By Drs. Evelyn and Paul Moschetta for YourTango.com
Being happily married is not easy, and being in love is not a sure path to a happy relationship. You and your partner are not clones; you'll have differences, which often lead to disappointment and frustration. And while tension is common, it presents you with a challenge: Will you argue over your differences or use them as opportunities to grow your relationship?
One of the best ways to reconcile personal differences is through couples therapy. Couples therapy helps you remove personal blind spots that get in the way of seeing yourself clearly. It coaches you in the art of listening without making judgments and placing blame. It also helps you express frustration constructively so you don't angrily act it out. These are crucially important skills that will transform your relationship.
Here are five warning signs that you need couples therapy now:
1.You keep having the same fights over and over again. This is a clear sign that you are not communicating well enough to solve your problems. Without good communication, compromise is impossible, without compromise your problems pile like land mines ready to explode and repeatedly damage your relationship. Couples therapy helps you learn how to talk and listen to one another.
2. You're too tired to have sex. Of course there are times when you and your partner are too physically exhausted to make love but when this becomes a pattern something else is going on. Most likely you are emotionally drained because you are carrying a lot of unresolved anger that is a direct consequence of not solving problems as they come up. Letting your sexual relationship drift is risky because it opens the door for others to come in and fill the void. Couples therapy teaches you how to diffuse anger in your relationship.
3. Your kids keep asking you if you're getting divorced. As much as you and your partner try to avoid facing your relationship problems, your children tune right into it. They can sense the lack of closeness and tension between those they look to for safety and security. If they are calling your attention to the distance between you, it has already grown to a dangerous level. Couples therapy is most effective when you get help as soon as possible.
4. You have stopped reaching out to make things better. Feeling hurt and rejected, you are no longer making the extra effort to reach out and close the distance between you and your partner. It feels too risky to make the first move. Another setback, another rejection feels more than you can bare. Unfortunately, your partner is probably feeling the same way and this begins a steady slide toward separating. Couples therapy can help you both cooperate together to reverse this process.
5. You often think about having an affair. Getting love, attention and affection from someone new suddenly seems like a reasonable solution to your relationship issues. This thought is a red flag, a signal that your unhappiness has reached a desperate level. Having an affair will double your troubles and could possibly be a deal breaker. Don't take that chance. Use your desperation to call a marriage counselor and start working to repair your relationship.
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