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We Need Help: When to Contact a Marriage Counselor

This article was written by Rachel for Fox News Magazine

People regularly ask me, “What is the number one reason that couples seek help?” Obviously, there is no simple answer to what causes discord in a relationship. While there are hundreds of reasons that couples get themselves into trouble, here are some of the most common:

  • Infidelity
  • Financial/career difficulties
  • Sexual and intimacy problems
  • Addictions
  • Disagreements over commitment
  • Quarter or mid-life crises
  • Parenting stress
  • Incompatibility
  • Growing apart
  • Poor communication skills

 Lots of people are afraid to start counseling (especially if they’ve never seen a therapist before), and I often hear one partner exclaim to the other, “Well, if we need counseling, then we shouldn’t be together!” For many, the real underlying fear of attendance is feeling ashamed about something you’ve done and having to admit that in front of a third party — and men are often afraid of appearing weak. They often think they should be able to solve their own problems without outside assistance.

 I try to help folks understand that it is a real strength to ask for help. After all, we don’t hesitate to visit a doctor, lawyer or accountant as needed. Consider using that rationale when booking your first appointment. Think of your marriage counselor as an expert in relationship mending and building.

 A good marriage counselor will help a couple discover where their problems originated, and work toward creating lasting solutions. Often times, we think we know what is broken in our relationship, but through the process of counseling, we come to find out that there is more to unearth than we originally thought. This is actually a good thing, and profound truths can flow in this way. If you are open to the process and willing to work hard (which includes making changes to yourself), most couples will exit counseling in much better shape than when they arrived.

 The good news is that there really are solutions to most relationship problems, and there are plenty of qualified experts out there to lend a helping hand. If you’re at a point in your relationship where you’re fighting better than you’re getting along, why don’t you consider giving couples counseling an honest try?