Whether a couple is struggling with finances, communication, sex, intimacy, trust, or bringing back the spark after a 16 year marriage with kids leaving for college, many couples often don’t seek help for their issues until 6 years down the line.
As a relationship & recovery coach and psychology lover sometimes I just want to shake these couples and say, “don’t wait until the issue is too big to overcome! Get help now, when it’s manageable!” But I know no matter what I say or other people say, people don’t get help oftentimes unless they are at the brink of a break up or divorce. They end up lying to themselves, trying to convince themselves it will get better with time, it’s just a bad period in the marriage, it will resolve on it’s own. Sorry, but those lies and deception only give power to the issue that is tearing the marriage apart.
Same goes with addiction in marriage, there’s a rock bottom moment where the addict will get help ONLY once enough damage has been done that they don’t want to continue living in the wreckage they’ve left behind them. Sometimes, once the addict realizes the damage they’ve done, their spouse has already decided it’s time to walk away.
People have this horrible ability to deny and rationalize things into not being as bad as they are because they are scared. But if you stay in fear, denial, and deception, things get worse.
So, as a person who believe in couples ability to heal, I can tell you it’s not a waste of time or money to get help. So, why do so many people view getting help, whether from a counselor or coach, as a waste of time and money?
Simple: Either they don’t believe in the person they’ve sought help from, or they don’t believe in themselves and/or their partner to do the work. Or it could be both.
If you don’t believe in help
For those couples struggling out there, if you are having issues that aren’t breaking you yet, it IS time to get help, NOW. Why? Waiting will only prolong this current pain that you’re in. If you’re not getting the connection you desire, waiting it out for a couple years won’t solve the issue. The issue will grow over time because it’s not being addressed or even acknowledged in some cases. Denial really gets in the way of a couple trying to regain an amazing relationship or marriage.
Part of people’s hesitancy when they are struggling is that they are not confident in the professional they are seeking help from. That is why I always tell my potential clients to vet me and other options they are looking at. Seriously, drill me, drill the other coaches, drill the therapist. Ask questions! It’s never stupid to ask questions.
At The Mod we believe in a team approach, so when we have clients, and we know they need therapeutic help as well, we tell them the type of therapists we believe would benefit them, but always tell them to ask questions before signing on to be their patient. I’ve had first hand experience with horrible therapists that have really made it hard for me to trust in any therapist now, and I don’t want my clients to ever have to go through that. A professional is here to help, not harm, and it’s important for a professional to acknowledge when the potential client or patient’s issue is not in their wheelhouse of expertise.
Take Care of Your Marriage
Another obstacle to help is the stigma that comes with therapy. I am not sure if there is a stigma out there for getting coaching, but there is no shame in getting help. I often talk about it in terms of health, because let’s be honest, you should be looking at your relationship as a health issue. It’s been documented that marriage improves men’s health. Now, it’s pretty obvious to me that married men could be healthier than non-married men, but did you know women’s health is impacted greatly by a bad marriage? That is why marriage is a health issue.
Every year you go get a doctor’s check up, you get a dental check up, and eye check up, etc. You routinely try to eat balanced and get exercise. So why aren’t couples taking care of their relationship the way they are taking care of their individual health?
There is NO SHAME in taking care of yourself and your marriage.
Here’s the truth: Couples who get help are working on growth and improvement, both as individuals and as a couple.
Hiring a coach or going into therapy is a form of self-care and it’s a place for great transformation. I don’t know why people shame other’s for acknowledging their own limitations. Like, that’s a great characteristic, to know when you need someone else’s aid in a situation. It’s a sign of strength.
You don’t believe in yourself/your partner
This situation is a catch 22. You are in a marriage or relationship where trust is not there, yet you need trust to have a successful relationship. That means you have to take a chance.
Now, some people are done. They don’t want to reconcile and work on their marriage and rather cut ties, and if that’s you, then that’s fine, do what you feel is best. But to the majority of couples who secretly are dying to try to fix the relationship, but are so scared that they themselves won’t be able to fix it or their partner won’t try, in the end if you do nothing, things will get worse. That means you have to both take the chance to trust yourselves and each other enough to take the leap for help.
Seriously, what do you have to lose if you know in your heart that this is the marriage and relationship you want? Yes, there might be very serious and deep wounds like from betrayal, but if you know that you and your partner do have something that you feel is worth fighting for, it means you have to be brave enough to take a chance.
I once worked with clients that clearly were struggling with trust, intimacy, and communication and through my Relationship Evolution program, I was able to help them rebuild the trust, stop the negative communication patterns, and enhance their intimacy because they decided to not only trust the process, but trust themselves to do the work. And they did.
They were doing the exercises, keeping accountable, and doing what they each agreed to do. They both put in the effort even though they were scared. One of the things I loved when I had our free consultation with this couple was that they were both open to getting help. If one wasn’t willing to get help that’s one way trust was being deteriorated, but they both saw the value of their relationship.
My husband and I took many chances. My husband went through many therapists and types of help, and we both made the choice that no matter how crappy we felt in that moment of pain, we knew what we were fighting for; each other. When one of us got down about how deeply his betrayal damaged us, one of us was the cheerleader reminding the other why we were fighting to save us. Even at the lowest points we supported one another.
There’s a saying about how couples can think about divorce over the years, but the key to not divorcing is they don’t think about divorce at the same time. And it’s true. When one partner is low and questioning whether things will work, it’s important for the other partner to reassure the other about how things will work.
Putting in the Time, Effort, and Investment
If you are scared it’s a waste of time and money, that is a very sad statement. One of the most important things you have is time with your partner. To think it’s a waste of time to try to improve your marriage is just an excuse to not face the fear of not knowing whether it will work. It’s crucial to find time with your spouse to start reversing the damage that’s been done.
There are no guarantees in life, and you have to be comfortable with that. Life is unpredictable, challenging, and can throw you curve balls out of nowhere, but that’s life. You have to learn how to navigate those challenges and curve balls, you need to learn how to adjust. So, when you wonder if it’s a waste of time, you’re simply falling into this idea that you shouldn’t try if you don’t know the outcome, which is bullshit.
Is getting help a waste of money? Now, when you think about the financial component to getting help, let’s be real, nothing in this world comes for free. Your food, doctors, professionals, education, career all came with investments. If you look at getting help as a cost, implying you lose something, of course you’ll be hesitant. But if you look at getting help as an investment into yourself and your relationship, you will be more open to getting help.
My husband and I invested thousands of dollars, going into debt, to save our marriage. Was it worth it? Hell Yeah! Why? Because if we hadn’t tried and parted ways, we would never know the relationship we have today. We would miss out on the new memories, the new joys and experiences. Yes, it’s still painful, yes there are still triggers, yes we have our bad days, but we did the work to heal, and we continue doing the work.
In all honesty the work is never done, because you’re always a work in progress, and you’re always growing and learning. That’s a good thing. So, when you look at hiring a coach or getting a therapist, don’t look at that professional as a cost, it’s an investment into yourself. It’s you saying, “I am worth this investment, I am worth the growth, I am worth the change, I am worth the happiness, health, and freedom I will gain from this.”
You are worth it. Your relationship and marriage are worth it. Don’t ever doubt that for a moment.
It’s Not Easy, But It is DAMN Worth It
Relationships and marriage are not easy; it’s not meant to be. And, if things are really easy and you NEVER argue, that isn’t a good sign… it might mean someone is holding their feelings in, which later down the line could come out in an unproductive manner.
But if you are aware, acknowledging and open to help, it is so worth it. If you don’t try to save your marriage, you’ll always be wondering “what if I had tried…would things be different?” You don’t want to live with regrets. You want to know you did everything you could to save your marriage.
Here’s the thing to know about to help decide whether getting help is worth the money and time; are you both trying, or is one indifferent to the relationship?
It’s extremely hard to save a relationship where one partner is indifferent to the other. At that point, most times, the damage is done and it cannot be reversed or healed. Seriously, if you were to bring up, “Hey I think we should get a divorce?” and your partner couldn’t be bothered to even hear you or care, or says “sure, where do I sign?” that is a sign they are indifferent, which means they have checked out of the relationship and are gone.
But if you both are trying, even if you’re scared, even if you’re hesitant, if you’re both trying and putting effort in, it’s 100% worth it to invest in yourselves and marriage to try to reconstruct a new and healthy marriage.
I do believe that relationships and marriages can come back from horrible things. I am living proof they can come back, even when one partner didn’t try in the beginning. For the first 2 years after discovering my husbands betrayal, he didn’t really take it seriously. He put in effort but didn’t fully invest, but once he did invest, things shifted dramatically.
So don’t just give up at the first sign of a bump, or at the discovery of something bad. We at The Mod, and all other relationship professionals I know say to give it one year post discovery to see whether you want to end it or not. When you’re in the middle of all these heightened emotions, you cannot make a rational decision. That is why giving it at least 1 year is so important. It gives you a chance to see if you are both invested, if you do see change, if things are moving forward.
So, don’t just fall into the trap of thinking your marriage and life are not worth getting help for. You’re 100% worth it!
If you’d like my help and want to chat, schedule a Free Path to Recovery Session (for sex addiction, betrayal trauma, and intimacy anorexia) or Free Relationship Breakthrough Session (pre-marital) where I’ll help you pinpoint exactly why your relationship is stuck and how to move forward!