Are You In An Unhappy Marriage? Therapy Can Help
Updated August 27, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Kristen Hardin
It can be extremely overwhelming to realize you are unhappy in your marriage. You might also be confused. Am I unhappy because of my marriage or is it something else? The good news is that therapy can help. Counselors are trained to help individuals and couples make decisions about their marriage and can give you tools and feedback that you can apply to your life to make your marriage healthier and happier.
Getting Back the Connection
It is normal to feel unsatisfied in a relationship when you get stuck in the cycle of work, eat, sleep, repeat. When we are knee-deep in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, sometimes we forget to engage with our partner, which can cause a disconnect and tension.
If you and your partner find yourself stuck in this cycle, therapy could be right for you. A therapist can provide a safe place for you and your partner to share your feelings and to communicate what you need from each other. Your therapist can also offer suggestions and things for you to practice at home.
These suggestions can vary based on your needs. If your busy schedule has caused you to lose touch with one another, your therapist might suggest that you set aside time each week to reconnect. This could be in the form of a date night or it could be as simple as agreeing on a time each week before bed where you decompress and talk to one another about the week ahead.
Co-parenting in Marriage
An unhappy marriage with children brings its own set of challenges to the forefront. You and your partner may have disagreements regarding how to discipline and raise your children that causes turmoil in your marriage.
A therapist can help you navigate the parenting issues that you don't agree on. A therapist is especially helpful here because he or she is unbiased and can help you sort through the feelings and work toward a compromise. Your therapist can teach you how to communicate in an effective way on your own at home. This has the added benefit of you learning how to set a healthy example of communication for your children. Passive aggression and aggression bring stress not only to the marriage, but to the family in general.
Navigating Financial Disagreements
One of the most common things that couples argue and stress about in an unhappy marriage is money. It is not common for two people who are married to agree on how to spend and save money. One of you might be a saver and one may be a spender which leads to frustration and arguments. Or, you may both be spenders and need help setting and sticking with a budget.
While a therapist is nota trained consultant for financial decisions, he or she can help you both share your own feelings and what is important to you and help you find ways to compromise and to find different, non-threatening ways to talk about money and finances. This is helpful because often arguments about money and finances become heated and feel personal quickly. You and/or your partner may be too defensive right now to have productive conversations. Your therapist can help you and your partner find something that works for your household. What works for your friends or what you read about online may not work for you but a therapist can give you individualized feedback.
Some couples don't have issues with financial strain but still aren't happy with the way their partner views or spends money. Your therapist's office can be your safe space to communicate this information in a way that your partner doesn't feel cornered or ganged up on.
Facilitating Effective Communication
It is often said that the perceived problem in a relationship likely isn't the actual problem. Many of the most stressful issues in an unhappy marriage stem from something simple: poor or ineffective communication. If you feel you are unable to effectively communicate with your partner, a therapist can help.
There are many reasons why couples fail at communicating once they have been in a relationship for a long period of time. One or both of you may fear confrontation. You may have tried many different times and ways and feel unheard. Communication is not a talent we are born with. Some people may naturally be more effective than others, but it is a skill that is learned.
In therapy, your therapist will ask you questions about how you communicate and what a typical disagreement is usually like. The therapist can give you some general feedback on what the overall problems may be. Maybe one of you is to avoid talking about feelings and has grown resentful. Maybe the other is aggressive and does not realize it. In therapy, you can practice how to talk to each other with the tools your therapist teaches you. You can get instant feedback suggestions for improvement that you can build on at home. Therapy is one hour a week but there are many opportunities at home to practice what you are learning that you can review at the next session and continue getting better.
Ending the Blame Game
Many couples fall into the rut of blaming one another for their own actions. This can come in the form of blaming your spouse for you losing your temper of it could consist of keeping an emotional scorecard of all the wrongdoings in the past.
Taking responsibility and acknowledging how your partner feels are two important things many couples gain from therapy. Both you and your partner will need to accept that the things you do and the choices you make are your own.
Keeping an emotional scorecard of past wrongdoings isn't beneficial for anyone. The only thing you are accomplishing by doing this is causing your relationship to constantly rehash old resentments and hurts, when you as an individual and you as a couple would feel healthier with acceptance and forgiveness. A therapist can help you to understand these points and can work with you to get you to a place where forgiveness and moving forward feels like peace.
If you find yourself stuck in a rut of past problems, bringing a list of these things to your therapist can help jumpstart your success moving forward. Writing it all down on paper can also help you to realize the things that are most important.
It can be easy to forget how different life was before marriage and hard to remember what it's like not to have someone by your side in life. For these reasons, we may often forget to appreciate our spouse for many things they do for us.
A therapist can help you both to understand the important roles you play in one another's lives. She may assign exercises in reminding each other how grateful you are for one another, as well.
Ending the Threats
When you feel you are at your wits end with your relationship, threatening to file for divorce or otherwise leave the relationship may be your go-to. Unless you are actually planning on carrying out one of these tasks, though, you shouldn't do this.
Empty threats are often used in an unhappy marriage as a scare tactic with the intent of trying to get your spouse's attention. Your therapist will help you to understand the toxicity of these tactics and can help you also to express your emotions in a more healthy and productive way.
All of the above are some areas of focus for marriage or relationship counseling. It does not mean that by going to a counselor everything will improve and your marriage will go from unhappy to happy. It takes work from BOTH partners. Some people find that they are no longer compatible or one wishes to leave the marriage. However, if you and your partner both want to work on your marriage and can commit to starting counseling together, that is a huge step forward in a positive direction.
Where Can I find Marriage Counseling Near Me?
You can certainly google "marriage counselors near me" and get names and numbers of local counselors. You can ask a friend for a recommendation. Or, you can try online counseling with BetterHelp. Online counseling has many benefits for couples because you can still have face to face interactions with your therapist through video sessions and many of the therapists with BetterHelp offer evening and weekend appointments. It can be difficult for a couple juggling careers and children to find a time during the day to meet together with a therapist. With online counseling, this can be done from the privacy of your home. You can also exchange messages with your spouse on the platform and the therapist can keep the conversation productive.
The therapists are professionally trained and accredited and are equipped to help you with your marriage needs. Many couples wait until things are really dire before reaching out for help but the sooner you reach out, the better chance you have that your marriage will improve faster and more easily. So anywhere you have an internet connection and a smart phone, tablet, or computer, you can be one step closer to having a happy marriage! Get started today!