Do you feel alone, unimportant, misunderstood?
Have you tried and tried to communicate, but it’s just not working?
Has the stress of kids, work, money, and family made it hard to connect?
Have you lost the fun and excitement you used to have?
Does your spouse seem uninterested, uncaring, or self-focused?
Is there too much conflict?
Are you “just roommates”?
Have you lost your physical and emotional intimacy?
Have you fallen into a negative rut that seems impossible to change?
Marriage was supposed to be great. Of course, you knew it was going to have its challenges, but this??? This is just… disappointing. And WAY too hard! And it hurts SO much – no wonder divorce seems like a good idea sometimes!
When we get married we have hope for the future and dreams of making ourselves better people. We imagine a life of love, support, and happiness. When these dreams and hopes start breaking apart with poor communication, bitter fighting, increased distance, and lack of trust, you can start to wonder if it was even worth it. Your spouse can even resemble a completely different person from the one you first fell in love with:
“She used to come home early and hang on my every word, but now she works all the time! She doesn’t even seem that interested in what I have to say.”
“He used to love having sex. He was so into me – it was awesome! Now I’m the only one who initiates and it seems like even then I’m kind of forcing him into it.”
In the beginning, you’re so in love. But then, over time, you’re in this place where you feel disconnected and uncared for. You find yourself in a different relationship from the one you started. It’s confusing, hurtful, and anxiety-provoking. Add to this the stresses of everyday life like kids, work, health, and finances. It’s no wonder marriage starts to lose its shine.
It’s Normal to Struggle in Your Marriage
You may feel it’s a failure to even be considering marriage counseling. You can’t believe your relationship has reached this point……
Well, we disagree! We’re glad you’re seeking help and recognize the tremendous strength it takes to make it this far. We want you to know that marriage problems are EXTREMELY common. In fact, if the majority of failed marriages put in some effort in counseling the divorce rate would drop significantly!
All couples experience face difficult issues in their relationships. How could you NOT have problems at times? Marriages in our society are set up with a load of (often conflicting) expectations. Look at this list of things we’re expected to be for each other:
And these are the OBVIOUS roles. We also have subconscious needs we expect our spouses to take care of, such as being unconditionally loved (even if we’re misbehaving).
With all this going on at once it makes sense that you are bound to run into conflict. You may be in your “lover” mode because you hoped your wife might be open to sex. Yet, when you proposed this later that night, she was hurt that you did not recognize she was still in “parent” mode. She needed emotional support for the difficulty that occurred with your 12-year-old daughter this afternoon. This led to a fight because you were trying to connect and felt hurt and misunderstood. Your wife also felt hurt because she too craved connection – she wanted to decompress from her day through talking with you. This could have led to physical intimacy but the thought of sex in her current state was impossible.
Instead, you and your wife fought and went to bed feeling hurt and uncared for. Lying awake, you had thoughts that she is not attracted to you. Over time, similar conflicts lead you to make assumptions she is not interested in sex or you in general. Your wife goes to bed feeling you do not care about her needs. Over time, she begins assuming you only care about sex, and are incapable of understanding her feelings.
This example illustrates how easy it is for small misunderstandings to turn into large disconnects in a relationship. As spouses navigate the different and changing roles they have, it is easy to slip off course. And we all prefer to blame our spouses for what is going wrong in our relationship rather than scrutinize our own contributions. This makes it all the more likely that problems turn into conflict.
It is important to remember that relationship problems by themselves are no big deal. Problems are normal. It is how you deal with the problems that is important. This is where marriage counseling comes in. Our experienced marriage counselors can teach you the skills you need to navigate communication problems, conflict, lack of connection/intimacy, and relationship stress. This will lead you to a place of trust and closeness that can be even better than where you started.
Marriage Counseling Helps You Reconnect with Your Spouse
Our goal for you is to move your relationship from a source of stress and pain to one of support and joy. Relationship problems may be normal, but that doesn’t make them easy! We know that when you are in the middle of it all with your spouse, it is extremely overwhelming. Especially if you are dealing with longstanding conflict, difficulty communicating, or facing a crisis like an affair or traumatic event, it can feel impossible to know what to do next. One of our highest priorities at the Salt Lake Relationship Center is creating an environment where both of you have equal opportunity to talk about your concerns in a fair and open way. Good marriage counseling is not possible without this.
You may be at a place in your marriage where you are having difficulty communicating effectively with your spouse. Our therapists are skilled at calmly understanding each of your needs and wishes, directing each session where it best needs to go and making sure conversation is productive, not destructive. This allows you to relax into learning skills you need to better communicate with your spouse. When you do not have to stay constantly “on guard,” it is easier to open up to listening and talking more genuinely. Marriage counseling at the Salt Lake Relationship Center provides the safety for this to happen because your therapist is the one in charge.
One of the main reasons marriages become dissatisfying is they fall into unhealthy or avoidant interaction patterns. In marriage therapy, your counselor will help you understand why you have reached this dysfunctional place. This happens through a non-judgmental process of insight and awareness exploring your marriage and each of you as individuals. Our therapists assume that there is always an understandable REASON why we make the choices we do. That reason is not always clear, even to the person who made the choice. Therefore, we aim to help you deeply understand your choices and then decide if they are the ones you want for you and your relationship.
As you gain more communication skills and awareness of your interaction patterns. Your marriage counselor will also help you form custom-tailored goals and activities focused on real change in your marriage. These will be specific exercises designed for your issues, but could include talking, touching, writing, or other joint activities. They would be focused on improving communication skills, physical intimacy, or emotional closeness and might be things like:
Structured communication to make talking about sensitive topics easier
Self-reflection journal to help you identify how you feel loved
Identifying joint exercises designed to have fun together
Specific exercises focused on problems such as parenting, finances, sex, work, or extended family
These out-of-session exercises are important for increasing trust, love, fun, excitement, and intimacy.
It can be a difficult choice to attend marriage counseling, but the payoff can be life-alteringly HUGE. You have the potential to learn things about yourself, your spouse, and your relationship that you never knew existed. When couples dedicate themselves to improving their marriages, they land in a place of deep emotional and physical intimacy. Even if this type of connection does not seem possible right now, with the help of an understanding, fair, caring, and capable marriage counselor, amazing things happen. Most importantly, the Salt Lake Relationship Center specializes in relationships, so we know what it takes to move a couple from a place of distress to one of intimacy. Change is possible!
Marriage Counseling Sounds Good, but You May Still Have Some Concerns….
-I’m Worried About Cost
It is true that therapy is an investment – an investment in you, your relationship, and in your family. When you solidify your marriage through counseling your life becomes richer. It gives you the support and strength you need to weather other stresses in your life. And an investment now allows you to ward off the potential costly choice of divorce. Marriage counseling is significantly less expensive than divorce, especially when you take into account the emotional and physical toll a divorce takes on everyone involved.
-I Think Marriage Counseling is Important, But My Spouse Doesn’t Want to Come
This is a common situation, as couples frequently have disagreements about the best way to handle their problems. This may be part of the reason you’re having difficulty in your relationship in the first place! We have several different options in place to help you with this issue:
Our therapists are familiar with the difficulties people face attending therapy (including social stigma, difficulty talking about problems, worry that therapist will side with spouse, and cost). We are willing to talk with your spouse to help him/her feel more comfortable.
We offer discernment counseling. This is a specialized type of marriage therapy where one spouse is motivated to work on the relationship and the other is not.
We offer relationship counseling for individuals. If your spouse opposes therapy this option can lead to real change.
-I’m Concerned That Things Will Become Worse or We Will Uncover New Problems
It is true that one thing marriage counseling helps you do is gain more awareness of your issues. Yet, this is a good thing, not a bad thing. While you are learning more about your marriage problems, you are also learning communication skills and how to manage those problems. Avoiding relationship issues does not mean they have disappeared. It just means you are not clear about how the problems in your marriage are impacting you. Feeling confident in your marriage and how to face your challenges head on is the way to go. We suspect you feel the same or you wouldn’t be here. Salt Lake Relationship Center counselors provide a professional, caring, and safe environment to guide you through rebuilding your marriage.
-Does Marriage Counseling Actually Work?
It is normal to wonder whether marriage counseling will make a difference. You may have even tried before with another therapist. But we are different from most counseling centers because of our unique focus on relationship therapy. We live and breathe relationships here, and are constantly thinking about new and better treatments for our couples. Marriage and couples counseling is our specialty. We provide you a level of knowledge, training, and focus you may not have experienced before. We cannot guarantee that marriage therapy will “work”. But we do know is that if you dedicate yourselves to the process of working on your relationship, our therapists have the skills to guide you to a place where you can confidently communicate and make good choices in your lives and marriage.
Ready to Take Your Marriage to the Next Level?
It’s time to end the conflict, distance, and poor communication. It’s time to have a marriage filled with connection and intimacy.
If you’re ready, click here to schedule an appointment with the Salt Lake Relationship Center today. Still have questions or concerns? We’re happy to talk about anything. Contact us and one of our therapists will happily answer any questions and walk you through the next steps. We look forward to hearing from you!