Successful relationships may seem easy, but the truth is that they take a lot of work. It’s natural for relationships to evolve over time, but when one or both parties doesn’t have the tools needed to navigate a rough patch, partners may drift apart or do irreparable damage to the relationship. Some couples want to gain this knowledge prior to entering into their union, which is why pre-marriage counseling is becoming more popular.
In the U.S., a divorce occurs every 36 seconds. Whether you’re about to get married or trying to recapture the spark, the couples counseling topics you cover in your sessions can help you to repair your relationship and stop divorce from happening. If you’ve been wondering when to see a couples counselor, it’s likely already time to talk to your partner about pursuing counseling — especially if you recognize one (or more) of these six warning signs:
- You’re afraid to talk to each other
Communication can be a huge issue in relationships. If you’re afraid to bring up certain topics, your conversations all have a negative tone, or you’ve stopped talking altogether, those are all major red flags. In counseling, your therapist can address important couples counseling topics designed to help you identify and address the source of the issue.
- Affection is withheld as punishment
If one partner regularly gives the other the silent treatment or withholds affection to punish his or her partner, the balance in the relationship is out of whack. Essentially, one partner is simultaneously taking on a parental role and a child-like role. Your counselor can help you address these issues and can facilitate more effective forms of communication. This will let you solve problems instead of letting them fester.
- Your sex life has changed drastically
It’s a commonly held urban legend that a marriage signals the end of sex. While a bit of a decline in frequency or intensity is not usually something to worry about, if your sex life ceases to exist, that can signal a total loss of intimacy.
- You’re holding a grudge
If one or both partners likes to hold a grudge, that can often spell trouble. It may mean having the same fights over and over, or one partner may continuously throw the other’s mistakes in his or her face. Being unable to let go — especially after apologies have been made — is a problem in many relationships. This signals that an issue has not been resolved. Your therapist will likely be able to help you sort this out with various couples counseling topics and exercises.
- Someone’s keeping a secret
Whether it’s in regards to money or infidelity, secret-keeping is never a good sign. Of course, every person needs some privacy, but in a serious relationship, partners shouldn’t be keeping important information from each other. If one person refuses to talk about serious issues — like financial problems or an affair — then you should seek out counseling to address these issues.
- You feel like you’re living separate lives
If you feel as if you’re simply co-existing rather than being in a partnership, it’s time to seek out counseling to break down these barriers. Your spouse should not feel like your roommate. It’s likely that if you’ve stopped communicating, you’ll need an experienced professional to determine what’s missing and how to rebuild.
An experienced professional will have knowledge in effective couples counseling topics to address to improve your situation. If you need marriage advice and are willing to work hard at rebuilding your relationship, it’s important to seek help from a couples counselor as soon as possible.