Without a doubt- marriage is a challenge. Some days may be more challenging than others but the overall situation and responsibility involved, make marriage a challenge, period.
Living in Oklahoma City adds an additional challenge, due to the fact that our state ranks at the top of the country for divorce rates. It’s difficult to say for sure what the exact cause of this might be, but since it is a fact, it might sometimes make people who are getting married in Oklahoma feel like the obligation is less ‘real’ than it would be for somebody living in a different state.
Regardless of what the cause may be, we like to help people work through their marriage issues so they can live happily ever after if that is a possibility. For some, it will not be, but these indicators might help you determine if marriage counseling is something on your personal horizon.
How do you tell if you are just having a little communication hurdle or if the problem requires professional assistance? Check out these warning signs and decide for yourself.
A traumatic life event.
There is no great way to dictate how a person deals with trauma, however, if it is affecting your marriage, it may be time to see a professional marriage counselor. The loss of a child, friend or terminal illness are all likely to cause grieving and sometimes this grief can affect us in ways which may be unpredictable. Marriage counseling can help manage the emotions and help navigate your relationship to a happier place after a traumatic life event.
You aren’t talking.
Communication breakdowns can be a very good sign that it is time to seek professional help. Healthy communication is essential to a happy marriage and if there has been a breakdown, whatever the reason may be, seeking marital counseling may be a good start. Communication breakdowns can happen for a number of reasons but once they have occurred, it is impossible for the situation to change unless you face it head-on. Depending on the circumstances, this might be easier said than done. In these cases, bringing a third party, licensed professional counselor into the situation may be a good idea.
If either you or your spouse are being financially unfaithful to each other, this can be very detrimental to your relationship, possibly nearly as damaging as having a sexual affair. We find money problems to be a common, if not the primary cause of marital problems (especially here in Oklahoma). If this is taking place in your relationship it is not unreasonable to speak up about the fact that you want to have a better understanding of your monthly bills and budget, debts, savings accounts, retirement funds, etc… If you encounter a problem when addressing this issue head-on, professional marriage counseling is likely going to be necessary.
You’re afraid to talk or ask questions.
Maybe you are talking but the communication isn’t quite up to par and you feel as if you are ‘walking on eggshells’ when you are together. This may be due to fear of your spouse or maybe you have something to hide which is making you weary of bringing up certain issues. Regardless of what the case may be, if you are afraid to ask your spouse questions or talk about certain things then these are great indicators that a third party mediator may be beneficial to your situation.
Affection is being withheld as a punishment.
This is a common problem among my marriage counseling clients. When one or both of you are withholding your affection of the other as a means of manipulation or punishment, you are definitely showing signs of a marriage which will benefit from therapy. This particular issue is, in many cases, difficult to address without adding to the conflicts which are already present in your marriage. If your spouse is holding their affection from you in order to manipulate you, it is very important to at least consider your approach before you bring it to their attention. If they are doing this then they are likely to either deny it or justify it, and neither of these outcomes are ideal for your relationship. Of course, this isn’t going to be the case for everybody but for many of our clients, it seems to be a typical response. (Seek help ASAP.)
You argue about the same things over and over.
Ongoing, repetitive arguments are a good sign your relationship is encountering a sticking point. Sticking points literally have you stuck on a certain topic and if you do not figure out a way to address it head-on in a constructive, healthy manner then your relationship is likely to eventually fall apart or in a best case scenario, get STUCK right where it is. Sticking points can cause great damage to a marriage and if you are dealing with them now, then chances are you will have to seek a professional counselor to get through the issue, or else you wouldn’t be arguing about the same things all of the time and you would have already come to a resolution.
You or your spouse are contemplating, or possibly having an affair.
It may very well be possible for a relationship to survive after you or your spouse has had an affair but if you are still only considering it, you should seek professional help before it becomes too late. If it has already happened, then saving the marriage may still be possible, but only if both parties are committed to the therapy process and honesty in communication throughout. At the very least, the counseling may also, at least, provide clarity to the fact that it is not going to work and it’s time to move on. Not every marriage needs to be saved but we prefer to save them when it is best for both of you.
You’re living separate lives.
If you and your spouse only see each other in passing and it feels more like you are roommates than a married couple, there are likely communication issues which need to be addressed. If you have already spoken with your spouse about your concern and the response seemed odd or unfavorable, then it is time to seek professional marriage counseling services. There is still a good chance that both of you may still be faithful to each other, however, mending a marriage which has fallen into the roommate situation, makes it more likely that one or both of you will, at least, find yourselves in emotional affairs, which can be equally detrimental to sexual affairs.
There is still love.
This is the most important sign that it might be time for professional counseling. If there is still love in your relationship but something is just not quite how you feel it should be or hoped it would be, seek professional help to work through the situation in a healthy, organized manner which will provide more clarity in your relationship as well as help with communication and a host of other things. We see many clients for marriage counseling, for a variety of reasons, but this is the primary aspect that all of them have in common. If there was no love in your relationship then you would not be seeking help to work things out and you likely would not have made it this far in reading our tips.