4 Ways to Know When it’s Time for Marriage Counseling



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 (read more tomorrow on how to find a good one).  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 smooth.  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.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Ronald Lawson

    Mark, I request that you remove the pin-light cameras from my home :-).  Seriously, you speak to very real issues that my lovely bride and I continue to struggle with. Thanks for the sound advice and keep putting the pencil to the paper.  May FATHER continues to richly bless you, Mark. 

  • http://www.FamilyMinute.com/ Mark Merrill

    Ronald, those are certainly very kind words. One thing that I really strive for is to share truths about marriage and parenting with others. Thanks for your encouragement.

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  • http://twitter.com/Theramatch15 Andrew Scott

     I could relate entirely to what you were saying. You must of been reading my mind

  • Kelsey

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  • http://www.MarkMerrill.com/ Mark Merrill

    Your comment has been deleted because it violates my comment policy.


  • Jose

    Its subsidiaries collectively have been married for 19 years and she kicked me out of house. Because I am not what is wants and says she is not in love with me anymore. And not happy with me. I told her we need to go marriage counseling. She said she don’t want to try.

  • http://www.MarkMerrill.com/ Mark Merrill

    I’m sorry to hear that Jose. Counseling might help you even if she won’t go.

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  • Jeff

    I would like to get counseling to strengthen our marriage. my wife is strongly against this. she is very introverted and doesn’t feel comfortable talking with strangers; especially about deep things. any suggestions? I have never pushed, just brought it up in passing. thanks for your insight

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  • Tanya Lawson

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