Warning signs: when to consider couples’ counselling.


warning signs

Can counselling save your marriage?

Whilst most counsellors would like to say an unequivocal “YES” to this question, reconnection is very dependent on the couple, the history of their relationship, the degree of contempt in the relationship, the commitment of both parties to try to work at the relationship, and of course, the involvement of other parties.

When couples come to me for counselling the first diagnostic that I look for is the “sign of life”. We’re these people happy together once? If they were happy once, and both believe this, this is a promising sign of life and hope for the relationship. There will still be a lot of work, but you cannot make something that was never good into something great, but you can, again, like someone who you once loved.

The reality of couples counselling is that some couples  come to counselling after a serious disruptive act – such as having an affair, long standing contempt, and the echo of other significant life events (death of a parent, loss of work).  Whilst walking back from those challenges can be accomplished, it may be better to consider counselling when there are warning signs, rather than war wounds.


You are having the same argument again and again, for more than 6 months. Sometimes these arguments are a cover for other, even more complicated issues. Counsellors can help couples learn to communicate more effectively, and also dissect underling issues.

You live separate lives from one another. If you feel like you are more like flatmates than life mates. The process of counselling may help you build positive shared goals and set rules of engagement to help you reconnect Sometimes marriage partners feel determined, because of past hurst (inside or before the marriage) to express their independence from their partner. Counselling may help you face and resolve the opportunity to reconnect and enhance your shared feeling of like, and love.

You want different things out of life from your partner. Once upon at time you may have been best friends, and shared everything. As we grown, partners can become disconnected, especially as children enter the equation. A love relationship requires investment. People can change, and you may believe different things, but could an remain connected. A counsellor could help you navigate your shared values and help build better connectivity.

Intimacy is lacking. Intimacy is not just sex. All affection – hand holding, touching, kissing, and sex, matters. Couples counselling can help partners describe and discuss the reasons behind their challenges to intimacy.

You or your partner is tempted to have an affair. Relationships can be significantly damaged by disruption to expectations of exclusively. Even harmless Facebook flirting with ex-partners. Couples counselling can help individuals connect and consider their needs of their ego, and their current relationship.

The trust is gone. Trust is the foundation of a healthy relationship. When we do not trust our partner, we may try to build defences around ourselves and these compromise our future of the relationship in our relationship. Trust is an essential, yet fragile, component of relationships. Counselling can help couples explore reasons to trust (or not) and their own personal values and viewpoints that compromise their barriers to trust in the future.


Counselling can help couples reconnect. If you don’t feel ready, or your partner will not go to counselling, you might consider reading relationship building books

I personally like Gottman & Silver, “The seven principles for making marriage work” and M. Kirshenbaum’s “I love you, but I don’t trust you”. For some quick ideas to reconnect, please see our blog on making your relationship better:  https://reddoor.hk/2019/02/14/make-your-relationship-better/

Best of luck keeping your relationship on track. Please remember the words of American relationship psychologist Barbara De Angelis , “Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It is something you do”.


#reddoor #couples #relationships #trust #mentalhealthessentials

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