signs you need marriage counseling

3 Signs You Need to Go to Couples Counseling

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My wife and I were married for seven years before we hit our first major impasse. We just couldn’t see eye to eye. She wanted to move closer to her family. I did not. Neither of us would budge, and it got ugly. There are signs you need marriage counseling and that is one of them. So in an act of desperation, we asked a friend we trusted if he knew any good counselors. He gave us a name and we made an appointment. It is one of the best things we’ve ever done.

Not every couple needs to see a counselor, but let’s face it: If around 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, a lot more of us would be served by counseling than are willing to admit. The problem is often pride. We assume we can figure it out. Only “really messed up” couples need counselors. You may be right, but you also may be one of those “really messed up” couples. We were, and admitting it likely saved our marriage. Here are 3 signs you need marriage counseling.

A healthy marriage is one in which you feel as though you are partnering together toward a common goal.

1. You see your spouse as an obstacle rather than a partner.

Marriage done well involves a shared sense of purpose. You’re certainly not the same person and you will have different goals for different aspects of your life. However, a healthy marriage is one in which you feel as though you are partnering together toward a common goal. If you feel more like your spouse is an obstacle than a partner, that’s among the signs you need marriage counseling.

2. You keep having the same conversation.

Many problems in marriage boil down to an inability to communicate well. There are lots of reasons why this happens, but it can be a real gift to have a third party mediator who is trained in helping people communicate, to help you process where you are missing each other. If you and your wife keep circling back to the same issue, that’s also among the signs you need marriage counseling.

3. You’re fantasizing about having an affair.

Most affairs aren’t primarily about lust. They’re about loneliness, disconnection, or some other felt need that isn’t being met. If you find yourself fantasizing about someone other than your wife, that’s a big red flag that you and your wife have some intimacy issues to work through. You may or may not have any idea what they are, but that’s a clear sign you may need marriage counseling.

Far too many of us push counseling off as a last resort for when things get really bad. However, this is like waiting to exercise until the doctor tells you that if you don’t, you’ll likely die early. Sure, better late than never. But you can save yourself a whole lot of pain and are far more likely to have a healthy marriage if you are proactive and seek help when you see these signs. It takes courage to ask for help. But it’s the only way to get it.

Sound off: What are other signs that a couple might need marriage counseling?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Who would be the first couple of people you would go to for advice?”