In most parts of the globe, the rate at which married couple seek divorce is increasing at a rapid pace. The causes can be many and include religious beliefs, education, money, compatibility and perhaps an endless list of other issues. If romance is the loveliest experience between man and woman, parting ways is exactly the opposite and cannot be without the attendant pain. Perhaps, the woman may suffer more pain than the man, but parting does leave deep wounds for both parties, at least in a majority of instances. The pain itself gets accentuated if children are also involved. Kerry Short from The Three Seas Psychology Group says, when married couple deciding to part ways also have grown up children, the impact of their decision on children is often more profound. These children can potentially experience negative effects like anger, guilt, blame, denial, feeling abandoned, acting out, preoccupation with reconciliation and more. Erosion in family values also gives rise to myriad social problems like the drug menace and substance abuse.
Perhaps, all the technological advancements and the perceived ability to break all barriers to conquer everything under the sun have also brought along huge erosion in human values. Consequently ‘me’ has taken precedence over ‘we’ in many families. Some 5 decades ago, fewer people were speaking of equality among men and women. Fewer women competed for top corporate posts as they were happy giving their best to raising an affable and responsible family. When women shifted their focus from families to career, the ‘family’ suffered. Everyone knows the rigours of a 9 to 5 work day and driving through rush hour traffic. Exhaustion from work impacts men and women equally or perhaps more. But, that leaves the woman with little energy for the family and particularly the kids. To add to all these, some marriages are merely skin deep for one partner or the other.
In spite of all the above factors, in some situations, divorce may be the healthiest and essential option for some while some others may still try and fight to salvage what little is left of the relationship. When couples experience these issues or problems, they might still be left wondering when it would be appropriate to see a marriage counsellor. Here are some of the top reasons that could point to the need for marriage counselling.
Negative communication on the rise
Negative communication can cover everything that leads one partner to feel insecure, depressed, disregarded or wanting to move away from the conversation. It is not merely the spoken words that count, but also the tone in which it is rendered. Once negativity in communication rises to the top, it is extremely difficult to turn things around and put them back on the right course. Negative communication will also cover non-verbal communication, physical or emotional abuse and any other form of communication that ultimately leaves hurt feelings.
Infidelity or suspected infidelity
This is perhaps the most dangerous ingredient in a marital relationship. Proven infidelity can leave little or no room for discussions. On the other hand, suspected infidelity is even more dangerous since the affected partner can become furious because he/she is put on the dock for no reason at all. While there is no magic remedy for this situation, a marriage counsellor can help if both partners are honest and equally committed to a therapy process. The least that can be expected from such counselling is the resolution that parting ways may be healthier for both partners.
The couple are only co-existing
The couple is merely co-existing in the same space and the relationship is more that of roommates than partners in marriage. This could point to the absence of conversation, communication, intimacy and other elements that are important to the couple paving the way to a feeling that is simply co-existing. This is a situation where a competent and skilled marriage counsellor can help find the missing links and put the relationship back on track.
Partners lack the knowledge to resolve differences
The acknowledgement of a discord only takes the couple halfway down the road to a resolution. When the couple is stuck and unable to find a resolution on their own, involving a third party such as a skilled marriage counsellor can be a huge help in getting things sorted out and moved forward in the right direction.
Separation is the only sensible solution
Disagreement and arguments between the couple are pretty much common. But if eventual timeout progresses to overnight absence from home or even a temporary separation it is a strong pointer to the need for professional counselling. Short or long time out seldom helps in finding a resolution to the underlying problem. Instead, it could germinate the thought that time away is a solution itself and more absences could follow. The problem does not disappear with the absent partner returning but turns into avoidance with the efflux of time which could be more dangerous.
Couple stay together only for the sake of children
When the couple feel that staying together is a wise decision only for the sake of children, it could help if a third party such as a qualified marriage counsellor is involved. In such a situation staying together could actually be detrimental to the welfare of the children. Conversely, if the couple can resolve issues and work towards a healthy and positive relationship it could benefit all parties involved. Generally, children are very intelligent and intuitive. Therefore, even if the couple feel that the happiness of children can be faked, often they are able to comprehend the change.
Marriage counselling may not salvage all marriages. But if counselling can help discover why the couple fell in love initially and then use those reasons to re-build the relationship. Except when the relationship is heavily bruised, there can always be a solution and seeking help from a marriage counsellor can help you to unearth that hidden solution to move on and the minor wounds will heal with time.