You may associate marriage counseling with trying to save your marriage from divorce. However, counseling is also helpful if you just want to bring more peace and happiness into your relationship when you are committed to each other for life. Marriage counseling can help you deal with life's hard blows as a couple so your relationship stays strong during the tough times as well as the good. Here are some ways counseling can help.
When Your Spouse Has An Affair
You may decide to stay with your spouse after he or she has an affair for the sake of the kids or because you are still in love and don't want to end the marriage. However, learning how to trust again is very hard and the affair may strain your relationship for years. Marriage counseling can help by showing your spouse things they do that undermine your trust and teaching them the things that help build it. A counselor can help you by teaching you how to truly forgive, deal with your mistrust, and build a relationship that is better and stronger than before.
When All You Do Is Argue
People react to conflict in different ways. Your reaction may be based in how you were raised or your culture. Some families have loud, frequent arguments and hold no grudges. Others may have an argument and not speak for years. You and your spouse have to be on the same page when it comes to communication and disagreements or one of you could feel hurt frequently or harbor resentment. Even if you both tolerate loud arguments, you have to think about the effect it has on your kids. A counselor can teach you how to communicate calmly and effectively so each side feels heard and understood. The result is more peace in your house that benefits your entire family and makes your life more orderly and calm.
When One Partner Has A Serious Life Issue
Stress has a big impact on a marriage. It can make you withdrawn, depressed, and irritable. Your spouse may not know how to handle you when everything they say or do causes you to erupt. Whether it is an impending loss of a job, financial overwhelm, death of a parent, or pressures of graduate school, a counselor can help your marriage stay afloat by teaching the partner under stress how to accept comfort and deal with their issues. The other partner can learn how to offer support without trying to fix everything and cause hard feelings. Other, more serious problems such as heavy drinking, drug use, or mental illness may require individual counseling and treatment as well as couple's counseling.
Marriage is an unfolding process that takes its twists and turns over the years. When you work hard at making your relationship supportive and happy for both partners, you're able to weather the tough times and come out stronger and more deeply in love. You'll not only be happier when you have the help of a marriage counselor to make your bond stronger, but you'll also be better role models for your kids so they have a good chance at happier marriages too.
For more information, reach out to a counselor at centers like the Atlanta Relationship Institute.