All marriages have their ups or downs; conflict is an inevitable part of closely shared lives (and homes). It may be time for help, however, if fighting has become the main form of communication, if one spouse’s basic needs aren’t being met, or if there has been a serious breech of trust such as an affair. Counseling can also be helpful if a major life change has happened—such as an illness, job loss, or other stressful event.
How Can Therapy Help?
Sometimes all that is needed to resolve a conflict is clearer communication. A therapist can act as a moderator, making sure that both parties have time to speak so that the underpinnings of the conflict can be accurately understood. Therapists can also help one or both people clarify their feelings and take steps to change negative behavior or emotions. On the other end of the spectrum, if the relationship has sustained serious damage, a therapist can be an impartial third party. After hearing both sides of the story, the therapist can help the couple understand how and why the relationship has suffered. Part of this conversation will outline the role and responsibly of both parties in past events as well as what roles both people will take in working to improve their relationship.