couple with arms crossed, marriage counseling Lack of communication sends most of us running for the exit, but before you run, read this. (Photo: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock)

I know there are those of you who will swear up and down that I’m wrong about this, but I’m going to go out on a limb here — chances are if you clicked on this article, you can benefit from a little therapy yourself. That’s because I think everyone can benefit from a little self-awareness. Hear me out.

I have a close friend whom I firmly believe would not be married had it not been for therapy (and she also would not have her three adorable children). Let me elaborate: This particular girl almost called it quits a number of times, but when she and her boyfriend started counseling she was forced to re-examine why she was so hesitant to get married. It was only with the help of her therapist that she finally understood her looming fear of commitment (and not her boyfriend) as the root of the problem. Once she got past that, she was finally able to say "I do." Fast forward several years and children later, and I am amazed at how happy they are.

So what are the telltale signs a marriage counselor can benefit you? Here are some sure signs:

You’re having trouble communicating with each other

Usually, the first sign of problems in a relationship is lack of good communication. Being able to talk through an issue without it turning into a war of words can ease the stress in your relationship. Therapy and counseling are all about communication. A good therapist can help you communicate better. An even better therapist can help you learn the tools to do it on your own after you’ve left counseling.

You’ve ever mentioned the D-word (divorce) to each other

Once you bring up divorce, it’s akin to holding it over your partner’s head like an anvil waiting to drop. At this juncture, help from a couples’ counselor can be crucial to getting back on track. Contemplating divorce means that one of you already has a foot out the door, and being in a committed relationship works only when both of you are all in.

You are fighting more than you used to

Maybe it’s the stress of a new job, a new baby or a move, but if these normal life stresses ease up and you’re still at each other’s throats on a regular basis, it might be time to call in the help of a professional to reprioritize and examine which aspects of your relationship can be improved and how.

The love has left the building

If you find yourself having difficulty being affectionate with each other, a good couples counselor can help you get to the root of the issue and rekindle that spark.

Therapy may not be the answer to all of your marital issues, but as I said before, a little self-awareness about what makes you tick (or ticked off) can go a long way. And sometimes the best way to gain that perspective is with the help of a good therapist. That being said, finding a good therapist is like finding the perfect pair of flip-flops. It might take awhile till you get it right, but once you do, the difference is clear.

Bottom line, folks? Like anything worth having and holding onto, marriage takes work, and a lot of it. There’s no shame in asking for help, and in the process, making the ties that bind you together firmer, stronger, and more secure.

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How do you know when you need to see a marriage counselor?
Therapy can open the lines of communication, which is key to any healthy relationship.