Love, Heartbreak

Does Marriage Counseling Work? How To Know If Couples Therapy Is Right For You

Photo: Slim Emcee (UG) the poet Truth_From_Africa_Photography on Unsplash
Does Marriage Counseling Work? How To Know If You Need Couples Therapy

Marriage counseling is perhaps one of the scariest, yet most rewarding, journeys you can embark on.

A lot of people wonder whether they really need marriage counseling. In fact, most of the time, it’s not until a relationship is really on the rocks that a couple considers seeking help in therapy from a mental health professional.

After all, society tends to view marriage counseling as some sort of indication a husband and wife have reached a low point — that only couples who aren’t meant to be together need couples therapy. And if you do need it, it often feels like you’ve already failed somehow.

This is wrong. Marriage counseling is one of the best ways to improve any relationship.

And you don’t actually even have that many issues to see a drastic improvement.

What is marriage counseling — and does it work?

As defined by Mayo Clinic, "Marriage counseling, also called couples therapy, is a type of psychotherapy. Marriage counseling helps couples of all types recognize and resolve conflicts and improve their relationships. Through marriage counselling, you can make thoughtful decisions about rebuilding and strengthening your relationship or going your separate ways."

RELATED: 13 Signs You Need Couples Counseling (And Why That's OK!)

Just like seeing a doctor, a marriage counselor is there to help you when you need help from an expert.

You wouldn’t avoid the hospital if you broke your leg — and you shouldn’t avoid seeing a marriage therapist when your marriage is broken somehow (or slowly falling apart).

Here are three ways to know if going to marriage counseling or couples therapy can work for you:

1. You can’t stop arguing.

This is perhaps one of the most common reasons couples go for counseling. When every single conversation seems to turn into a fight, and agreeing on something only happens once in a blue moon, it could be a good idea to get help.

When we get locked into arguments it tends to spark a vicious cycle, where we can’t seem to stop bickering. The more we bicker, the worse it gets and the resentment starts to build.

If this feels like you, now might be a good time to see a relationship therapist.

RELATED: 6 Ways To Bring Your A-Game To Marriage Counseling (And Save Your Relationship)

2. You’re unhappy with your relationship.

Marriage isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be! It’s normal to sometimes feel unsatisfied in your relationship, and feel like it’s hard work. Marriages are hard work.

However, if you’re lately finding yourself more unhappy than happy, it could be a sign that something needs to change.

Sometimes a marriage counsellor can help put things in perspective. Other times they can help you repair what has been broken. Getting a third persons viewpoint can really make all the difference.

3. You’re not having sex anymore and you can’t talk about it.

This is completely normal and doesn’t necessarily have to be a cause for concern. It’s okay to go short (or even long!) periods, without sex.

If this however, is something you feel you can’t broach with your partner, or your partner gets distant or moody when you try to bring it up, seeking help from a sex and relationship therapist can make a world of difference.

I know it may seem daunting to talk about something so private with someone you don’t know, but in my experience, after the first few minutes of the session, the nervousness subsides and it doesn’t feel quite as strange as you thought it might.

RELATED: 5 Critical Qs To Answer About Your Relationship Before Going To Couples Counseling

Seeing a marriage counsellor can be a big step for a lot of people.

If you feel like it might be something that could benefit you, try and get to it as quickly as possible. The more quickly you get help, the less entrenched you’ll be in your problems, and the easier they will be to solve.

Remember you’re not alone in finding marriage difficult and challenging. Marriage is difficult (even for marriage counsellors!). But there is help.

Rip off the plaster and do it now. Your marriage will thank you.

RELATED: 5 Signs You Need Couples Therapy Way More Than You Think You Do

Leigh Norén is a sex and relationship therapist specializing in low libido, who offers sex therapy, online courses and free resource materials. Her work has been featured in Glamour, Babe, the Tab, and more. For more information and free downloads, visit her website.