When is it time for marriage counseling?

The more I help couples navigate through their problems in marriage counseling, 
the more one thing stands out. 
This trait usually determines how successful the couple will be at solving their problems 
and finding joy again in their relationship. If both spouses are willing to work, couples counseling 
is usually successful. Unfortunately, many couples don't seek counseling until the very end, 
as their last ditch effort. I often get the sense, from these couples, that counseling is merely a box to check off, signaling that they "tried." I wonder how the outcome would be different 
had they come into counseling sooner, when they had more hope and motivation.
Hence today's topic:

When is it time to seek marriage counseling?

1. When you notice a consistent problem you cannot solve. This could be a persistent disagreement over how to discipline the children, a persistent struggle to share chores, or a long-term feeling that you are unloved. If the problem doesn't go away, take it to counseling.

2. If you are caught in the "blame game." Unresolved problems are frustrating, and that frustration sometimes leads couples into the blame game. Instead of trying to work out the issue, they cast blame back and forth. The blaming, insults, and negativity grow, while the problem remains unresolved.

3. If you are "hitting below the belt." Every couple has disagreements, but what we say in those disagreements can have lasting consequences. Healthy couples talk about the problem without resorting to insults and personal attacks. Comments that "hit below the belt" seek to put down your spouse, shame them, or rub salt into past wounds. In order to win the argument, one or both spouses attack each other, leaving trust and kindness shattered.

4. When you feel like you've grown apart. Let a counselor help you restore your marriage. Little habits can have a big impact in a relationship. Don't wait until you feel so distant from each other that you lose hope.

Here are some helpful resources if it's time to seek professional counseling:

For another post about how to choose a counselor click here.

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