The course of true love never did run smooth.
- William Shakespeare
Often, couples come to counseling as a last-ditch effort to save a relationship. For married couples, the next phone call might be to an attorney to initiate divorce proceedings. Couples in crisis might expect counseling to fix long-term relationship problems within a few months, or even a few weeks. Although it is possible to help couples come back from the brink of catastrophe, it takes a lot of time, effort, and commitment. It is much easier and more productive to address issues before they become serious. Here are some signs you would benefit from couples therapy:
1. You and your partner can't seem to communicate. This could include not talking about problems at all, constantly fighting about the same issues, or feeling fearful to bring up sensitive topics with your partner.
2. Your sex life has significantly changed, or you have recently begun to argue about money. Sex and money are rarely just about sex and money. Problems regarding sex and money are often linked to deeper issues, including emotional intimacy.
3. An issue that won't go away. If you and your partner keep having the same issue, despite talking endlessly about it, it might be time to seek counseling. Common issues that recur for couples are: past infidelity, differences in parenting, how to manage money, and past traumas (both outside and inside the relationship).
4. You or your partner have been contemplating breaking up/divorcing. This is a sign that one or both of you are unhappy in the relationship, and the issues are not being resolved.
If you and your partner still care for each other and are willing to work on problems in the relationship, counseling can be very effective. It is neither a miracle cure nor quick. Keep in mind how long the problems have taken to develop.
If you would like to consult with me about whether couples therapy might be helpful for you, feel free to contact me.