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It's Valentine Day: How Is Your Marriage?

by Stella Robinson

Valentine's Day is meant to be a celebration of love and romance, but for some married couples, it is a painful remainder that their marriage is not going well. There may be constant disagreements, verbal or physical altercations, or simply an exhausted resignation that love and romance has been replaced by duty and commitment. However, marriages can be saved or revitalized by simple communication. Couples often need help in expressing their needs or desires, because open expression of displeasure can often descend into defensiveness and accusation. 

Marriage counseling offers a safe place for both spouses to express their opinions about the marriage and to communicate their needs. The marriage counselor acts as a moderator when communication needs to be stimulated or pacified. Counselors are aware of the major issues that affect marriages and attempt to find a solution or compromise that is acceptable to both spouses. The primary causes of marital difficulties include:

  • Money

Spouses often have opposite ideas about spending money. One spouse may be frugal, while the other is willing to spend beyond their means to achieve and maintain a certain lifestyle. A marriage counselor must first determine the extent of the difference in spending habits between the spouses, and if either of the parties has a psychological issue that exhibits itself in spending or hoarding money. A compromise can then be arranged that allows a reasonable amount of both spending and saving money.

  • Children

Disagreements on whether to raise children is also a huge stumbling block for many married couples. Individuals often agree before marriage on the number of children they plan to raise, only to have one spouse change their mind after marriage. While it is unfair to the other spouse for one party to change their mind on such an important issue, people can feel differently as they age. 

A marriage counselor will attempt to determine the motivation for wanting a child. If a spouse seeks to bring a child into a failing marriage in order to try to save it, or is looking for love that isn't being provided by the other spouse, the couple may be advised to work on the marriage before considering the idea. Of course, if it is simply a change of heart, one spouse may need to accept the other spouse's choice if they intend on saving the marriage.

The key to both saving and revitalizing a marriage is communication and compromise. Marriage counseling (such as is offered by My Marriage First) can allow couples to communicate their needs and reach a compromise that enriches both lives instead of diminishing them.