Married With Problems? Therapy May Help

couple in therapy

Relationships are hard. Ask any couple who has been married for any length of time, and they will wholeheartedly agree. Supporting this fact is that, according to the website, the national divorce rate is somewhere between 40 percent and 50 percent, depending on the age range of the couple. Not exactly overwhelming odds for success. And yet, there are those couples who manage to stay together — in sickness and in health, through emotional detachment, depression, infidelity, and a host of other problems — until "death do they part.

"So, how do they do it? For some, a good marriage counselor is the secret. In VH-1’s reality series "Couples Therapy," for example, Dr. Jenn Berman attempts to help celebrity couples like DMX and his wife, Tashera Simmons, navigate their issues. In one episode, X admits that, when faced with uncomfortable situations, he usually walks away so he doesn’t have to deal with them. While there was a time that society attached a stigma to counseling, now it would seem that it could be a couple’s last, best chance at recovery and a lasting relationship. If you are considering seeing a marriage counselor, the following do’s and don’ts might help you get the most out of the experience:

* Do acknowledge that there is a problem. Typically, one partner fails to see a problem where the other partner does. To this end, both partners need to accept that the problem exists.

* Do take responsibility. It is rare that one partner is solely responsible for problems in the marriage. Owning your part — through actions, deeds, and words or the lack of them — is paramount to resolving the conflict.

* Do change your behavior. While this may be the most difficult step, it is the one thing that could salvage a relationship. This can include doing or not doing (and saying or not saying) certain things. The rule of thumb is simple: if any action, word, or deed will be hurtful to your partner, then don’t do it.

* Don’t have unreasonable expectations. The role of a marriage counselor is to help a couple understand one another better, not "fix" the perceived wrong in one or the other partner. The change is for both partners to make and maintain.

When in doubt, remember the Golden Rule: treat people the way you would want to be treated.

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