Updated: Mar 29
Couples present to relationship or marriage counselling at different stages in their relationship, and for various issues. So, when is a good time to consider couples counselling?
You and your partner have decided to tie the knot, ready to plunge into a committed relationship. As you prepare for this big step in your relationship you are wondering about the longevity of your marriage. Premarital counselling prepares couples for marriage and the challenges that come with it; ensuring that you and your partner continue to have a healthy and strong relationship. Research shows that couples who get premarital counselling have better marriage satisfaction, and reduced rates of divorce compared to couples who do not. Premarital counselling can help couples to develop healthy communication and conflict management skills, plan for their future together, and provides an opportunity to address possible issues that may lead to divorce or dissatisfaction in the marriage.
So, you have been married or been in a de facto relationship for some years, with its usual ups and downs, but how do you know if your relationship is sinking? Many couples continue living in an unhappy relationship, hoping that the problems may resolve in time.
If you recognise any of these warning\ signs in your relationship, it might be a good time to seek relationship counselling.
1. If you notice that you are communicating less with each other:
Those meaningful conversations you used to have with your partner on topics of common interests or discussing your plans, or just sharing your day in detail with each other are no longer happening. Perhaps you feel that the things that connected the two of you together no longer connect you. Or you find that you have no interest or motivation to engage in a conversation with each other.
2. More conflicts and arguments:
If you have frequent arguments that go unresolved, and there is a build-up of resentment.
3. Lack of intimacy in the relationship:
The spark that you once had with each other is not there anymore. This includes both physical and emotional intimacy.
4. You give less time and energy for your relationship:
Perhaps you would rather stay late at work or spend time with friends or on your hobbies. Or you focus all your attention on the children, giving less and less attention and time to each other.
5. Trust Issues
You feel the trust you once had in each other is eroding slowly. Trust issues in a relationship can develop due to many reasons, such as dishonesty, gambling or addictions that lead to lying to your spouse, affair or infidelity, or a fear of abandonment.
Sometimes a traumatic event, major life transitions, a significant loss in the family, or other external stressors could cause strain on the marriage or relationship. If these issues are not dealt with properly, it may lead to long term marital problems.
To stay or to leave?
Sometimes couples are at a turning point in their marriage and feel ambivalent about whether they continue to stay in an unhappy marriage or to leave. Both staying and leaving can have pros and cons for the couple, hence it is a good idea to seek couple therapy to explore what might be the best outcome for you.
As a couples therapist, I do not tell you whether you should be together or not. I guide you to consider your options and support both of you to explore the current issues, to bring some clarity to them so that you could both make an informed decision on your marriage.
Counselling is also an important step if you are in the process of separating or separated. It helps with processing the grief and loss of the relationship, navigating the future uncertainties of post-separation life, and developing a healthy co-parenting relationship if you have children. Post-separation counselling or divorce counselling can help you find ways to support your children through these changes and address the patterns that contributed to the relationship breakdown so that you do not repeat them in your co-parenting relationship.
Registered Clinical Counsellor
Couples Counselling is available at Lotus Bloom Counselling.
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Or call Shobana on 0434 947 255 for a free confidential chat.
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