Today’s guest blogger, my friend Dr. Matthew Turvey, has some words of wisdom to share with us about marriage counseling. I hope this information will be helpful the next time you and your spouse hit a bump in the road.
Thanks for letting me share a few ideas with your readers, Mark. Hopefully these simple ideas can help a few couples. You know you could use marriage counseling if a) you’re married, and b) you’re breathing. Let’s debunk a few myths about marriage counseling. Nobody bites your head off. You don’t lose any body parts. Despite all claims to the contrary, it can be extremely painless. And guys, you won’t lose your man card.
There are numerous types of marriage counseling out there, and all sorts of marriage counselors. Marriage counseling is not an admission of weakness, failure, or wimpyhood. It can be – actually, it probably should be – exactly the opposite. Realizing you should begin marriage counseling takes guts, a can-do attitude, and it means you take your responsibilities seriously.
Fish don’t know they’re wet. They’re in that little fishbowl and can’t get an outside perspective. If you’re married, you can’t see what your relationship looks like from outside. You need a different perspective. This is what a good marriage counselor can provide. With this in mind, here are four ways to know if you can benefit from marriage counseling.
1. If you’ve never been to a counselor
I can 99.99% guarantee you’ll benefit from marriage counseling. Try it out at least once. Get that outside perspective on how you’re doing. Marriage counselors can give you the equivalent of your annual physical to make sure your relationship is on track and running smoothly. They may even give you some ideas that help you take a good relationship and make it great. Like with most things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
2. If you’re facing major transitions
Are you expecting your first child? Looking at a major relocation? Is one of you going back to school or starting a new job? Relationships tend to find equilibrium when nothing is acting on them from the outside. When things change, however, stress can increase. When stress increases, how do you deal with that? A good marriage counselor can help you navigate these waters and help you find your new normal.
3. If you’re spinning your wheels
Feel like you’re dealing with the same problem(s) over and over again, but not really getting anywhere? This is where marriage counseling excels and helps you learn new ways of communicating, of framing the issues, and of recognizing what’s most essential in your marriage. Get to a counselor now; do not pass “Go.” You and your spouse need to take care of these issues so your marriage can be what it used to be – something you loved coming home to, where you felt respected, safe, appreciated, and loved.
4. If your spouse suggests it
You may not think you need or would even benefit from marriage counseling. That’s fine. But the first time your spouse says it’s time to go in for a little visit, then it’s time to go. They’re not saying they want counseling to put you down, make you feel like a failure, or to emasculate you. They want the marriage to work and to thrive. Work with them on this. I’ll bet deep down you want the same thing.
If you’re not sure, take a moment and ask your spouse to evaluate your relationship. I did that with my wife Susan, and it was very helpful. She holds me accountable to Practice What I Preach. Our marriage is stronger as a result. I hope you and your spouse will consider doing the same.