We have all been there when arguing with our partner, it typically occurs at the end of the whole fiasco… Blank facial expressions, silent stares, or walking out of the room are all examples of stonewalling. The term stonewalling refers to the act of turning away from the discussion, (or person) due to a lack of mental energy or intense frustration. Stonewalling or shutting down is one of th...
Written by: Kellie Gwaltney, M.A.
Whether you’ve been married 5 months or 25 years, every couple has its disagreements and conflicts. Merging two different personalities is no easy task. From finances and in-laws to communication and sex, there are hurdles every couple has to cross. Dealing with these issues early can keep the relationship on better footing. And the benefits of seeking marital counseling for these bumps in the road are many.
It’s been said that finances are a primary cause of arguments in marriages. One partner wants to save and the other wants to spend. Maybe you disagree on how to spend money, when to spend money, or whether to go in debt. Whatever it is, you’re both sure to have strong feelings one way or another. A counselor will offer a neutral voice to navigate this heated subject and help guide you to constructive communication and a healthier financial future.
Another sensitive topic in marriage is sex. Differences in sex drives, different expectations, and hurtful past sexual experiences can cause all sorts of miscommunications and wounds. For something that is considered so ‘natural’, it is often fraught with difficulties. Sex is a gift to your marriage and part of what keeps you both connected. Seeking help with something so private may seem daunting but sex is so integral to marriage that sexual problems aren’t something that you can leave unaddressed. While it may be uncomfortable being that vulnerable, seeking counseling for these issues will only bring the best benefits for your marriage. A qualified counselor will help you communicate and resolve both your personal sexual issues and your issues together, with the goal of a mutually healthy and enjoyable sex life.
Often, marital issues can come from outside the marriage. When you get married, you are not just marrying one person; their family comes along with them. That is a lot of people to get along with. All sorts of conflicts can arise. Since the two of you are now a team, a struggle for one is a struggle for both and these family issues can take their toll. Getting help together will strengthen that bond, offer ways to cope in a healthy way, and keep communication open in your marriage. The situation may not be resolved but you will be more equipped to deal with it in an appropriate way without causing problems within your relationship.
The common link between all of these issues and the basis for any relationship is communication. Most any conflict will eventually come down to communication. Speaking from your heart and really hearing what the other person is saying can be hard. Having a counselor walk with you through problems will help keep conversations on track and help everyone stay calm. They can also point out ways where you are not communicating well and show you how to express yourself more clearly.
When considering couples counseling, we sometimes think of it as something only for those considering marriage or for couples on the brink of breaking up. While counseling definitely has its place for those situations, it is useful far beyond the beginning and long before the end. The time to seek marital counseling is when communication stalls and no progress is being made on your own. By waiting until things are really bad, you’re prolonging the hurts and wasting precious time you could be enjoying each other and your marriage.