Are the problems you’ve been trying to deal with getting worse? Do you seem to be fighting all the time or do you tend to avoid fights? Perhaps one of you wants to argue but the other refuses and so shuts down. Do you feel like you have communication issues that just don’t seem to improve no matter what you try? Perhaps you have been having these problems for a short period of time, or maybe they’ve been growing for many years.
Maybe you’ve read a few books or sought out previous marriage counseling. Perhaps you are asking yourself the question: Can my marriage be saved? Maybe you fear it cannot and it keeps you distracted and up at night. Maybe it feels like your spouse doesn’t really understand you or that they are constantly hounding you to clean the house or have sex more or to parent differently. Maybe you’ve done everything you know to do to improve your relationship problems, and you just don’t know what else there is to try.
The reason we laugh at a cartoon like this (and I hope you are laughing) is because it resonates! Not just perhaps with not-so-helpful marriage counseling you may have received, but also with just how tough intimate relationships can be. We get it! We’ve been there. Couples do the best they can, but the challenges and struggles of marriage can be too much at times to address productively without help. Your husband gets laid off, and you are going on month 5 and still no new job. Your son or daughter is diagnosed with ADHD and just hit middle school. You’ve lost interest in sex and feel you may not be attracted to your husband or wife anymore. Infidelity. Health crises. Your mother-in-law…Need I say more?
Knowing your problems are normal is just the beginning though. It’s an important beginning and can even take a bit of time for couples to really relax and accept the idea. When we feel like we’re not normal we tend to ruminate and obsess, trying to find ways to change things. But ruminating and obsessing seem to be the very things that keep the problems going for most couples. It can be extremely helpful to take your marriage problems to a marriage and family therapist, someone who has a lot of experience and specialized knowledge in relationship therapy and marital help.
When couples are looking for the right marriage and family therapist for them it is important to ask whether that therapist specializes in marriage counseling. The sad statistic is that about 80% of therapists say they work with couples when they have little to no training or supervision in helping people with marriage problems. Marriage counseling in Georgia is no different than this national average. Asking about a marriage counselor’s training and experience is an important initial question.
People who start marriage counseling, whether that’s online therapy or in office, with an experienced marriage and family therapist, can expect to get to the heart of the matter quickly. In my 21 years of working with couples, I have studied and practiced most of the field’s hot “evidence based” models, and I have found that something more is usually required for couples to make the long term change they desire. Marriage is complex and challenging and I believe requires something different from the standard encouragement toward date nights, expressing vulnerability, more sex, more communication, and so forth. Check out my article on medium.com if you want to learn more about me and my approach to marriage counseling: HERE
What if it’s just me who will come to marriage counseling?
That’s actually no problem. I know you may prefer for your spouse to come with you, but it really only takes one to get the ball rolling. When one spouse is willing and able to make a few changes, there is often a nice ripple effect. Of course, this isn’t guaranteed but is more common than you may think. Also, maybe your spouse would be willing to come in for 1-2 sessions at least. You never know if you don’t ask.
What about our hectic schedules? And fighting traffic in Georgia? We are stressed enough without having to make the extra effort to get a sitter, miss work, etc.
The good news is that I offer online therapy for my Georgia couples. Marriage counseling doesn’t have to add more stress when you can see me from the privacy of your own home. See my Online Therapy page for more information. It’s easier than you may think!
We’ve been to marriage counseling before and we ended up fighting the whole time we were there. I’m worried we may do this again.
This is an understandable fear. Not many of my couples argue the whole time during sessions. I don’t believe it is productive, so I work to help couples slow things down when an argument starts brewing. It’s great practice for couples. Of course, I can’t always stop a couple from arguing. If it becomes too much, then I usually recommend individual therapy for a time. If marriage counseling isn’t productive then I don’t want couples suffering unnecessarily when more progress could be made with individual work.
To learn more about marriage counseling and if we’re a good fit for counseling, please contact me.
"I've gotten more out of this hour than I did out of three with my psychiatrist!"