You Can Wait Too Long To Get Help for a Troubled Marriage

By Brenda Crawford-Clark, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

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There are five essentials for you to be able to help a troubled marriage.

  1. You have to still love your partner.
  2. You have to care about keeping the relationship together.
  3. You have to assume some responsibility and be willing to work hard.
  4. You have to be open to change within yourself.
  5. A fifth essential for many people is seeking the help of a licensed counselor or marriage and family therapist. Don't rely on someone not specially trained in this area for something this important. Consider the financial and emotional cost of a divorce as compared to an investment in family therapy. It is money well spent.

    With those 5 essentials, you have a strong potential for success.

    If you have moved into the "I don't really know if I love him or her," and "I don't really know if I care," you're in dangerous territory. However, a professional can help you examine and sort out your thoughts and feelings, then teach you new techniques to problem-solving within relationships. Even if you determine you no longer want to remain married, a therapist can help you through the process of grieving, letting go and moving forward with your life.

    You may also have individual issues that you'll need to work through in order to help your marriage. Sometimes the past can interfere with your communication and intimacy. You may want to read Body Sense to learn how to end the interference of past trauma, loss and low self-esteem, while boosting your ability to care for yourself through reality checks and gentle assertiveness.

    There are times in life when you are under a great deal of stress, such as after the loss of a loved one, career changes or trauma. It's usually not a good idea to end a marriage during that time, unless you are in an abusive relationship. Instead, begin working on your problems and set some expectation of improvement within a certain time frame. Remind yourself of why you got married, and why it was important to you. Above all, when your marriage is in trouble, nurture yourself. Don't forget about your medical needs and work to increase your support system beyond your spouse. You'll be much more likely able to work through your relationship problems if you are feeling better about yourself.

    Check out our Improving Your Relationship courses today for more strategies to help your communication and improve problem solving.

    Brenda Crawford-Clark, LMHC, LMFT, NCC
    Author: Body Sense Balancing Your Weight and Emotions
    ęCopyright 2001 Brenda Crawford-Clark