“A crisis is an opportunity for growth.” A marriage counselor, much like an alchemist, must take raw materials and somehow transform them into something precious. The raw materials of couples counseling are different for each couple- for some, it might be a sense of distance and growing apart, and the loneliness that comes with that. You might be asking yourself, “What’s happened to my relationship? We used to be so close but I can hardly remember those feelings because they seem so elusive right now”. For others, it might be a life stressor that is straining the marriage- an illness, money problems, differences over parenting a difficult teenager, etc. It may even be a new problem that one of the partners is experiencing, like a depression after an elderly parent dies. Other couples come for counseling after an affair. Or after their first child is born, and the roles in the family change. Sometimes it’s disagreements over problems with the in-laws. It may even be something as simple as communication styles that used to work, but are no longer effective.
It’s not uncommon for one partner to want to attend couples counseling, while the other partner resists. This can be a challenge, but sometimes one partner can help the other partner decide to come in- with the help of the marriage counselor. Whatever your struggles, sometimes it just takes an outside person to help you get a fresh perspective, to coach you on new skills, or to help a marriage get through a tough time. Many people come in to marriage counseling feeling desperate or hopeless about the relationship- only to find that, no matter what the crisis was, working through it in the couples counseling actually brought some really important hidden issues into the open, and created a much deeper closeness than before. It’s one of those things that has to be experienced in hindsight- you have to just take a leap of faith and trust the process, not knowing where it ‘s going to lead, but somehow trusting that with enough hard work, the pain and struggle can turn to something valuable and precious. Don’t wait any longer…all it takes is that first step of picking up the phone and reaching out for help for changes to begin!