Have you thought that you may need marriage counseling?
On their wedding day, most couples expect to “Live Happily Ever After” simply because they love each other. However, within a short time after the Honeymoon is over, most couples notice that their love has dwindled. They are confused about what has happened. They feel disillusioned and profoundly sad.
Below are five signs that can help you decide whether you may need help to reverse the decline of your relationship and to create a realistic, loving, respectful, joyful and sustainable marriage.
Demanding your Partner Change
When difficulties and/or differences arise in your relationship, you may find yourselves arguing about what has happened. You may demand that, if your partner loved you, he/she would agree with you and/or change. You may accuse your partner of becoming a different person he/she was when you were dating. You may be critical of the bad habits that you hadn’t noticed earlier in your relationship. Such negative responses generally produce distance, which leads to more distance. Both partners usually feel confused, frustrated, disappointed, angry and/or very sad.
Refusal To Discuss Difficulties
Conversely, when difficulties and/or differences arise in your relationship, one (or both of you) may refuse to talk about the situation, hoping that things will get better over time. You may think that your partner will recognize that he/she is responsible for the problem and will immediately and easily change because of their love for you. However, ignoring problems rarely resolves issues. Rather, often the issues seem to get worse. You may feel disillusioned and hopeless about being able to find mutually acceptable resolutions. Isolation, cynicism, bitterness and resentment may set in.
Focusing On Your Partner’s Negative Traits
As your issues and differences are not addressed, you may develop a loss of admiration, respect and connection. You may notice yourself focusing on your partner’s negative traits, forgetting the wonderful attributes that drew you to him/her. You may wonder if you really know who your partner is. You may find yourself collecting reasons to leave the relationship.
Lessening of Joy, Laughter and Happiness
As the relationship continues to spiral downward, you will probably notice a dramatic lessening of joy, laughter and general happiness. Eating together and “hanging out” is no longer fun. Apathy sets in. You notice that it’s become difficult to agree on activities that you both enjoy. You may develop individual interests and friends; and you may spend more time at work.
Lack of Connection and Affection
As the relationship worsens, you notice a lack of sweet connection and affection. You may doubt that either of you ever really loved each other. Although both of you may long for closeness and connection, neither of you have effective ideas of how to create warmth and passion. Both of you may feel alone, empty and withdrawn.
Unfortunately many divorces occur simply because couples never learned the skills it takes to create a successful and sustainable marriage. They don’t know that they can find ways to bridge their differences and resolve their problems so as to prevent the above situations.
Through counseling, couples can learn how to: discover realistic expectations; manage negative reactivity; develop mutually respectful communication; understand and validate differences; negotiate reasonable and sustainable accommodations; encourage individual personal growth; and nurture each other. Armed with information and skills and with renewed hopeful focus, couples can develop compassionate appreciation and enduring love for their partners.