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.

How to Handle Stress in Marriage

How to Handle Stress in Marriage

There was a season in our lives as a young married couple where we were living off of high stress. We were young, had two kids, mediocre paying jobs, and I was pregnant with our third daughter and suffering greatly from yet another round of hyperemesis—which is basically the only thing I have in common with Kate Middleton. Our funds were pretty much non-existent as I could no longer work, we had no help with childcare as I lie in bed with an IV pole, and my husband was frantic in search for help while he took care of me, the kids, and oh, did I mention we were in the middle of a remodel, too? 

STRESS

Sometimes  there’s just no escaping stressful seasons, but when we they do come, it’s important to minimize your stress as quickly as you can before it starts causing relationship problems—because stress and marriage just aren’t the best of pals. When stress does hit your marriage, here are some things you can do:

Identify the stress. Is the stressful situation beyond your control, like an illness, job loss, or accident? Or, is it from a family or marriage situation that you’re not dealing with? Perhaps it’s from remaining in a career that you despise?  The first step is to identify where the stressors come from and determine if you indeed can do anything about them. 

When it’s unavoidable stress, it’s time to lean on each other. This is the time to come together as a team. Instead of allowing stress to divide you, allow it to shift your mindset into “it’s me and you against the problem.” Talk openly and honestly about how the stress is affecting you. Ask one another how you can help alleviate each other’s stress. If the stressor is just affecting one of you, the same rule applies. Go to battle against the stress for and with your spouse. You are one another’s greatest resource—don’t let stress tell you otherwise.

Along the way you also want to make time for fun. Don’t forget to enjoy one another during difficult times. You need the endorphins and natural stress relievers of laughter. Life gets out of balance really quickly when the scale is always weighed down with just stress. Plan nightly walks, have a family game night, watch a funny movie or just go out for ice cream. Don’t forget to have fun, even if it comes in short bursts. You need the connection that stems from laughing together.

Lastly, don’t forget to pray. God is in the stress battle with you. Stressed out is not the abundant life He has called you to live. It’s not all going to blissful, but you have been equipped to handle those hard times and to not lose hope. Never forget that you are “more than conquerors through him who loved us” Romans 8:37.

If you want to dive deeper into tackling the stress in your marriage, check out our video resource on 4 Ways to Thrive When Hard Times Hit Your Marriage.

Ep. 11: Holiday Stress

This is episode 11 where we’re talking about Holiday Stress, what it is and what you can do about it! We all have amped up stress during the holidays. Holiday stress is basically regular stress on steroids!

We don’t want you to settle or feel defeated by the stress that comes up every time the holidays roll around. We want you prepared, ready and in fact, actually excited about the festivities ahead.

We share how the greatest stressor for wives is feeling alone in all the holiday prep work, and how they feel like they’re carrying the burden all by themselves. We also share how husbands greatest stressors is worrying about holiday debt, being able to provide and just being strung along without being informed of any pans. Together, their greatest complaint is feeling as if their spouse just doesn’t have their back.

The best way to prevent the holiday stress is to have a written down plan. Why?

83% of people do not have any kind of plan

 

14% of people have a plan and don’t write it down. Those 14% have a 10 times more likely success rate just for having a plan.

 

3% of people have a plan and they write it down. Those 3% people have a 30 times more likely success rate than anyone else.

That’s why we have a free download today for a Stress Free Holiday Plan. Download it, work on it together and put that plan in action! We want you to succeed in having a stress free holiday this year!

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!