Marriages begin with promises of everlasting love and commitment, where two individuals share a dream of living happily in eternal bliss.
However, in reality, the daily grind of life (raising kids, managing finances, keeping up with social pressures, etc.) sets in and throws the couples off-balance. Maintaining the same loving and romantic vibe becomes an ever-increasing challenge while dealing with personal struggles on a day-to-day basis. Unrealistic expectations from each other and lack of proper communication lead to misunderstandings and unpleasant arguments, leaving the couples wondering – what went wrong?!? In quite a few cases, it all goes downhill from there with the relationship turning toxic.
Couples may choose to stay in unhappy marriages for the sake of kids/parents/society while resorting to seeking solace elsewhere (extramarital affair or substance abuse, etc.) as a coping mechanism. This unhelpful approach further widens the already existing gap between them. No prizes for guessing that such dysfunctional marriages soon reach the verge of collapse. Usually this is the time when couples decide to seek counselling to give their failing marriages one last chance before hitting the D-word.
As a counsellor, I feel that instead of waiting till the last straw, beyond which one cannot continue to accept the situation, couples should seek therapy much earlier. Just like we don’t shy away from making a trip to a general practitioner at the slightest feeling of ill health, going for marital therapy when the first red flags appear can help couples nip those in the bud and prevent permanent damage to their relationship.
Marriage counselling provides a safe space to couples where they can openly talk about their emotional issues without the fear of getting judged or labelled and sort out their differences in an amicable way in the presence of a trained professional counsellor. I am listing down some benefits of seeking marriage counselling:
- IMPROVED COMMUNICATION: Effective communication is the cornerstone of a happy marriage and both partners need to share the responsibility of improving it equally. Constant bickering, defensive behaviour, mind-reading attitude and stonewalling are all signs of poor communication that creep in when couples start taking each other for granted. Counselling can be of tremendous help here in restoring the lost connect and regaining respectful and empathic communication.
- ENHANCED INTIMACY: Intimacy (physical and emotional), an integral part of a happy and blissful marriage, may get sidelined at times due to everyday stressors of life. Therapy can help couples bring back the closeness between them and rekindle intimacy.
- RESET EXPECTATIONS: A major reason for tiff in a marriage is not being able to meet each other’s expectations. This leads to disappointment and unpleasantness. At times expectations are not met because they are unrealistic. Counselling can help couples set their expectations right and have a clear understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities.
- RE-ALIGNED GOALS: Maintaining synergy among individual goals is very important so that both the partners support each other in their journey of personal growth. Neither the partners should compromise their goals for the sake of the relationship, nor should they sacrifice the relationship to achieve their goals. Counselling sessions help couples to re-align their goals so that they are in sync with one another.
- SELF ASSESSMENT AND HEALING: Sometimes a spouse’s personal struggles and insecurities may negatively impact the marriage by unwittingly causing restrictive or regressive behaviour. This could make a person seem more judgmental, suspecting or even difficult to please. Counselling can facilitate couples to tackle their individual emotional concerns, if any, effectively.
As we all know, a stitch in time saves nine; timely intervention can help resolve marital tensions and serve as a booster dose to revitalise the marriage and keep up the romance and bliss. A good counsellor will customise the approach as required using a combination of counselling tools and techniques and strengthen this beautiful everlasting relationship. So, do not wait until it is too late – let your counsellor be that other person between you and your spouse and get your marriage back on track!