Despite what we see in the movies, love and marriage is not always easy.

What comes after ‘happily ever after’ is complex – and a different experience for everyone. Truly committing your life to someone is always going to require patience, understanding and compromise.

Therefore – all marriages require some element of work. This is always going to be the case, no matter how perfect a relationship may seem.

But how do you know if your marriage is at the point where you need outside help?

Here at Online PsychCare, we believe every marriage could benefit from couples therapy of some sort. Maintaining positive mental health is like maintaining a car – every now and then you need a service to check the levels and assess for any problems. Regular maintenance ensures you can treat complications before they become a serious issue.

The same applies for a marriage. However, we understand this is not always possible – and some couples need more help than others.

With that in mind, here are some signs you might need counselling for marital problems.

Communication Breakdowns

There’s no denying it – communication is absolutely crucial to a successful relationship. Without it, you are essentially living separate lives, with no insight into how the other person is feeling.

Some common signs communication may be a problem in your marriage are:

  • When you’re having the same arguments over and over – or if there are ongoing issues that won’t seem to go away
  • When your interactions are always negative, which generally indicates there is a gap in communication, or the message isn’t being received
  • When the silence is predominant

Our team has online Psychologists who are trained in Couples Therapy. We are uniquely qualified to recognise when your communication habits need to be adjusted.

We can teach you how to convey your thoughts and feelings more effectively and provide strategies to improve your communication skills.

Honesty and Trust

The two most important pillars in a relationship. It’s very important to feel you are able to be honest about your feelings – and trust the other person to do the right thing by you.

If there are secrets in your marriage, you need to ask yourself some important questions:

  • Why can’t I share this secret with my partner?
  • Why does my partner feel they can’t share their secrets with me?
  • What is stopping me from being completely honest?
  • Do I feel safe enough in this relationship to voice my feelings?
  • Do I trust my partner won’t judge me for what I’m about to say?

Without trust, it is very difficult for a marriage to work. That said, if there are trust issues in your relationship – this doesn’t mean it’s over. It just means work needs to be done to establish why there are trust problems – and how it can be rebuilt.

Our Couples Counsellor will create a safe, judgement free space, where you and your partner can air your concerns and fears. We will work with you to ensure transparency and openness, to get to the heart of what’s going on. We also have techniques to rebuild trust, including helping to negotiate responsibilities that may arise as a result of making a new commitment within the relationship.

Making Time For Each Other

An extremely common challenge we hear about from our clients is quality time – or lack thereof.

They have difficulty bonding or creating intimacy because they lead busy lives and they struggle to find the time to connect.

This is common and not specifically a sign there is something wrong – it is just a matter of ensuring each person in the relationship makes a commitment to be more present, and potentially rearrange their priorities. But if the desire to spend time together is mutual – it can be easily fixed.

But a true red flag is when someone doesn’t have that desire – when you don’t want to make time for your partner – or when you feel your partner refuses to make time for you.

It all comes down to the intent. If the intent to make time for each other is there, that’s a great sign. But if you genuinely don’t want to spend time with your partner, there are generally deeper issues at play that need to be addressed.

Physical Intimacy

We have deliberately useed the term ‘physical intimacy’ instead of ‘sex’ here, for a very important reason.

Sex as a barmometer for the ‘success’ of a relationship is a tricky concept. For example, if you’re exchanging stories with a friend, who insinuates that the fact you’re only having sex once a month with your partner means there is a ‘problem’ – this can lead to a lot of unecessary angst.

We cannot stress enough – everyone is different. Some people are just more sexual – while there are also hormone levels at play, alongside personal self esteem issues and a huge range of other factors. It’s very common for people who have been together for a long time to see a decrease in the frequency of sex.

Instead – focus on what is typical for you – and don’t get concerned unless there is a noticeable change in your ‘normal.’

It’s also really important to understand that each person or couple explores intimacy in different ways. Showing affection doesn’t always translate to having sex. There are other valid expressions of love – like cuddling, or any real form of physical touch, like a casual squeeze of the shoulder of a quick kiss as you’re running out the door.

These are the kinds of questions a Couples Therapist will ask. They will then work to ascertain why there might be any issues with physical intimacy – and suggest safe (and fun!) techniques to explore this aspect of your relationship.

Are you Ready for Couples Therapy?

When both partners are willing and able to do whatever it takes for the relationship, that is an excellent sign.

When it comes down to it, if there are shared values – and each person in the relationship respects the other – there is always hope. Respect is of the utmost importance in the journey towards a happy relationship.

But it’s a two way street – each person has to want to participate, and want to see the relationship succeed.

All relationships require commitment. So you must ask yourself – are you and your partner willing to put in the effort required to make it work?

If so, please get in touch. Our online Psychology service for couples is tailored to provide you with the tools you need to rebuild and move forward.

If you are experiencing a crisis please call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or visit 1800RESPECT if you’re looking for more support.

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