Everyone encounters difficulties in their relationship with their spouse at one point or another. In most cases, these difficulties can be resolved without any outside help. However, there are circumstances in which it might be sensible to seek out the support of a marriage counsellor. Here are a couple of examples of such circumstances.
Communication has broken down
Communication is a hugely important element of any healthy relationship. If you and your spouse are struggling to talk to each other in a respectful and honest manner, then this could spell trouble for your marriage.
If your partner often gives you 'the silent treatment' (i.e. refuses to speak to you), or if your conversations with one another are of a very negative nature and often devolve into major arguments, then it's likely that both you and your partner may need to improve your communication skills.
Sometimes, the signs of a breakdown in communication aren't quite so obvious. You might, for instance, have no problem making small talk with your spouse or even joking around and laughing with them. However, if you feel that you cannot discuss the most important matters in your relationship (such as financial problems, for example) then this could be an indication of a communication issue.
Going for relationship counselling will help you and your spouse to learn how to talk to each other in an open and productive manner. Counsellors teach couples specific communication techniques which make it easier to for them to calmly and respectfully express their real opinions and emotions.
Additionally, discussing your problems in a neutral environment, in front of a counsellor who can act as a mediator if a discussion starts to escalate into an argument, can make it much easier to be completely honest with your other half.
Jealousy has become a serious issue in your relationship
Persistent feelings of jealousy can destroy a marriage. A person who is experiencing this emotion may end up invading their spouse's privacy (by reading their text messages or emails, for example), be overly clingy or frequently accuse their spouse of being unfaithful. These behaviours can, in turn, lead to the other person becoming defensive and emotionally unavailable.
If you're in this type of situation, marriage counselling could be highly beneficial. A counsellor can help you and your spouse to identify and deal with the source of the jealousy (you might, for example, have been cheated on by a previous partner and are afraid that your current spouse will do the same). In addition to offering insight into the root cause of the issue, they may be able to offer practical advice on how to cope when something or someone triggers your feelings of jealousy. For instance, they may encourage you to examine and challenge the unhelpful thoughts that arise when you experience this emotion.