Regardless of how healthy the relationship, many people seek marriage counseling with a trained therapist to improve their marriages and committed
relationship - even when their relationship is not unduly distressed. Experiencing relationship distress, however, represents a different state from the
ups and downs in life that most people experience. In distressed relationships and marriages, people feel fundamentally dissatisfied with their partner.
Disappointment in the relationship does not just come and go; it is a constant companion. Most frequently, couples with high levels of marital
distress fight a good deal and their fights don’t lead to resolution, but simply a sense of being worn out. Or they may not fight, but simply feel
completely disconnected. People stop doing nice things for each other, they stop communicating, and things tend to go from bad to worse. Frequent
arguments that don’t get resolved, loss of good feelings, and loss of friendship, sex and vitality are other signs that a marriage is distressed. Other
signs, such as contempt, withdrawal, violence, and a complete loss of connection signal that a marriage is in desperate trouble and that it is at high
risk for divorce. And you need not be legally married to have “marital distress.” Serious, long-term, committed relationships can experience these kinds
of major problems, too.
Sometimes marital problems are purely about problems in the relationship such as communication, solving problems, arguing, intimacy, and sex.
These kinds of problems often begin with partners simply not having a good sense of how to be married and how to communicate and provide support.
Other times couples may do well for a while, particularly in the earliest stages of their romance, but they are not ready for the longer-term tasks in
marriage. Studies of couples show that while the risks for marital distress and divorce are highest early in marriage, these risks also grow just after
the transitions that occur when couples begin to have children and when the children reach adolescence.
Other times, marital problems are directly the result of individual problems, such as substance abuse. And marriages can even seem to be going well,
but one shattering event like an extramarital affair will throw a marriage into distress. Marital distress has powerful effects on partners; often leading to
great sadness, worry, a high level of tension, and problems such as depression. If prolonged, it even has been shown to have direct effect on physical
health. The effect on families is also profound, especially when conflict is high. Children raised in high conflict homes tend to have many more problems
than other children. And once marriages are distressed, a progression begins that easily becomes a cascade downward, ultimately leading to the
ending of a marriage.
The good news is that there are effective treatments for couples' distress. Given a willingness to work on a relationship, most people can make their
marriages satisfying again. No one begins as a perfect partner. Marriage depends on a number of skills, such as being able to understand yourself,
understand your partner, fight well, problem solve, and negotiate differences. Sometimes patterns we learned in our families growing up are not effective,
but are carried over to a marriage. And sometimes the stresses of life make it difficult to stay happily married.
Treatment for marital distress is in part building or rebuilding the skills that work in marriage, such as learning to communicate and problem solve, and
how to fight without engaging in too much hurt. Partly, marriage counseling is about partners working to see each other as people, to understand where
they are coming from, and to negotiate those differences that can be negotiated and accept those differences that cannot. Couples all have issues that
stay with them; the key is to build a process that can help find a way to talk about those issues, to find solutions, and not have the problems that
emerge in life become overwhelming.
Marriage counselors and therapists have special training in couple therapy. They know how to help couples have a sense of progress even as they
struggle with difficult issues. There are many kinds of effective couple therapy. Some promote skills and practice, others look more at the past and how
things got this way; most combine the two. If you have a marital problem, call a marriage counselor and make an appointment. Finding a marriage
counselor is easy, but use caution. Be sure the person has specific experience in couple therapy, as marriage and family therapists do.
Here are 5 reasons to get marriage counseling:
#1 - Marriage counseling acts as a form of healing for troubled marriages and as a preventative measure for many large problems that may loom in a
couple's future. Marriage counseling is worth considering if you're experiencing problems in your marriage or intimate relationship, or even if you're a
couple simply looking to secure your relationship before marriage.
#2 - Marriage counseling can help partners find a number of workable solutions that may help their marriage. From infidelity to simple communication
problems, a good therapist can help you figure out how to beat the odds and begin to heal your relationship.
#3 - It is always helpful to consult with someone objective and distanced from your problems. Friends and family members may make good comforters
and sounding boards, but they are not necessarily biased. An objective marriage counselor sees both sides and attempts helps to reconcile them.
#4 - You married or committed to the person you're with because you love them; no matter what they've done, it's worth trying at least once to save. To
this affect, marriage counseling can help you determine how much your vested, and indeed, whether you truly want to be with or without them in your
#5 - If you have children, marriage counseling offers an alternative option to divorce or separation. While some marriages simply don't work, an equal
number suffer from misunderstandings, lack of trust and other obstacles; if you have children, these problems are compounded. Marriage counseling
can be an excellent option for figuring out one, if you can save your marriage, and two, how to handle questions, concerns and problems your children
Copyright 2007-2012, Stephanie Burchell, PhD, LMFT Dallas, Texas
All rights reserved.
Marriage Counseling Dallas I Couples Therapy I Pre-Marital Counseling I Family Therapy I Life Coach I Psychotherapy
Stephanie Burchell, PhD, LMFT, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Counselor, Psychotherapist and Life Coach in Dallas, TX provides marriage counseling,
pre-marital counseling and preparation, relationship counseling, life coaching, and individual psychotherapy.
Dallas marriage counseling, couples therapy, premarital preparation, family therapy, divorce, psychotherapy, depression, anxiety, life coach
marriage & couples counseling
stephanie burchell, PhD, LMFT
2317 Routh Street, Ste. C, Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 534 - 6177