Feb 142016 3 Responses

10 Signs You DON’T Need Marriage Counseling

At some point in their relationship, every couple could probably benefit from marriage counseling. We all go through difficult seasons of life in which getting the perspective of a professional can be useful. While marriage counseling is not a magic bullet, it is the most likely path for a couple to find improvement. Without intervention, a relationship is unlikely to improve.

But not every couple needs marriage counseling. Even if problems exist, some issues can be navigated without outside assistance. (See: What to Do If Your Spouse Refuses Counseling)

If these 10 things are true, you don’t need marriage counseling:

1. You feel heard, understood, and valued even when you disagree. No couple agrees on everything. Even the best couples have issues which they cannot solve. While finding a resolution is an important goal, it is more important that both spouses can listen and learn in such a way that the other spouse feels heard, understood, and valued. If your spouse doesn’t listen to your viewpoint, doesn’t do the work to understand your thoughts, and does not make you feel valued in the midst of the conversation, you probably need to seek outside help for your relationship.

2. None of the three As are present. This is an easy one. If any addiction, abuse, or adultery is present in your relationship, you must seek help. You can’t ignore or deny it. You also can’t fix it on your own. All three A’s have to do with the offender, but both spouses will need to seek counseling to find a new path to action.

3. As a couple, you share the ability to learn new skills and apply them to your marriage. A couple that can learn and apply their knowledge to their relationship has unlimited growth potential. When they have a problem, they recognize it, learn about it, and change it. If you can do this, a book or seminar could replace counseling.

4. You’re moving toward (or already have) your financial house in order. Money can create a great deal of tension in marriage. Many couples could benefit from having an outside adviser call out their bad spending habits and assist them in making wise financial choices. If you you are living off of less than you make, are saving for both short term and long term needs, and are giving generously, you don’t need help. If that is not your current path, counseling may help.

5. You trust that your spouse has your best interest at heart and you feel free to reveal anything to them. When trust is present, a healthy relationship is highly likely. However, when trust is lost, so is the likelihood of relational health. A great test of trust is how willing a person is to openly communicate with their spouse. Secrets are a sign that trust is absent. Where trust is absent, help is needed. (See: Never Call a Pastor for Premarital Counseling)

6. Your marriage is not negatively impacted by outside relationships. A healthy couple is self-defined. Their relationship is solely determined by their own choices. A couple needs help if outside forces are having a negative impact on their relationship. Friends, family, and in-laws can wreck havoc on a marriage if the couple doesn’t create proper boundaries. When in-laws hurt a marriage, it is the responsibility of the couple (not the in-laws) to learn how to prevent the negative impact. (See: What Every Mother-in-Law Should Know)

7. You respect and feel respected by your spouse. An absence of respect is a major red-flag of marital danger. It’s possible the lack of respect is proper. We can make choices which rightly causes others to lose respect for us. However, when respect is absent, the reasons need to be uncovered. If you respect your spouse, and feel respect from them, you have the ability to overcome many obstacles.

8. Despite an occasional rut, your sex life is satisfying and enjoyable. No one’s sex life is perfect. Everyone experiences various seasons of great fulfillment and times of sexual frustration. While every couple has ebbs and flows, if the overall description of your sex life is satisfying and you enjoy your sexual relationship, you don’t need counseling.

9. You believe that your marriage is headed in the right direction. This may be the simplest question, but one of the most productive in telling if counseling is necessary or not. It doesn’t matter so much of where your relationship is, but which direction your relationship is headed. If you have a great relationship, but things are getting worse–get help now. If you have had some tough times, but you are growing and headed in a good direction–keep doing what you are doing.

10. You feel a deep sense of appreciation and gratitude for your spouse. Few things characterize danger in a marriage like entitlement. If you feel as though you are entitled to your spouse or the work they do to make the marriage work, you are on the verge of making bad decisions. On the other hand, if you feel grateful for your spouse and appreciate their presence in your life, you are likely to choose wisely. (See: 13 Questions to Gauge if You Need Marriage Counseling)

Marriage counseling rarely hurts. I would much rather someone seek counseling and not need it than someone avoid counseling when it is their only hope for improvement. While we might all go through a season in which we need help, not every couple needs to seek counseling. If these ten things are true in your relationship, be grateful for what you have and do the work necessary to keep improving.

3 Responses to 10 Signs You DON’T Need Marriage Counseling

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