Where Does My Marriage Go From Here?
If you can identify with one or more of the issues mentioned above, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a professional. Once you have committed to this path, you will need to find a therapist that will meet the needs of you and your partner. It is okay if your relationship is non-traditional—therapists work with non-married couples, both hetero- and homosexual, and many even provide pre-marital counseling for engaged couples.
After you and your partner have decided to attend therapy (this isn’t always the case, and in this instance, you may need to seek individual help to gain clarity), you need to choose a therapist that meets your concerns. When looking for a therapist, think about the following:
- What specific education or experience does the individual have? Do they have any certifications or endorsements that specifically meet your needs? Are they licensed to work in your state of residence and credentialed by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT).
- What are their days and hours of availability, and does this availability meet your needs? Where is their office located? Do they provide emergency support, either in person or through other media (phone or Skype)?
- How long does each session last and how many sessions can you expect to attend? The length of time spent in therapy depends mostly on the level of needs within the relationship. Some couples may spend only a few sessions with a therapist, creating a plan and using the tools gained within those sessions at home. Some couples may require more time, and it may be possible for one partner (or both) to seek individual treatment.
- Does your insurance cover this type of service? How much should you expect to pay out of pocket and is this within your desired budget? Many therapists provide services based on a sliding scale to fit within your ability to pay.
A licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) is a professional specifically trained to help others cope with deteriorating relationships. Their job is to either find a path toward reconciliation or help ease the transition toward ending the relationship in an agreeable manner. Either way, these professionals will work to help you identify the healthiest outcome for you and your partner.
Recognizing that you need the help of a professional is not easy to accept. It can feel defeating or even scary. It may be possible that your partner refuses to accept that there is a problem or that a marriage counselor can help. But working with a trained professional can bring an objective perspective to the situation, clarify issues and goals, and provide you with the necessary tools to meet the desired and shared goals of a couple.