Is Marriage Counseling Going To Help? Three Signs It Will And Three Signs It Won't

Is your marriage a little rough and rocky right now? Most marriages are after a few years. Once couples get past "the honeymoon phase", it takes a lot more work to stay together. Most people do not realize this when they are madly in love and get married; it usually hits them about one to five years later. (This disparity in years has everything to do with how stable the relationship was before the marriage -- the more stable and committed the couple, the longer the honeymoon phase lasts.) Now you are wondering if marriage counseling can help you and your mate stay together. Here are three signs that counseling will help, as well as three signs that counseling will not help:

Three Signs Counseling WILL Help

​The first sign that your marriage is not doomed is that neither one of you has strayed. Neither one of you has a roving eye for someone else. Both of you are effectively and totally committed to each other, but you need a break, some time away from each other. That is normal.

The second sign that counseling will help the two of you is that neither one of you has mentioned or threatened the other with the "D" word: Divorce. Even at your angriest and during your worst fights, neither of you has mentioned this most permanent of separations. That is a very good sign.

The third positive sign is that both of you are extremely willing to come to counseling sessions. Neither one is refusing to come to counseling, and neither one is feeling forced to participate. That means that both of you recognize that something needs to be fixed, and both of you are on the same page about working things out.

​Three Signs Counseling WILL NOT Help

​Firstly, you fight about everything.​ It is not just money, politics, and raising children -- you fight about every last thing, from what time to set an alarm clock to who gets to get into the shower first to who gets to drive the new family car. Everything is a fight, which means that both of you are trying to be in control. Two people who are both trying to be in control results in fights, and no one is really in control at all.

The second negative sign that counseling may not work for you is that one or both of you deeply resent each other to the point of absolute hatred. You have that kind of hatred and resentment that is typically reserved for ex-spouses. You already act like you are divorced, and both of you are miserable. 

The third sign that counseling might not help your relationship is that one or both of you are hurtful, dishonest, controlling, hostile, or abusive to the other, in some form or another. This is the environment of a toxic relationship, and it may be too toxic to fix.