Some of us will visit a couple’s therapist early on in the relationship (even before the wedding) in order to prevent problems down the road. Others seek help to turn a good marriage into a great one. However, the vast majority of us put off hiring a professional until the roof is caving in, claiming a multitude of excuses: We can’t afford it. We’re too busy. Things aren’t really that bad…Despite all the excuses, we often have deep fears that stop us from picking up the phone. What if the therapist takes his side? What if the lid gets ripped off, all this pain comes out and we can’t contain it after the session? What if he needs more from me than I can give? What if my true feelings are revealed? That said, despite the fears and excuses, here’s a quick and dirty guide for knowing when it’s time to make that appointment.
Let’s say you’ve read the list, resolved that you need help, but your partner says, “No!” Make a deal: “OK, let’s make it a priority to work on our relationship for three months on our own. We’ll try to communicate better, get closer, and re-connect. If one of us is still dissatisfied after 3 months, let’s agree to get some help.” If your partner still won’t honor this request, then see an individual therapist. By making changes and improvements to yourself, the relationship will either improve or it will not; but at least you will feel clearer and healthier to make positive decisions for yourself either way.