thinking about divorce

Expert Advice: When Do I Consult a Marriage and Family Therapist?

Are you having trouble in your marriage? Have you been considering divorce? When problems in a marriage begin to build up, a couple’s feelings towards each other go through several changes.

So, when is the best time to consult a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT)?

When serious signs of marriage conflict first begin.

Unfortunately, this is not usually the case, even though, it is better to seek help sooner rather than later. Many partners end up waiting through 6 years of an unhappy marriage before seeking professional aid.

Before you set your mind on divorce, ask yourself this: “Have I tried to repair my relationship?”

Therapy can be a solution to for all kinds of marital issues such as infidelity, perceived incompatibility, communication breakdown, and in some cases, even violence.

Counseling is available to offer a way to break patterns, create change and find something different in the relationship.

However, resolution can only be accomplished if both parties are willing participants and want to fix the relationship rather than abandon it.

Signs that you should seek the help of a Marriage Family Therapist:

Infidelity or Considering Infidelity

I know what you are thinking, but it is possible to recover from an affair. It takes re-commitment, forgiveness, and the desire to move forward. Better yet, both parties have to want it. If both parties do want it, a commitment to therapy over time can save a marriage. Sometimes, however, it is just better to move on.

“I have seen people agree to stay and work on a relationship after infidelity. Soon thereafter, the hurt party becomes spiteful and purposefully does things to get back at the other. Everyone wants their pound of flesh, they want the person that hurt them to feel the same pain. But this is counterproductive. That is where I can help.”

Negative Communication

If communication deteriorates, it is hard to get back on the right track. This negativity can make you or your partner feel depressed, insecure, and more than likely stop communicating altogether. Negative words are one thing, but the tone is equally important.

When You Find Yourself in the Dead Zone

Many couples end up feeling like friends or roommates instead of lovers after a few years. The daily grind of work, kids, pets, eat, sleep, shop, clean, repeat will do that to you in no time. Just like anything else, if you fail to nurture it, a marriage can die. This syndrome can manifest in various ways such as lack of communication, lack of intimacy, or lack of conversation. Stop coexisting, stop occupying the same space. Seek a marriage counselor to help reignite what brought you together in the first place.

Inability to Resolve Differences

Accepting that something is wrong is the first step towards solving a problem in a relationship. Knowing what is wrong and knowing how to fix it are two very different things. There might be a difference of opinion on how to fix things or there may just be a lack of ideas. Perhaps you’ve even attempted solutions but they’ve failed to help, or they have helped but only for the short term. Either way, a qualified therapist can help.

Acting Out

It is only a matter of time before what is bubbling up on the inside starts to show. We can wear a mask for a while, but internalized resentment and disappointment can turn into hurtful, harmful behaviors.

Staying Together for the Kids

Many couples try to fight through a bad relationship for the sake of the children. However, the best thing for the children may also be getting out from underneath their parents’ toxic relationship. An objective third party can provide valuable insight that parents may be overlooking. On the other hand, couples that can resolve to stay together have a reason to move toward a positive relationship with the help of a therapist.
Children must not be the deciding factor when determining whether to stay together. Children act out when they sense trouble because they are intuitive and intelligent beyond what their parents give them credit for.

When Separation Feels Like the Only Option

When a couple argues, a break is often helpful. However, when a timeout turns into an overnight stay away from home or leads to a temporary separation, this clearly indicates a need for counseling. Spending time away from home does not usually resolve the situation. Instead, it reinforces the thought that time away is helpful, often leading to more absences. When the absent partner returns, the problem hasn’t been addressed and only time has passed.

Do some or all of these warning signs sound familiar to you and your situation? Then, an MFT might be exactly what your marriage needs.

Where can I find help?

Now, adding the stress of finding a suitable MFT is just one more thing that you and your partner could do without. But don’t fret, we at Hills Law Group can help with that.

Our extensive network of professionals through Irvine, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and the South Orange County area includes a number of MFTs to choose from based upon you, your partner, your case, and your area.

When going into counseling, remember that not all marriages are salvageable. Through its process, some couples may discover, or possibly even reaffirm, that it is best to be apart. If you and your spouse are willing to make the commitment to therapy, a marriage counselor may be able to remind you of why you fell in love in the first place and help you help yourself in reigniting the passion in your relationship. It’s worth a shot, isn’t it?

The majority of couples who engage in counseling see immediate relief in their relationships. The most common type of therapy is emotionally focused therapy (EFT). This type of counseling helps you to uncover the patterns that are hurting your communication with your spouse and uncover the root of the issues that are causing conflict so that you can develop solutions to help you move forward.

EFT has the best success rate, with approximately 75% of couples reporting recovery and 90% experiencing significant relationship improvement.

How can you and your spouse get the most out of marriage counseling? Come prepared. Make a list of what you want to discuss and have an open dialogue with the marriage counselor and your partner so that you can find resolutions faster and easier.

Divorce is messy, expensive, and a very long process. We may be able to save you the time, the money and the hassle of going through the whole ordeal altogether. Contact us today.


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