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Relationships & Family Guide

Cary Cook BSN RN

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Marriage Counseling Advocacy Sheet

By EmpowHER

Many women dream of the perfect relationship with their perfect match. However, anyone in a committed relationship could probably tell you it’s not always easy. It even can be hard work to keep it together at times. But you don’t need to be in utter marital turmoil to seek out the counsel of a marriage therapist. Many happy partnerships use couples counseling and therapy to enrich their bond and increase intimacy.

However, if you are going through a rough patch, you may be experiencing feelings of disconnect with your mate, disappointment, you may fight a lot, have communication issues, or just avoid each other completely. If one spouse is unwilling to engage in therapy to try and help get over the hump, you don't need to live in silence; you could still choose to seek out support. Here are some questions you may be asking, and some things you may discuss with your doctor or therapist:

  • How do I know if we need marital counseling? The decision to seek out the help of a trained therapist or counselor is a personal one. A key, however, may be to consider the frequency of any issues, and decide if therapy may help. Couples with seemingly no issues may even benefit from therapy to help solidify their bond further. However, if you are having problems, some things you may be going through might include:

•    Communication problems
•    Sexual difficulties
•    Conflicts about raising children, or blended families
•    Substance abuse
•    Financial problems
•    Anger
•    Infidelity
•    Divorce
•    Domestic abuse (don’t be afraid to seek emergency support from a shelter or police)

  • How long do we need to attend sessions? Some couples can benefit from just a couple sessions, while others may need months to solidify their relationship and get it going on the right track.
  • What will we discuss in sessions? Your therapist or counselor may start off by asking you a question to consider, or will ask you what you want to discuss. You may focus on anything from communication, to spicing up you sex life, or learning new problem solving techniques.
  • How do we find a therapist that’s right for us? While it may be uncomfortable to ask friends and/or family for recommendations, your family doctor or church may be able to make some suggestions for finding the right solution for you and your significant other. Many communities also offer Relationship Enhancement Programs to couples regardless of the status of the relationship.
  • How much improvement can I reasonably expect with treatment? Chances are, your treatment will be a process and things will not change overnight. You should give it time, and do all you can at home to help things along so you can reach your goals. It takes certain skills to be in a long-term relationship, and therapy will help to build those skills. Still, some couples attend marital counseling and realize that the relationship is beyond help and decide to divorce. The choice is up to you and your spouse or significant other.


This information is not meant to be a replacement for talking with your doctor or a licensed therapist or counselor. Talk with health care providers to get the full picture for your particular case.

Resources:
www.mayoclinic.com Marriage Counseling
www.aamft.org AAMFT Consumer Update Marital Distress

Do you have a question about marriage, family, relationships, or sex? Check out EmpowHER’s pages devoted to those topics. Sign-up, post a question, share your story, connect with other women in our community and feel EmpowHERed!

Christine Jeffries is a writer/editor for work and at heart, and lives in a home of testosterone with her husband and two sons. Christine is interested in women’s health and promoting strong women.

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