In the beginning of your relationship, everything seemed so easy. You were a new couple embarking on a world full of possibilities. As things progressed, you sealed the deal and became a married couple.
Things were still happy, but now “real life” gets in the way. The stresses of daily life can cause marital conflicts. How will you pay for this big expense? How many kids should you add to your family? Why do you do that weird thing?
Years ago, marriage counseling used to seem like such a taboo thing, and only for the most serious of problems a married couple was facing. But these days, a marriage therapist is recognized as a useful option for every married couple out there. Because heaven knows, when two imperfect people come together and share their lives, they need a little help. Marriage therapy may be a great solution.
So how do you know that you need to enlist the help of a good marriage therapist? Here are 13 signs that you need to visit a marriage counselor.
1. Either—or both—of you aren’t happy. Even if just one of you is down in the dumps, it can make life hard for the other spouse. If both of you aren’t happy, then all the more reason to head to the therapist’s office.
2. You can’t seem to talk to each other. When anger or resentment enters a marriage, it can be hard for either party to talk to the other. An objective, knowledgeable third party is definitely worthwhile. A marriage therapist can help you say what’s in your heart in a way that your partner understands and with less anger and resentment.
3. Your sex life has gone down the drain. When things aren’t good between a married couple, many times they don’t feel the desire to share any intimacy. If the thought of even hugging or kissing your spouse makes you cringe, then there is a problem. No one needs to live like that. Do something about it. Time to book that therapy appointment.
4. Both of you spend as little time together as possible. If lately it seems like you and your spouse are off doing your own things, and even when you’re home you’re in separate rooms ignoring each other, something is going on to keep you two apart. People get married because they love each other and enjoy spending time together. If you’re not, then start by spending time together with a marriage counselor.
5. You don’t tell each other everything anymore. It’s ok to keep some things private from your spouse, but when either or both of you are intentionally not telling the other things they should probably hear from you, then there is probably an underlying reason. A good marriage counselor can help you realize why and where to go from here.
6. You can’t think of anything good to say to each other. If all you can think to say to your spouse is negative, like: “Why don’t you ever…” or “You always forget to…” then things are getting a little rocky. Sometimes you get into a cycle of negativity without meaning to, and other times it is acting as a defense. In any case, marriage therapy is a good idea.
7. Both of you are keeping score. Instead of celebrating each other and giving to each other, you are being ultra competitive. “I took out the trash for the past month!” or “I was the only one at our son’s soccer game!” When you focus on who has the most “points” in your marriage, then it’s time to talk it out.
8. When you fight over more than just the little things. It’s normal to have some conflict, but if you find yourselves arguing over everything on a regular basis, then it’s hard to have a happy marriage. Sometimes it feels like there is even an argument waiting for you when you get home. No one needs to live like that. Talk to a therapist together.
9. You have more downs than ups. Every marriage has its ups and downs. But if yours seems to hardly ever come up, then there could be something lacking in.
10. There is any form of abuse. Physical, sexual, verbal—all types of abuse are not ok in marriage. If this is happening to you, then don’t wait. Talk to someone today. Get help. Hopefully things can come to a good resolution, but the number one thing to consider is your safety and the safety of your children.
11. You just don’t care anymore. Instead of caring about what your spouse wants, you have just stopped caring. It just feels like too much work, or you just want to focus on yourself and what you want. If this is on your mind, don’t keep silent about it. Talk to a marriage counselor.
12. Either of you are giving your heart to someone else. It typically starts out innocent at first—just flirting either online or in person. But as things are rough between your marriage, you start feeling more validated with this new person. If you have given any part of your heart to anyone outside the marriage, book an emergency marriage counseling session now.
13. Either of you are thinking about separating or moving out. If things have already progressed to this point, then you may feel like it’s too late to work things out. Don’t give up. Get together on neutral ground, in a therapist’s office. Agree to at least four sessions together and agree to put your best effort into it. Even the best marriages can take twists and turns we didn’t anticipate, but that doesn’t mean they can’t end up in a good place again.
Sylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples in therapy. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is currently associated with Marriage.com, a reliable resource assisting millions of couples to resolve their marital issues. She holds a Master’s Degree in Arts (Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy).