When You Need Marriage Counseling

You might be asking yourself if or when you need marriage counseling. In my office, I often hear one member of the couple say, "Well, I'm coming because s/he wants me to but I don't really think our problems are that bad" or, "We should have done this a long time ago but we thought we could handle it on our own."

Most of us go on autopilot in our marriages. We unconsciously take what we learned from our own parents, what we see or read or experienced in our last relationships. We say things to ourselves like, "everyone argues" or "s/he doesn't mean to do that" or "it'll get better, we just need to..."

We tend to avoid marriage problems for the most part, hoping they will go away. The truth is, most of us develop a high tolerance for either misery or a "so-so" relationship. So, ask yourself these questions to see if you need marriage counseling:

1. Have you tried to change things but you keep repeating the same patterns?

2. Have the problems been going on for longer than 6 months to a year?

3. Are your arguments escalating into violence or verbal battles you never thought you'd engage in?

4. Has an event happened (like an affair, a death or job loss) that has added a lot of stress on your relationship?

5. Do you have the relationship of your dreams?

If the answers to these questions start to get under your skin a little, then perhaps marriage counseling is the next step.

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