When couples face the aftermath of infidelity, it can often feel painful and hopeless. The journey of recovery after trust is broken is tough, but very possible. Working with a marriage counselor can help understand infidelity and regain that trust. While marriage counseling can be very successful, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to one another. If you are considering marriage counseling, it’s important to understand the truth of marriage counseling or couples therapy.

What is marriage counseling?

Marriage counseling and couples therapy focuses on healing or improving marriages and relationships. Marriage counselors are specifically trained to help couples identify their problems and work on solutions. Working with a marriage counselor creates a safe place for couples to hash things out and talk about what is really on their minds. Communication is imperative when healing a marriage and solving problems within the relationship. This makes marriage counseling and couples therapy one of the best ways to improve communication skills, come to mutual understandings, and figure out how to move forward as a couple — or amicably end a marriage, if that is the right choice for the couple. If you believe marriage counseling may be the next step for you, its best to understand the signs.

13 signs you need marriage counseling

  1. You aren’t talking. Most challenges are simply a problem of communication.
  2. You’re talking, but it’s always negative. Negative communication can leave one partner feeling judged, shamed, disregarded or insecure. This leads to withdraw from the conversation and may escalate to emotional abuse.
  3. You’re afraid to talk. When it’s just too frightening to even bring issues up.
  4. Affection is withheld as punishment. If one partner starts to act as a “parent” or “punisher,” there is a lack of balance in the relationship.
  5. You’re no longer a team. This often feels like you and your partner are playing against eachother rather than working together.
  6. You’re keeping secrets. Each person in a relationship has a right to privacy, but when you keep secrets from each other, something isn’t right.
  7. You contemplate (or are having) an affair. Fantasizing about an affair, or participating in one is a signal that you desire something different from what you currently have. While there are ways to turn this around, it takes early help and dedication from both partners.
  8. You’re financially unfaithful. Financial infidelity can be just as damaging to a relationship as a sexual affair. Arguing over who spends what or how to share family funds is a common but very damaging afair to go through.
  9. When you feel everything would be OK if he/she would just change. The only person you can change is yourself. If you are waiting for your partner to change, this escalates disappointment and frustration within the relationship.
  10. You’re living separate lives. When couples become more like roommates than a married couple, this may indicate a need for counseling.
  11. Your sex life has changed significantly. It’s completely normal for sex to taper off a little once you’ve been together a while. However, significant changes in the bedroom signal something is not right.
  12. You argue over the same little things. Everyone has their triggers, but its important to understand the root of these feelings. Arguing over how the dishwasher is loaded may not truly be about the dishwasher.
  13. When there are ongoing relationship issues. Every relationship has those big-ticket arguments such as finances, sex or how to raise children. Its important to work these out sooner than later and find a common ground.

Benefits of marriage counseling

Marriage counseling has positive results for 70% of couples receiving treatment when treatment is offered by a trained marriage therapist. About half of couples who receive marriage counseling say that it helped them resolve all or nearly all of their serious problems. If you and your partner are experiencing ongoing challenges against each other, this means that choosing a marriage or couples therapist is an important step in your relationship.

A few ways marriage counseling can help couples are:

  • Improved communication that has likely deteriated over time.
  • Regain vulnerability and trust for one another.
  • Explore problems from a new perspective.
  • Learn new ways to recognize and resolve conflict.
  • Help to tackle tough issues or put aside “baggage” that prevents each other from moving on.
  • Improve intimacy and regain your original “spark”.
  • Rebuild your marriage and make a renewed commitment, or clarify the reasons why you should separate.

How long does it take for marriage counseling to work?

Resolving your issues through couples therapy is a process, but it doesn’t have to go on forever. Many couples see big benefits after six to ten sessions. While it is encouraging to know there is success through the process, putting all your feelings out there can make for some serious turbulence starting out. Powering through these challenges will result in long-lasting positive change.

The more you invest in couples therapy, the sooner you might start to feel heard, understood, or notice that you and your partner are being kinder to each other. Your sex life might start to improve too! Its important to remember that even after a few months of successful therapy, there is no guarantee an issue won’t pop up down the road. If that happens, going back to your therapist for a tune-up is a great option.

Marriage counseling in St. Petersburg Florida

Deciding you need marriage counseling or couples therapy is not as scary and hopeless as its made out to be. Most couples experience feelings of hope and success after the first few sessions. While there is no specific timeline for how long your relationship may take to mend, the team at McNulty Counseling and Wellness is here to help you get there. Contact us here or call us at 727-344-9867 to begin marriage counseling or couples therapy at our office or virtually in Saint Petersburg or Tampa, Florida.