Category Archives: Marriage Counseling

5 Reasons to Get Marriage Counseling

reasons-marriage-counseling

Do we need marriage counseling? This is a question you may ask after a big fight or sudden revelation in your relationship. Most people assume that marriage counseling is only for people on the brink of divorce. That is not the case though. You can benefit from marriage counseling at any stage of your marriage, even if you are on good terms.

Here are some reasons to seek marriage counseling, courtesy of Perspectives Counseling Centers.

You Repeatedly Have the Same Arguments

If you feel like your arguments recirculate time and time again, you may consider marriage counseling. Circular arguments usually come from two sources: the inability to bring closure to past arguments and ineffective communication strategies. With marriage counseling, you can finally put an end to ongoing disputes, and you can learn how to prevent new ones in the future.

You Feel an Imbalance of Responsibilities

Does your relationship feel one-sided? This is also something you can resolve through marriage counseling. There are many ways to create balance in a household. You and your spouse can come up with a way to ease the burden both of you feel. This applies to household and financial responsibilities. Your marriage counselor will be there to guide you every step of the way.

You Have a Hard Time Expressing Your Emotions

Some couples have a hard time getting through to one another. You may feel like you’re expressing yourself clearly, but your spouse does not fully understand your feelings and emotions. Couples counseling will teach you how to communicate with one another in a way that fits both your needs. You can learn to be more vulnerable and expressive, and you can gain insight into your spouse’s perspective.

You Have Gone through a Traumatic Event

Trauma, in all forms, can be challenging for couples to overcome. Going through a traumatic event changes a person, so you must adapt to the changes you each have gone through. If you experienced the loss of a loved one, the loss of a pregnancy, a major financial loss, a severe car accident, or any other traumatic event, consider going through marriage counseling. You can overcome this, and best of all, you can do it together.

Something Feels “Off”

We hear this all the time in marriage counseling. “I don’t know what’s wrong, but something just feels off.” Maybe there is a distance in your relationship that wasn’t there before. Perhaps the stress of work, raising children, or managing a household has dampened your once vibrant spirit. Through marriage counseling, you can find the source of the issue and come up with a plan to overcome it.

Perspectives Counseling Centers offers marriage counseling in Michigan. We have multiple locations to serve you, and they all have licensed marriage counselors on staff. If you and your spouse are interested in couples therapy, give us a call at (248) 244-8644.

Knowing When to Seek Marriage Counseling

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Do we need marriage counseling? Will couples counseling help our marriage? These are questions you may ask after an argument or major life transition. Nearly every couple can benefit from marriage counseling in some way. You simply have to determine if the benefits are right for you. Let’s take a closer look at how couples therapy works so you can know when to seek marriage counseling.

What Marriage Counseling Can Do for You

In order to decide if marriage counseling is right for you, you need to understand the benefits of it. Each couple has a unique experience with marriage therapy, depending on their situation. Some common goals of marriage counseling include:

  • Improve communication skills to resolve conflicts and prevent future arguments
  • Overcome difficult obstacles in the marriage, such as stress or infidelity
  • Create a healthy balance of responsibilities and time spent together
  • Discuss disagreements in an open, judgement-free setting
  • Express your thoughts and feelings, and learn about your spouse’s concerns
  • Get personalized advice to resolve marital disputes
  • Bring closure to past events that continue to affect your marriage
  • Rebuild trust and strengthen your bond with one another
  • Find the root cause of your marital disputes so you can conquer them at the source

Your goals for marriage counseling may be different than someone else’s, but the core motive remains the same. Improve your relationship and fortify your commitment to your spouse. That’s what you can achieve through marriage counseling.

Marriage Counseling to Address Current Problems

In terms of when to seek marriage counseling, many couples come to our Michigan counseling centers to address a specific issue. For instance, there may be a circular argument that you and your spouse have repeatedly. Marriage counseling could help you break the cycle and resolve that longstanding conflict. You may have also gone through a traumatic experience that you would like guidance for. Your marriage counselor will help you find coping strategies so you can support one another at this time.

Marriage Counseling to Prevent Future Problems

Marriage counseling can be preventative and reactive. While it is beneficial for resolving current conflicts, it is even more helpful at preventing future conflicts. As you improve your communication, you can express your thoughts in an effective, non-confrontational way. Disputes start as discussions, and you can keep them at that stage with the lessons learned through marriage counseling.

Simply put, you can seek marriage counseling at any time. Whether you’re dealing with serious issues in your relationship or you just want to bond more with your spouse, couples therapy can help.

Contact Perspectives Counseling Centers at (248) 244-8644 to Schedule an Appointment with a Marriage Counselor near You

Debt Prevention Tips for Married Couples | Marriage Counseling Michigan

debt-prevention-married-couple

Debt can seriously damage a marriage, more so than most couples realize. The stress of this financial burden weighs heavily on the household, turning small disagreements into major arguments. If you can keep debt to a minimum, you and your spouse can enjoy a better quality of life. Check out these debt prevention tips for married couples, courtesy of Perspectives Counseling Centers in Michigan.

Say No to Small Purchases

Debt doesn’t always come from big purchases. It’s the small transactions that add up in the end. That impulse buy at the checkout line or that extra cup of restaurant coffee can become a much bigger issue when compiled with other purchases. Make an effort to turn down impulse buys. The split-second satisfaction you get from them usually isn’t worth the money you lose. Save that money for something more significant, like an improvement on your house or a nice dinner as a couple. You will get much more satisfaction from that in the end.

Stop Revenge Spending

This is a common scenario in marriage counseling. “He went out and bought this, so I bought myself that.” Spouses often use money to get revenge on one another. They compete to outspend each other, but that only hurts the family in the long run. If one of you has a shopping addiction, talk about it. If you both have spending problems, talk about that as well. If you’re in marriage counseling, you can talk to your counselor about these issues. He or she will help you create a plan that minimizes stress in the household.

Save instead of Borrowing

Instead of buying a new piece of furniture on credit, save money each month for the purchase. Once you have enough money saved, watch for a sale and make your purchase. When you borrow money, you pay more for a product because of interest. Even if you get an interest-free loan, you train your brain to borrow instead of save. This could lead to costly spending habits in the future. Practice patience, and you will be able to make your purchase in no time.

Have Honest Conversations about Household Finances

You’re married, which means you should be able to trust your spouse with your financial information. Be transparent about each of your income and the household bills. In a recent study, 54% of married couples who said their relationship was ‘great’ talked about their finances on a daily or weekly basis. By comparison, only 29% of respondents in ‘okay’ or ‘in crisis’ had frequent money talks.

Ideally, you should start talking about money before marriage. This creates a healthy flow of communication for the future. If you are already married though, it’s never too late to start. Sit down with your spouse and have a serious talk about income, bills, budgeting, and long-term financial goals.  When you get on the same page about household spending, it is much easier to avoid debt as a married couple.

For additional assistance managing money and stress in a marriage, contact Perspectives Counseling Centers. Our marriage counselors in Michigan can help you overcome conflicts in your relationship and strengthen your marital bond.

How Debt Could Damage Your Marriage | Marriage Counseling Michigan

debt-marriage

Money problems are some of the biggest reasons why couples fight. Stress about paying the bills and having enough money to live on can weight down on a marriage. The effects of debt are more powerful than most people realize. Let’s take a closer look at how debt can damage your marriage, and what you can do to get out of debt.

The Side Effects of Debt

Debt = stress. It may be subtle stress day to day, or it may be major stress that hits with every monthly payment. No matter what form it takes though, it is stress. Any issues that you already have in your marriage will naturally be enhanced when you feel stressed. The stress makes it difficult for your mind to process emotions in a healthy manner, which may cause you to lash out at your spouse.

Debt is a catalyst for marital fights. Getting it under control will help you maintain peace in the household.

How to Avoid Debt before Marriage

If you can go into married without debt, that is ideal. However, that may be unavoidable in certain circumstances. You may have old medical bills or student loans to pay off that will take years to repay. In that case, make sure your spouse is aware of your debts before marriage.

Some debts are avoidable though, such as credit card bills and small personal loans. Stay away from furniture and electronics at buy here pay here retailers. Unless you pay those off in the 3-4 month same-as-cash timeframe, you’ll end up spending two to three times more to get a product there. Buy secondhand furniture, watch for big sales, or simply save up to get the items you want. The stress you’ll feel with those high monthly payments is not healthy for your future marriage.

Be mindful of your spending when it comes to the wedding. Couples spend thousands upon thousands of dollars for a single event, but that money could be going toward a house, a vehicle, or other big purchases. Keep your costs as low as possible, and avoid going into debt because of marriage.

How to Pay off Debt during Your Marriage

Here are some quick tips for paying off debt while married:

  • Identify which debts you want to pay off first. You could use the snowball method, where you pay small debts and work up to larger ones, or you could pay off the debts that cause the most stress each month.
  • Determine who is responsible for each debt (if there are two incomes). A recent study from Fidelity Investments showed that 49% of married couples contradicted each other when identifying this responsibility. You could both work to pay off one debt quickly, or you could pay off multiple debts separately. Just make sure you have a plan.
  • Put as much money as you can toward your debt. You should still be saving a little money each month, but try to get out of debt fast. That will free up more money for future savings, and it will reduce the amount of interest that you pay.
  • Know your monthly budget and stick to it. Leave room for some fun experiences, like date nights or family outings. Make debt repayment part of your bill structure. If you need to cut back on something, like reducing your phone or cable plan, do so until your debts are eliminated.
  • Once a debt is repaid, use that monthly money to pay off another debt. If you were paying $500 a month on student loans, that money can now go to your credit cards. If you have no more small debt to pay, consider paying off your house or car faster. Once all that is done, you can put the extra money into savings every month.

The faster you get out of debt, the better you will feel. You may also use our debt prevention tips to stay out of debt in the future. Keep the stress to a minimum, and you’ll see a tremendous improvement in your relationship.

Getting through Your First Big Fight as a Married Couple

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We’re in the wake of wedding season, which is why all month long we’re giving out helpful tips for engaged and married couples. In today’s discussion, we want to talk about arguments, specifically the first big argument in a marriage. No matter how well you get along, you and your spouse are bound to disagree at some point. With these suggestions from our marriage counselors in Michigan, you can learn how to bounce back when that happens.

Remain Calm

You may begin panicking when the argument escalates because it’s your ‘first big fight.’ This might happen right away – on your wedding night, on your honeymoon, or in the weeks that follow. Don’t stress about the timeframe. Disagreements happen in all relationships, and it’s OK that you’re in one. Stay calm to avoid escalating the problem.

Validate Your Spouse’s Opinion

In an argument, most people focus on getting their point across. If your mind is solely locked into that philosophy though, you may be paying full attention to your spouse. Instead of trying to persuade your spouse, spend some time validating his or her opinion. Ask questions that help you understand your spouse’s point even further, and show that you can see his or her perspective. If you engage with your spouse, he or she is more likely to engage in return. That’s the start of productive conflict resolution.

Get to the Root of the Issue (It’s Most Likely STRESS)

There may be an issue below the surface that needs to be resolved. You probably aren’t mad that the dishes aren’t finished. Instead, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of housework that needs to be done. Those dishes seem like one more task to add to a never-ending list.

Being married is not always easy, and it can be particularly stressful early on. If you can get to the root cause of your arguments, you can come up with a productive solution for them.

Find a Solution, Or Accept That There Isn’t One

Compromise with your spouse and work out a solution for the issue. If there isn’t a logical solution at hand, you may simply agree to disagree. How significant is this argument in the grand scheme of things? Is it a make or break moment, or is it just an annoyance you can get over? Not every argument has a conclusion because some aren’t worth the time or energy to conclude. If this is one of those arguments, agree to move forward.

If you have an ongoing disagreement that you need help resolving, consider talking to a marriage counselor. This person will provide a professional, unbiased perspective on the matter to guide you to a solution. Contact Perspectives Counseling Centers in Michigan to find an experienced marriage counselor near you.

Do You Love Your Smartphone More Than Your Spouse? | Marriage Counseling Troy, MI

smartphone marriage

Smartphone addiction has become so common that most people laugh about their connection with their phones. “Mary, you’re on your phone too much.” “Haha, I know right?” It’s considered the norm now, to the point that addicts are not seeking help for a growing problem.

The reason why most do not get help for smartphone addiction is because they see nothing wrong with it. They’re not physically hurting their bodies like they would with drugs or alcohol, and they are not going into debt like they would with gambling.

But what about the emotional effects of smartphone addiction? Particularly in the case of married couples. Your smartphone dependency could be doing more damage than you realize.

You Can’t Truly Listen When You’re On Your Phone

We’ve all this before. We grab our phones in the middle of a conversation just to “check” something, but we still continue talking to the person in front of us. While you may be able to pick up on parts of the conversation, you cannot fully absorb what the other person is saying. That is why there is a few seconds of silence before you respond. Your brain has to turn off its attention to your phone and turn on its attention to the conversation.

Listening is important in a relationship because it allows you to understand your spouse’s perspective. If the same subject comes up in a later conversation, you will have absorbed the information and you will have a response for it. Your focus is entirely on your spouse when you’re not on the phone, so your brain is not trying to process two sets of information simultaneously.

You Care More About The Outside World Than You Do Your Relationship

At least, that’s what your spouse feels like. If you spend most of your time together constantly on your phone, you’re not interested in the here and now. You’d rather talk to friends or check posts on social media than watch a movie with your spouse or have a conversation. That can do significant damage to your spouse’s self-esteem, and it can create a wedge between you two.

Smartphones Make Intimacy Less Desirable

A recent study showed that one in three Americans would rather give up sex for three months than give up their smartphones for a week. That is an alarming number considering how desirable sex was considered a few decades ago.

Smartphones and sex release the same “happy chemicals” in our brains. Every time you get a text or social media notification, a small dose of dopamine comes out. You get a much larger dose from intimacy, but the small doses throughout the day are enough to satisfy your needs. It may get to a point where you are more focused on chasing the high from your smartphone than you are in building a strong connection with your spouse.

So, What’s The Solution?

Reducing smartphone dependency involves several components:

  • Acknowledge the problem.
  • Identify specific, measurable goals to reduce smartphone use in the home. (Example: I will only be on my phone for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night)
  • Turn phones off or on silence during family time.
  • If necessary, put your phones in another room to prevent the temptation to check them.
  • Do not use your smartphone during the last 30 minutes to an hour before bed. This is time you can talk to your spouse, wind down for the night, and enjoy each other’s company.
  • During your days off, consider going unplugged. Turn off your phones for the entire day and focus on your marriage and your family.
  • Work with a marriage counselor to improve your communication skills, learn effective conflict resolution strategies, and create a stronger bond in your relationship.

Contact Perspectives Counseling Centers in Troy, MI and surrounding areas of Metro Detroit to schedule an appointment with a marriage counselor near you.

Getting Along With Your In-Laws: Michigan Marriage Counseling

in laws

Despite what the movies will tell you, it is entirely possible to get along with your in-laws. In fact, some couples have better relationships with their married relatives than they do with their own. The way you interact with your spouse’s family will have an impact on your marriage. We want to help you succeed in that.

Check out these tips for bonding with your in-laws, courtesy of our Michigan marriage counseling center.

Find Shared Interests

The easiest way to forge a friendship with someone is to find shared interests. This works with in-laws as much as anyone else. Ask your spouse about some of their parents’ interests, or ask them in person when you speak to them. When you find something you both enjoy, build on that. This will establish comradery that you can carry throughout your relationship.

Reach Out To Them On Your Own

The time you spend with your in-laws does not always have to include your spouse. Call or visit your in-laws on your own to see how they are doing. This shows that you personally are interested in their lives. Even if it’s just a quick “thinking about you” phone call, you will strengthen your bond as a family by interacting with your in-laws independently.

Do NOT Talk To Your In-Laws About Marital Disagreements

There may come a time when you feel so comfortable with your spouse’s family that you turn to them for comfort and guidance. That’s fine in certain settings, but it is not appropriate for marital disputes. If you are having an argument with your spouse, do not reach out to your in-laws. This will backfire in one way or another. At the very least, it will anger your spouse because you got his or her parents involved. If you need an outsider to talk to about your marital issues, consider working with a professional marriage counselor.

Split Family Time Evenly

Family time should be split evenly between your family and your spouse’s family. If there is a noticeable imbalance in bonding time, your in-laws may start to resent you. The split may not be 50/50, but you should at least make an effort to see your in-laws on a regular basis. If they feel included in your lives, they will be happier with your relationship altogether.

Put Your Marriage First

At the end of the day, you have to put your marriage first. You cannot let your in-laws come between you and your spouse. If you feel like your spouse’s parents are undermining your relationship, say something about it. Also be willing to listen to your spouse if he or she feels unsupported. You can work with a family and marriage counselor to overcome obstacles in your relationship and get to a happier place in your lives. If your in-laws truly love their son or daughter, they will support this happiness no matter what.

Conflict Resolution Tips For Married Couples: MI Marriage Counseling

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Conflict resolution is an important element in any relationship. Whether you’re engaged, married, or on the verge of divorce, you can benefit from improving your communication skills and gaining a better understanding of your spouse’s feelings. Marriage counseling, like the programs we offer at Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers in Michigan, is a great way to build those skills and gain the tools necessary to keep your relationship going strong.

Here are some conflict resolution tips for married couples, courtesy of our marriage counselors in Michigan.

Forewarn Your Spouse If You Are Feeling Emotional

If you’re feeling stressed, irritable, moody, vulnerable, or anything else along those lines, let your spouse know about it right away. This simple stream of communication can prevent conflicts before they even happen. For example, let’s say that you’ve had a stressful day at work. Everything that happens in the day seems to go unplanned. If your spouse does not know that you’re stressed, he or she may say something that causes you to lash out and get angry. All it takes is saying, “Babe, I’ve had a stressful day and I’m probably going to seem grumpy tonight. It has nothing to do with you, and I would appreciate it if we can keep stress to a minimum for the evening.” See how quickly that could dissolve a problem?

Don’t Talk Over Each Other

We see this all the time in our marriage counseling sessions. One spouse will start to explain his or her side of the story, and the other will chime in before the story is complete. Your marriage counselor can say, “Hold on, let her finish and then you can talk,” but that might not help much for conflicts at home. You have to be your own mediators and respect when it is your spouse’s turn to talk.

Listen to your spouse’s feelings in their entirety, then ask, “Is it okay for me to speak now?” If your spouse is finished, he or she should say, “Yes, go ahead.” Then you have the floor. Talking over one another will only make the argument escalate, and it will prevent you from hearing what the other person has to say.

Present Solutions, Not Problems

Rather than complaining about something in your relationship, try to come up with a logical solution for it. Instead of saying, “We don’t spend enough time together!” Try, “I would like to have a date night once a week. What day works best for your schedule?” The first one is a problem; the second is a solution. If you cannot think of a solution to the issue, tell your spouse that you want to work on a solution together. “I think we should come up with ways to spend more time as a family.” That sets the tone for a positive discussion, not an argument.

As always, your marriage counselor in Michigan can work with you to come up with creative solutions to conflicts in your marriage. Write down the topics that you could not agree on together, and you can discuss them during your next appointment.

Acknowledge Your Own Flaws

It’s easy to point the finger at someone else’s mistakes, but it is much harder to see what you may have done wrong in a situation. What have you done to spark the current conflict or make it worse? What could you have done better? This isn’t to say that you should take all the blame. That falls on both your shoulders. Just make sure that you take a moment to acknowledge your role in the conflict, and your spouse will be more inclined to do the same.

MI Anxiety Treatment: Helping A Spouse With Anxiety – Part 2

marriage anxiety

Continued from Part 1

Avoid Your Spouse’s Anxiety Triggers

In the first part of this anxiety therapy guide for married couples, we discussed ways you can adjust your behaviors to accommodate your spouse’s anxiety. This concept falls in line with that. If your spouse has specific anxiety triggers, like going to a place with large crowds or being around fireworks, do what you can do avoid those. Your spouse may be asked to face his or her triggers during his or her anxiety therapy, but that is something that the therapist will plan out. The goal would be to gradually desensitize your spouse to the trigger so it is not a trigger any longer. If that is in fact the plan, you will need to follow the therapist’s directions to determine how to work around your spouse’s triggers.

Be As Understanding As Possible

There will be times that you feel frustrated dealing with your spouse’s anxiety. This is perfectly normal and expected in a stressful situation. Do all you can to put your frustrations aside, especially when your spouse is going through an anxiety attack. In many cases, the spouse will apologize afterward for acting a certain way or responding a certain way. Then you can talk about ways to avoid similar conflicts in the future. Remember that your spouse is just as frustrated as you because of his or her anxiety symptoms, but together, you can find ways to make the environment better for both of you.

Keep Household Stress To A Minimum

Stress will not only make your spouse’s anxiety symptoms worse, but it will also make you more agitated by the anxiety. In other words, having stress in your life will make the situation worse on both sides. Do what you can do minimize the stress in the household. Speak openly and honestly with one another. Do not live above your means. Work through difficult situations together, and be aware of when your spouse has a stressful day.

In addition to anxiety therapy, you and your spouse could use couples counseling to build your communication skills and improve your interactions with one another. Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers offers a wide range of counseling programs in Michigan, and we would love to see your marriage thrive. Give us a call at (248) 244-8644 to schedule an appointment, and you can be on your way to the relaxing, anxiety-free life you both deserve.

MI Anxiety Treatment: Helping A Spouse With Anxiety – Part 1

spouse anxiety

Living with anxiety is a challenge, not just for the person experiencing the anxiety but also for those who must make adjustments for it. If you are married to a person with anxiety, there are things you can do to make the anxiety less intense and ease the stress throughout your marriage. Use the tips below to help your spouse get through his or her anxious moments so you can enjoy a better quality of life.

Understand What Causes Your Spouse’s Anxiety

Anxiety can be triggered by a wide range of experiences and emotions. Some people feel anxious in crowded areas or in rooms with people they do not know. Others experience anxiety when they feel pain or get sick because they believe their health risks are worse than they actually are. Anxiety can also be brought on by memories of traumatic experiences, or sometimes it can come out of nowhere. Every person is completely unique.

Try to understand what causes your spouse’s anxiety. You may be able to do that through simple observation or by talking to your spouse about his or her feelings. This conversation is best completed when the spouse is not feeling anxious because it can be difficult to relay emotions in the midst of a panic attack. If your spouse is working with an anxiety therapist, you could ask if you could attend a session every once and a while to get a better understanding of what your spouse is going through. This insight will help you prepare for when an anxiety attack may happen so you are not caught off guard by it.

Ask Your Spouse About Adjustments You Can Make

Your spouse knows his or her anxiety better than anyone. Talk to your spouse about adjustments you can make to reduce his or her symptoms. For instance, if you speak in a rapid manner, the speed of your voice and thoughts as a whole may make your spouse feel anxious. Slowing down your speech or reducing the volume of your speaking voice will help keep the environment as calm as possible. Make any adjustments you can, within reason, to help your spouse with his or her anxiety.

You may also ask your spouse how you should respond during a panic attack. Some people react well to having someone around to keep their mind off the anxiety. Others prefer to sit in silence and work through their anxiety on their own. You may be able to help in a physical way, like rubbing your spouse’s back or playing with his or her hair. Not everyone likes to be touched during a panic attack though. Once again, it is a matter of finding what works for your spouse and responding to his or her specific needs.

Continue to Part 2