Ashley W. has been with her husband for a total of eight years, married for three of them. "Our relationship was great until we had our first child in 2005," she shares, "then everything went downhill."
As her story and those of many Circle of Moms members attest, when you’re focused on being the best parent possible, it’s all too easy to neglect your marriage. But Ashley wonders whether marriage counseling could reverse this neglect and repair the rift that has developed in her relationship with her husband.
Here, moms in our communities whose relationships have benefited from the help of a marriage counselor describe how it helped and share three reasons to seek counseling when your marriage is on the rocks.
1. A Neutral Third Party is Especially Helpful
When a marriage isn’t working, couples often don’t know how what went wrong – or how to fix the situation on their own. As Circle of Moms member Kate N. shares, when her husband told her he had fallen out of love with her after eight years of marriage, he couldn't pinpoint the causes. "He doesn’t know when, why, or how. He said it just happened," she confides.
When you can’t identify the problem, it consequently becomes difficult to get that spark back in your relationship, says Abbie A.. In these situations, a professional — someone who is an expert in relationships — can help both parties identify problem areas and work through solutions. "Marital counseling is the number one answer. If he can’t figure it out and neither can you ... you need a professional opinion ASAP!" says Jessica G.. She and her husband faced problems similar to Kate's and Ashley's, and a therapist helped them work through their issues by digging deep and reminding them that they really do love each other.
Because a counselor is a neutral third-party, he or she won't get wrapped up in the heat of an argument, but instead will help partners understand each others' points when there are differences, Shannon adds. Thanks to counseling, she and her husband, who have been married for five years, now feel that they love each other even more than when they first got married.
Can a friend or family member provide the same kind of help? Elizabeth C. thinks not; that a neutral third party provides a specific, invaluable kind of perspective. A counselor, she says, can help you: 1. continue to communicate, 2. find out why your relationship is rocky and 3. help you understand the facts and make a decision that you both can live with. "Friends and family can help provide input, but you don’t want their thoughts and feelings to cloud your own. Only you know how you feel and what it is that you want," she explains.
2. Your Communication Skills Will Improve
Whether the counselor is a professional family/marital counselor or a pastor, an outside relationship expert also can teach couples communication tools or help to facilitate conversation so couples can work through their problems, Esmeralda F. says.
"Sometimes when you have someone else listening to what you are saying, it helps you collect your thoughts and communicate them in a better way than you could do on your own," affirms Briana P.
"Couples counseling is a great way to reconnect and make it through this time until the spark comes back, or help the two of you make a decision about what to do with this relationship if he or you decide not to continue it," Tiffany agrees. "The counseling can help you through all of it."
3. Counseling Provides a Way to Recommit to Your Relationship
The caveat to counseling, several Circle of Moms members warn, is that it will only work if both parties are committed to the sessions. "Counseling works for some and not for others. I think it all depends on the people involved," Kate W. says. "Are you both willing to talk about things that are causing trouble or is it only one-sided? If both of you are truly willing to worth through the issues that you might be having, then I'd say it's worth a shot."
"If both of you are serious about wanting to stay together, it is likely to work. But if one of you is just 'going through the motions' to please the other one and is not planning on taking it seriously, it definitely will not work at all," warns Carolee Y.
The Big Payoff
"There are all different kinds of marriage counselors who come from all different angles," notes Sharon M. "You may need to put in the hard yards in going to a counselor, but there's always the chance that the first one you go to may not suit the both of you. Don’t be afraid to try a different one!" But if you stick with it, she says, there of course is a handsome pay-off.
Jennifer P. said a counselor helped her and her partner realize after a seven-year-itch that they weren’t giving each other the attention that they each deserves. Kids change everything, she says, but because both she and her husband were willing to go through with counseling, things got easier. "[Now], we have three children and are best friends," she says.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.