you and your partner might need couples counseling.
Come to couples counseling before it’s too late.
If you are having struggles with your partner, I urge you to get the support and perspective that counseling can offer before you reach that point. If you are even thinking that getting some outside help might be useful, it probably would be. The perfect time for counseling is when you and your partner have an issue to work out and you are ready to do something differently.
Here are some signs that you might need couples counseling:
- You are fighting all the time and stumped about how to communicate with each other in a way that resolves the issues. You may be having the same fight over and over again with no success in moving past it. Counseling can help you navigate the complexity of hard issues.
- You are facing a crisis, a challenge, or a transition in your life together that calls for new skills and resources than you have ever had to muster before.
- You are ready to get to the underlying dynamics that are driving your patterns instead of just addressing the symptoms.
- You know you don’t want to keep doing this the same way anymore. You may not know what else to do, but you’re at a point where keeping things the same is no longer acceptable. You are ready to resolve emotional gridlock.
- You and your partner are both still willing to invest in your relationship and keep open the possibility that you can work these issues out.
- You are open to self-reflection, have an ability to confront yourself and to be honest about what you are doing. You have a real desire for growth and integrity in your life.
- You can focus on your own contribution to the issues and resist the urge to blame others.
- You are ready to make the commitment of time and resources that change requires, and you are determined to make the most out of that investment by being committed to and engaged in the process.
You might also enjoy reading a colleague’s article about how marriage is a verb. It takes effort and commitment to build and maintain a strong, vibrant relationship.
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