4 Ways to Know if Your Marriage Needs Counseling

4 Ways to Know if Your Marriage Needs Counseling

First things first, can we just go ahead and put to rest all the stigma that comes with counseling? It’s truly just nonsense. We don’t shame our children for needing to go to school to get educated, we don’t shame the person with a broken leg who goes to the orthopedic, nor do we shame the person on the side of the road who calls a mechanic.  As far as we’re concerned, people who seek help for areas where they’re not the expert and they need some help, are people full of wisdom. You’re not failing if you need help, it’s actually the opposite. You choose failure when you need help and DON’T get it. Seeking help is what successful people do!

Ok, can someone slide this soap box out of the way now, I’m done?!

Now that that is cleared up, here are just a few signs that your marriage could benefit from some counseling:

You have a lack of satisfaction. Did you know on average a couple will struggle in their marriage for 6 years before they seek help? Yikes! Don’t be that couple. If you’re living as roommates, rarely have conversations, or have a life focused entirely on the kids, this is NOT a fulfilling marriage and you shouldn’t be settling for it. There’s hope and fulfillment for BOTH of you to be found. 

Another big clue you might need some help is if divorce has been brought up, especially if either of you already come from a broken home. You have an enemy who is after your marriage and would want nothing more than to keep a painful legacy of division going in your family (see John 10:10). Don’t allow any thoughts about divorce to take root.

You also don’t want to let stress, trauma, or difficult situations take you down. Those things that creep into your marriage that are often beyond your control can wreak havoc over time if left unattended. This is a great time to hit pause, get some guidance, and quickly get back on the road to a healthy marriage.

Finally, the more obvious one, if there is any form of addiction. We live in a time where pornography and alcohol have become very popular coping mechanisms. The most common reason they are both turned to, aside from early exposure or something that was already brought into the marriage, is stress. They both provide quick relief and avoidance. Short term fixes with long term loss for your marriage and the spouse who is struggling. If addiction has entered your marriage, even if you have to go alone, get the help. Let a professional help guide you through this season of struggle.

If you want to hear from us a bit more and learn 4 more reasons that might mean you need some help, go check out our video on 8 Ways to Identify if Your Marriage Needs Counseling.

5 Ways to Know if your Marriage is Headed for Trouble

5 Ways to Know if your Marriage is Headed for Trouble

I’m assuming that you’re here reading this because something in your marriage seems to be missing or just perhaps isn’t right. We want to get really specific and help you identify if any of these potential warning signs might be going off in your marriage. But, if they are, don’t fret, they can ALL be repaired, turned around, and redeemed. It’s important to know that even in your worst-case scenario, hope is available.

One of the simplest early warning signs is that you’re just NOT SATISFIED. Keeping in mind that happiness is not the end all, be all, but a lack of it certainly can be a clue that things may not be okay. Despite what society might tell you, a lack of happiness is not a reason to move on and head towards divorce. There are so many deeper, more profound goals of a marriage than just to be happy. BUT your marriage indeed should be generally satisfying, so if it’s not, it’s time to address it.

If your COMMUNICATION is erratic, non-existent, hostile, involves name calling, or if you aren’t talking at all, this is a problem. The more you ignore it, the more you will find yourself going in circles, and guess what? Circles lead to nowhere! Communication is critical to have in a marriage.

Next up, is if you or your spouse have CHECKED OUT. Being checked out in your marriage really is just another way of saying you just don’t care anymore. This can happen to couples who have let things go a little longer than they should and now hopelessness is creeping in. If this is you, it’s definitely time to get some help. If this goes on for a length of time, it will take your marriage to a place that you never meant for it to go.

Now let’s talk about JUST STAYING TOGETHER FOR THE KIDS. We can’t even begin to tell you how wrong this mentality is. Your kids don’t want you to just stay together, they want you to be in a marriage together. Simply staying together for the kids just teaches them to grow up, get married and do the exact same thing. While you’re simply just staying together, you are also actively modeling what marriage should look like. If your marriage isn’t a marriage you want your kids to have, then work on it so you can actually model a healthy one for them. Show them what it is to fight for your marriage. That’s something they will appreciate.

Lastly, it’s the most obvious one, if you’re using the D WORD, your marriage is in trouble. If you’ve said it, you’ve thought about it, and if you’ve thought about it, it won’t be long before you do it.

We tell you these things not to solely help you identify that your marriage might be in trouble, but we say these things to let you know it’s time for a change. In order for things in your marriage to change, things in your marriage will need to change. We know it can feel hopeless sometimes, but there are people out there like us, who willing to loan you our hope until you find yours once again.

God is for your marriage. He wants it to be good, connected and healthy. Afterall, it represents the love Christ has for his Bride, the Church. Let the Lord use your hard times for growth instead of destruction. Reach out for help, get reconnected and start talking.

If you need a small place to start, check out our two-day sample of our DRIVE BY DEVOTIONS that were created with you in mind by clicking below. If you decide you like them, you can purchase them for 25% off with the code provided. They have the potential to change your marriage, breed hope, and reconnect you once again. Trust us, your marriage is worth it!

The Most Common Divorce Months. Do You Know Them?

The Most Common Divorce Months. Do You Know Them?

I’m guessing you’re reading this because the title peaked your curiosity to simply find out what the most common divorce months are? 

Or, perhaps you’re struggling a bit or on the brink of divorce and you wanted to see if maybe knowing these two months would give you some sort of a sign or even normalize some of your feelings.

On the other hand, maybe you’re reading because you want all the info you can get on avoiding divorce because you want your marriage to thrive. Regardless of why you’re reading, I’m glad that you are.

We won’t make you wait anymore, those months are March and August. But now that you’ve got the info you came for, please keep reading…. 

March and August seem like odd months for divorce rates to be high, but there is a reason they are. In fact, I’m writing this in June on purpose. Both March and August are on the heels of some catalyst times and events that can sometimes lead to divorce, so of course it is our hope to derail some of them.

In the months before March are some big holiday seasons. Lots of family get togethers and lots of Christmas debt collected. Let’s not forget Valentines Day, the all about love holiday. 

All of these occasions can create a perfect storm for some intense bickering and highlighting of marital emptiness. We’ll be back to fill you in on more of the March contributors when that season rolls around again, but for now, let’s focus on the one at hand, Summer.

Summer time can create a great platform for last ditch efforts for couples who have already been struggling. The kids are home and they easily become the focus. No one wants to ruin the kids summer with a divorce, so why not go all in for the next few months and then separate once school starts again? This genuinely is the school of thought for a lot of couples.

It’s also vacation time, and we all know how well a good ol’ happy family vacation will fix a marriage! No, really. Couples all over are being deceived into thinking that a nice vacation will fix their marital woes. It won’t. 

Vacations can provide us a lot of things, but fixing a marriage, is not one of them. In fact, the opposite tends to happen. So much weight is put into the perfect vacation bonding you again as a couple, that when it just slightly goes awry, it sends the couple plummeting down into the “this is never going to work” pit. I mean after all, if we can’t get along on the beach during a vacation, then we’re never going to be able to get along. The last ditch proves to be fruitless.

The problem with the vacation method is not the vacation itself. In fact, vacations can be AMAZING for reconnecting couples, just not when they include so much denial. 

The bottom line is this, if you’re struggling in your marriage, there is no magical cure. Make a decision today to stop looking for one. The truth is, you have to work to change it! 

Don’t depend on vacations, holidays or wishes of new beginnings to fix your marriage. Also, don’t let those times stress you out so much that they increase division.

The reality is, the only thing that will fix your marriage is trusting God for redemption and making a decision to actively begin working on it…Did you hear that? Read it again, out loud, the only thing that will fix your marriage is trusting God for redemption and making a decision to actively begin working on it.

Let that sink in because it could change your life and your marriage! 

Your vacation time and money will be much better served investing in your marriage and the the work that needs to be done to change it. So, get off Trip Advisor and call a counselor, a marriage coach, or a couple you trust. Keep reading some blogs, heck, talk to each another about solutions! You CAN turn this around. That way you can actually vacation for the FUN instead of the fix! 

Oh, and for the record, it’s not easier for your kids to go through a divorce just because they’re back at school. What’s easiest for them is for mom and dad to heal their marriage. 

Worth it, all day long. 

Let us know how we can help you….Enjoy the Journey!

5 Reasons to Focus on Yourself in a Struggling Marriage

5 Reasons to Focus on Yourself in a Struggling Marriage

Let’s just get right down to it–marriage is hard. Fortunately, it can also be blissful, filled with love, and one of the most gratifying relationships in your life. But, then again, it’s still hard. The worst thing is, we often make it that way ourselves. We enter into this thing called marriage with these great expectations; we expect the “feelings” of love to always be present, and we expect that our spouse will always meet all of our needs and make us never want for anything again. We have found our soul mate  and they will complete us. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with that theory? Pure bliss. 

Well, if you’ve been married for even a short time, I’m sure you quickly realized how flawed this belief system is, and you’ve probably also noticed how flawed your spouse is too. What you probably don’t notice however, is how flawed YOU are. I know, OUCH! Sorry about that one (well, sort of). Don’t worry, the pain is purposeful, keep reading…

If you’re struggling in your marriage, or even if you’re not, it is crucial that you pay attention to yourself first. Let me tell you the 5 reasons why.

1) Looking at and evaluating yourself first increases your humility.

So, what’s the big deal about that? For starters, humility shows your spouse you are willing to bear with them in love (Eph 4:2). Humility lets your spouse know they are important, and that you are willing to sacrifice for them (Phil 2:3). Humility comes with wisdom, (Prov 11:2) and it increases harmony in your relationships (Rom 12:16). Most importantly, humility offers honor to God, and shows that you are willing to trust Him IN and WITH your marriage (Prov 22:4).

2)  Focusing on yourself will help you become a better person.

Even if your spouse never does correct their own behavior or take ownership of their part of the problem, you can still become a better person. You will never regret working on yourself. Go ahead and take an honest look at yourself, your behaviors, your words, and your thoughts. Ask yourself what you are contributing to the problem, and then pray about it. Ask for God’s guidance, and then get to work on those things. If you begin to change for the better, it’s almost guaranteed that your spouse will take notice, and perhaps even be inspired by you to start changing themselves.

3) It shows your spouse grace, and who doesn’t love that?

If your spouse has an annoying habit or a poor behavior they struggle with, it’s likely that other people have pointed it out to them already (mom and dad may have for years!). You pointing it out for the hundredth time is not going to be the magic number where they receive an aha moment and suddenly change. It’s also likely that your spouse already hates this habit or behavior themselves, but, for whatever reason, struggles to let it go or, perhaps is afraid to. Your grace could be the very safety that they need to come to you or to the Lord for help with it. Focusing on you allows quiet time from all of the fighting and permits grace to enter in. Extending the grace that God gave you to your spouse, is after all, God’s design (1 Pet 4:10).

4) It helps you set boundaries.

When you focus on yourself, you decide what is acceptable and what is not. Perhaps, if your spouse is involved in an affair, an addictive behavior, or even speaks to you inappropriately, that is not the best time to extend grace, but nor is it the time to blow up. Instead, it is the time to decide if those behaviors are okay with you or not, and then set boundaries or make appropriate next steps. You have to focus on yourself in order to do this, or else you will continuously respond out of your emotions and keep all the focus on them, and in turn get absolutely nowhere. Even the worst case scenarios can be healed when handled correctly AND when repentance is present (<< This is a MUST!). Sometimes, focusing on yourself means you have to quit acting like a doormat. This might be the area where professional or pastoral help is needed. If it is, GET IT!

5)  It helps you to know that YOU CAN’T CONTROL YOUR SPOUSE.

Quit trying to fix someone else, it is not your job, and, if you’re reading this, it’s likely that you already know you’re not any good at it! Just work on you, and leave room for God to work on them. You can only control your responses. You can’t control what others do, say or feel. Remember though, you can put up boundaries, but ultimately, the only person you can change is yourself!

The final word is this, no matter what troubles are brewing in your marriage or what problems are already there, your marriage is never without hope. Before you throw in the towel, do it some justice, and get the help you need before it’s too late. Don’t let problems linger, address them before they take root and start growing. 

Here’s to Enjoying the Journey!