Here’s a question I get a lot: Is our marriage at the point where we need some counseling?
I often joke and say, if you’re asking me, it probably does. And that’s a loaded question…every situation is unique. But let me see if I can offer a few thoughts that might provide some clarity. Just like the fact that our wedding rings tarnish and show signs of wear over the years, so our marriage relationships can get worn and weary and show signs of neglect if they’re not routinely taken care of.
So how do you know if your marriage is just in a rough season or if you’re experiencing something much more significant?
Here’s a few behaviors you might want to be on the lookout for:
1. Your communication goes silent. The foundation of all relationships is the ability to communicate with each other effectively. If you stop sharing your thoughts and feelings or don’t feel safe enough to communicate what you’re truly thinking, you’re probably entering a downward spiral that needs to be addressed.
2. Constant negative communication. Every couple has arguments, and conflicts are a regular part of life. As I’ve shared on many occasions, if you don’t have conflict, you probably don’t care. But if your communication is nothing but negative towards each other and doesn’t end in positive resolution, you’re probably laying the foundation of disdain and contempt and anger towards each other that warrants some professional intervention.
3. Nonexsistent physical intimacy. While frequency may change over the years, tapering off completely or having no physical intimacy is not normal.
4. You’ve had or you’re thinking about having an affair. We’ve seen many couples overcome affairs through heartfelt forgiveness, rebuilding trust, and the reestablishment of emotional, physical and spiritual intimacy. But this is going to take time and hard work…and more often than not, the guidance of a third party to navigate this challenging past. Proverbs 11:14 states “where there is no guidance a people falls, but in the abundance of counselors, there is safety.”
If this list hits a little too close to home for you, we’d love to chat further with you about marriage intensive retreats that we offer or help you get in touch with a professional counselor or pastor to help.