Let’s first start by understanding what marriage counseling is, and what goes on in this process and during the sessions.
Marriage counseling involves both partners seeking professional help to address their relationship, whether to work on an existing conflict or to learn the art and science of relationships –in order to strengthen their marriage. The couple meets with a marriage counselor on a weekly or biweekly basis, and discuss openly their emotional and perhaps even sexual concerns. The marriage counselor will guide them to explore the strengths and weaknesses of their relationship, and psycho-educate them about healthy relationship skills that will help them improve the quality of their marriage. The couple might be even asked to practice these skills during the session and in between their meetings with the counselor.
Marriage counseling takes time. This time varies depending on the openness of the couple and the degree of their resistance to incorporate any necessary change, and the amount of baggage they carry into the relationship. It is also critical to address sexual matters; because a couple’s sexual relationship can give great insight into the emotional and mental struggles of a marriage. Rest assured that this is a confidential process, with no judgement, no taking sides, no advice. So find a counselor that you feel at ease with. Follow your gut feeling.
Marriages don’t follow a straight-line trajectory, and if they do then this is a strong sign that you need to seek immediate marriage counseling. If you are bored, feel numb, live a monotonous life, follow a very rigid daily routine, then you are in a dying marriage and might even lose a sense of yourself in such a relationship.
If your sex life is great but you just cannot seem to get along outside the bedroom, then you need professional help. It is very often the case that one or both partners feel satisfied sexually because they have lower expectations when it comes to sex, than in running their life together.
You can enjoy each other’s company, but your sex life is nowhere near satisfactory. Seek immediate marriage counseling, because it is only a matter of time before the negative emotions you carry from poor sex will transmit to your marriage.
Poor communication. This includes the whole spectrum from speaking out and not being heard or understood, to remaining quiet because you just do not know how to open up about this very sensitive topic. Marriage counseling will be a great platform to significantly improve your communication skills.
“We are so different; we have nothing in common.” This is a very common statement I hear in the office. Marriage counseling plays a major role in bridging the gap between couples on this matter.
Most marriages have their up and down phases. Strong couples know how to bring back the spark in their marriages. If you find yourself dragging in the valley, unable to pull your marriage up to the peak again, this is an alarm to seek marriage counseling.
Do you want to raise your kids in one way and your partner in another that you constantly fight over this issue? Are you unable to balance between your kids’ needs and your partner’s needs? Then seek marriage counseling.
Please do not wait until you have accumulated too much negativity into your marriage to seek marriage counseling. It is easier on you to strengthen your relationship than to rebuild it. It is easier to work out your “out of love” status, than to bear the consequences of the affair. It is easier to create a real and deep intimacy with your spouse than to live emotionally hungry. It is easier to have “hot” sex with your spouse than to deal with your vulnerabilities.
Rasha Salama is a relationship counselor with a Bachelor in Psychology and Masters in Counseling Psychology from AUC. Rasha has always had a passion for travelling and enjoys new adventures. In 2017, she founded the RE, the first couple retreat service in the Middle East with the aim of helping couples enhance their relationships.