Getting Affordable Marriage Counseling: What It Could Mean For You
By: Abigail Boyd
Updated January 30, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Karen Devlin, LPC
If you're currently in a relationship and having difficulties, it's important to address the issue head-on. You and your partner have a history, and you have a connection that you don't want to lose, but it can sometimes be difficult to work through your problems alone. That's why getting affordable marriage counseling is one option to consider. After all, therapy is one way to get an outsider's opinion on what you're going through and start improving your relationship before it's too late.
Do You Need Couples Therapy?
Do you and your partner need couples therapy? There are some different ways that you can find out by taking a closer look at your current situation and decide whether or not therapy could be beneficial. The first thing you need to do is sit back and look at your situation as calmly as possible. Acting or reacting in the heat of the moment doesn't help anyone, but by looking at everything over a period, you can get a better understanding of your relationship.
Sometimes, especially after the initial honeymoon phase of a relationship has worn off and problems are encountered, couples begin to clash and blame each other. The more external stress a relationship faces, the more the couple may turn against each other, even if they don't realize it at the time. Marital problems often start as a seed and, over time, grow into a significant threat.
You or your spouse may be hesitant to seek therapy for one reason or another. Some people worry that choosing to go to marriage counseling means admitting there's something wrong with their relationship. The truth is no marriage is perfect, and it's much healthier to face your issues head-on and be proactive about solving them than pretending like they don't exist. The following questions can help you and your partner determine whether it would be a good idea to seek marriage counseling.
What Issues Are Bothersome?
Considering whether or not to seek out marriage counseling requires reflection. First, give an honest evaluation of what issues you feel have a detrimental effect on the relationship. If you find you and your partner argue or outright fight all the time, that's a red flag and a strong sign that you may want to seek counseling to sort through your issues and learn healthier ways of communicating. Sometimes, there aren't any glaring fights or clashes, but, instead, an underlying feeling of resentment and negativity that weakens your connection over time.
An opposing problem, but one that can be just as serious, is if you and your partner avoid confrontation at all costs. You or your partner may be hesitant to speak openly about difficult topics, but not dealing with them doesn't make them go away. A lack of communication can be just as damaging over time as outright arguing, in that the problems are never sufficiently addressed, and both parties may feel unheard. You may find that the same issue manifests again and again without a satisfactory resolution.
In either case, a therapist can teach you a couple of better ways of identifying and communicating your needs and talking about problems without conflict.
How Long Have Problems Been Going On?
Along with identifying what problems you're having as a couple, it can also be beneficial to consider how long these issues have been going on. Did you only recently start arguing because of an increase in outside stressors, such as one of you losing your job? Or do the arguments date back months or even years?
If it's been happening only once a year or once a month or even if it just started a week ago, you may want to do a little more digging, or you may be able to try a different method of 'treatment' rather than therapy if the behavior or the fighting or anything else negative has been going on for longer than that you may want to start thinking about therapy as a possibility for your relationship.
Have You Talked To Your Partner?
Have you and your partner talked about whatever you're having trouble with? If it's something that they are doing (or not doing), you should try talking to them about it first. It may be that they don't even realize it's bothering you, and they may be willing to fix the problem immediately if they know it exists. If it's fighting or arguing, have you tried to talk out whatever you fight about at a time when you are not feeling so emotional?
It's usually recommended to approach the conversation by seeing your partner's perspective and your own. Refrain from blaming your partner outright for the issue, even if you suspect they are the cause. Instead, try using "I" statements, such as "I feel hurt when we don't make private time for each other."
If you've tried these things and don't seem to help, you may want to consider therapy as an alternative. A therapist can act as an impartial moderator and gives you and your spouse the chance to work out issues on a neutral playing field.
Are You Willing To Change?
If you notice something about your relationship that doesn't make you happy, then it's important to you that your partner make some changes. Chances are, however, that they also have some things that they aren't 100% happy about, even if they've never said. That means you're going to need to be willing to make some changes or at least some compromises as well. Are you willing to do that, or are you determined to keep your side of things exactly as they are? If you're not willing to change, therapy may not be able to help you.
Self-reflection is a skill that takes deliberate practice to master for many people. You may be so focused on what you perceive as faults in your spouse that you don't take the time to consider what you're doing to contribute to the problem. Taking an honest look at your flaws and mistakes can be emotionally difficult, which is why a therapist can provide support and guidance through the process.
How Can Couples Therapy Help You?
If you've decided that you and your spouse are good candidates for therapy, you probably want to know what the process can do for your relationship. The most valuable thing that therapy can offer you and your partner is communicating with each other more effectively. As previously mentioned, an inability to communicate can be highly detrimental to a relationship. A therapist can teach you both skills to connect and reduce misunderstandings and resentment.
Think about this situation. You hate that your partner works late, which causes you to fight constantly. You think they don't care enough about you to spend time with you or don't respect you enough to come home on time at least once in a while, but have you told them that you don't like them working late? If you haven't, then you've found a communication problem. You may think the problem is just about them working late, but it comes down to the two of you not communicating about something in the relationship. With therapy, you can learn to communicate more.
Another aspect of communication that you'll learn is how to communicate so that your partner can understand. In reality, it's extremely important. How often do you tell your partner something that you think is clear but don't react the way you think they should? It probably happens relatively often. One of you gets upset about something the other person said even though there was 'no reason for it,' right?' With therapy, you can learn how to say things, so your partner hears what you meant to say, and you can learn to hear what your partner meant to say.
Getting Affordable Marriage Counseling
Perhaps you've been hesitant to contact a marriage counselor because you're worried it means your marriage is doomed to failure. However, the opposite is usually true. While there's no guarantee that marriage counseling will save your marriage, if you and your spouse are willing to work on the relationship, you have a much higher chance of not only prolonging the marriage but make it better than ever.
Once you decide to pursue a couple's therapy, you'll want to find a therapist to connect with. With so many different therapists out there, it can seem difficult to figure out just what you should be doing or who you should be talking to. Once you start visiting offices, you might have an even harder time because you don't feel comfortable with the people you meet, but you're tied to them because of the physical proximity. But what if you didn't have to be tied to any physical proximity? That would be pretty great.
ReGain is one way you can communicate with a therapist located anywhere in the world without having to go to their location. It's a completely online service where you can have a therapist appointment without ever even leaving the sanctuary of your own home. You log on, and just like that, you can talk with a professional. ReGain connects you with someone you feel comfortable with because there's a huge array of different options. You'll also never miss a meeting because you're connected from anywhere with internet access. In the end, you're going to be much better off than you might have thought.
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