What causes trouble in a marriage? Perhaps an easier question to answer is what doesn’t cause trouble. The reality is that marriage relationships are incredibly complicated. The more complicated a relationship is, the greater the number of things that can derail it. Marriage counselors know this all too well, thanks to the many different topics brought up during counseling sessions.
Marriage counseling is often thought of in terms of dealing with infidelity, money problems, or arguments about how to raise the kids. All three struggles are real. But the licensed therapists at Relationships & More in Rye, NY say the topic list in marriage counseling goes way beyond infidelity, finances, and children. Below are some of the other common topics they deal with on a regular basis.
1. Loss of Individuality
Relationships are fluid. They change based on the dynamics of a given situation. For instance, one spouse may have to step up and be strong to help the other through a challenging time. Six months down the road, those roles can be reversed. All of this is normal, until one of the spouses begins to feel a loss of individuality.
When a relationship’s dynamics favor one spouse over the other, it could spell trouble. One spouse feeling like the other is dominating the relationship can begin to resent that other person. Despite being united in marriage, couples still need to experience some individuality. Neither partner can afford to lose that sense of self and still contribute to the relationship in a healthy manner.
2. Lack of Respect
Couples struggling in their marriage often display a lack of respect for one another. Interestingly, they often do not recognize it. A couple might resort to finger pointing and name calling without realizing that doing so is disrespectful. But even something as basic as using the pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she’, instead of one another’s first names, can show an underlying lack of respect – which is not healthy for any marriage relationship.
3. Lack of Forgiveness
No couple can live a lifetime together without offending one another. We are all human beings; we all say and do things that offend other people. In a marriage, it is vitally important that partners have a commitment to forgiveness. If they cannot forgive one another for the little things that don’t really mean much, forgiving the big things that mean a lot will be nearly impossible.
4. No Intimacy Outside the Bedroom
As strange as it sounds, Relationships & More counselors say it is possible for a couple to have an active sex life but still find their marriage in trouble. One clue that a couple relies exclusively on sex for physical intimacy is a lack of intimacy outside the bedroom. For example, couples that do not touch one another very often could be lacking in genuine intimacy.
Holding hands, quick pecks on the cheek, and a glancing touch on the shoulder as one walks by are all things we would expect to see between married couples. They are all forms of intimacy outside the bedroom. When that intimacy is lacking, there could be a problem.
5. Living Separate Lives
Finally, couples living separate lives is a common indicator of things going wrong. Couples don’t necessarily have to spend every waking moment together. Still, they also shouldn’t be merely living in the same house. If they are living separate lives, they generally have a problem in their relationship.
All sorts of complicated issues come up during marriage counseling. Counselors are not surprised. They are trained to recognize those issues and help couples work them out.