Posts Tagged ‘marriage counseling’

When Is It Too Late For Marriage Counseling?

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

As relationship therapists, we don’t play god and we don’t tell people it’s too late to save their marriage. However, here are some factors at play to consider when you are thinking about marriage counseling.

Falling “out of love” is not necessarily the reason to end a marriage. Love is not just a feeling, it is sometimes a choice. Oftentimes when a couple reconnects, love comes back. However, there has to be a desire and willingness to work on connection. If one or both partners are not willing to consider and try to connect, to try to be vulnerable and open to their partner, marriage counseling will not be of help.

Sometimes, a couple comes in and the resentment and anger in the room is so palpable, you can cut it with a knife. They proceed to scream and accuse each other, often times talking at the same time. Many times, this happens because the anger and resentment have gone on for so long that it is hard to move past it.

It is very deep and each feels justified in feeling the way they do. It would have been much better had they come in sooner.

Related to that, some partners in a marriage feel contempt for one another. It is a very toxic feeling and there is usually a sense of justification for feeling this way. It is hard to move from contempt. Usually with contempt comes defensiveness and criticism of the other. With some couples there is such a flood of these feelings that there is nowhere for a therapist to even intervene, what goes on at home, takes place in our office. This is a very tough situation to shift.

I sometimes see couples where one partner recoils if the other even attempts any kind of affection. This sense of almost disgust at the idea of being touched by your spouse is a very discouraging sign for a couples therapist.

It is important to pick up on signs of trouble in a marriage before they become so entrenched that the shift becomes practically impossible.

How To Get My Spouse Into Couples Counseling?

Monday, June 13th, 2016

I get asked this question at least twice a week. I will often get a call from a prospective new client asking me about all the ins and outs of marriage counseling and couples’ therapy only at the end I would hear them say: “Let me talk to my wife/husband. And by the way how do I get them to come to see you?”

I am, frankly, at a loss about what to tell them. While there are still people in this day and age who shirk from therapy, most of us do not see it as a stigma anymore. More often than not, the other partner feels it’s too late.

Many times, they, themselves, suggested couple’s therapy for a long while to which there was a negative response. And now that the relationship is too far gone, they simply do not wish to give in to the request of their partner who hurt them for too long or they do not want to “work” on their relationship.

There are also those situations when a partner who is resisting therapy, simply has stuff that they do not want to talk about and don’t want to be on the spot by a therapist. Typically, there is either a secret or they simply do not want to talk about what is truly on their mind and are concerned that they will not have a choice when inside a therapist’s office.

By the way, most of the time, I don’t hear again from those callers who need to talk to their partner. So I do not have a magic answer to those asking this question. I suggest talking to him or her and tell them you found a therapist to work with, which shows motivation to get help. Be honest and vulnerable about fears of losing each other in the absence of support and how that would affect you, and what that would mean to you.

In choosing that route, I urge to be vulnerable and empathic and not hold back on expressing emotion. It may or may not make a difference, but when you want to save your relationship, and you feel remorseful, it is important to go all out.

I also suggest reading Sue Johnson’s “Hold me Tight” and John Gottman’s “7 Principles for Making Marriage Work.”  These books are written by great therapists in the field of Couples Therapy and may offer some hope to an otherwise defeated partner.