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Restore, Rebuild and Renew

Love is too precious to just let it go

Marriage and Relationship Distress

“The love of a husband and wife is the force that welds society together.” – St. John Chrysostom

Marriage is a source of great love and joy that also comes with unique challenges for each couple. Even the best relationships can experience conflict and distress. Couples need some essential skills to successfully work through their issues. Among these are communication, mutual understanding, the ability to compromise, respect and gratitude for one another, friendship, shared goals and a vision for the future of the relationship, spiritual growth in faith and prayer, understanding how you both give and receive love, and more. To have healthy, thriving marriages, we must take time to work on our relationship and connect with our spouse—especially when we are struggling.

Marriage counseling can be a place to work through issues in which you and your partner have become gridlocked. Counseling can help to move you out of a rut to gain more understanding of your spouse. Understanding must always precede problem solving. The goal of all conflict is to gain better understanding of your partner. The majority of conflict in marriages is about failed bids for connection. Step one in restoring relationships is to rebuild connection. Marriage counseling begins with the foundation of marital friendship. From there, issues of communication and conflict resolution can be addressed, working toward the goal of unity and shared meaning within the marriage.

Did You Know?

  • Communication issues are the most common reason couples seek counseling.
  • Statistics show that marriage counseling works when couples address their issues in a realistic and prompt manner.
  • 28% of U.S. Catholics, ever married, have experienced divorce.
  • Couples wait an average of 6 years of being unhappy before getting help.
  • 70% of both men and women said that friendship is the key to a satisfying relationship.
  • 69% of relationship conflict is about perpetual issues.

Common issues include: Lack of effective communication, criticism, contempt, defensiveness, stonewalling, withholding affection, keeping secrets, having an affair, lack of intimacy, arguing about the same issues over and over again, lack of trust, or feeling like you have ‘drifted apart’ from one another.

Recommended Resources: 

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman: This book is helpful for learning more about how you and your spouse give and receive love and can help with regaining connection with each other.

The 5 Languages of Apology by Gary Chapman: This book explores the different elements of an apology and can be a helpful resource for anyone feeling that “I’m sorry” isn’t good enough.

Getting Past the Affair by Douglas K. Snyder, Donald H. Baucom & Kristina Coop Gordon: This book is helpful for couples who have experienced an affair to help process the trauma, rebuild trust, and move forward.

The Meaning of Marriage by Thomas Keller: This book provides insight on what a Christ-centered marriage looks like and tools for the journey.

Why Marriages Succeed or Fail by John Gottman: This book draws on years of marital research by the Gottman Institute and provides practical advice and tools to gain more understanding of your own marriage and identify areas that may need improvement.

How We Can Help: In marriage counseling, a counselor can help you work through the issues you are experiencing as a couple and help build skills to manage conflict effectively, increase healthy communication, enhance the marital friendship, and deepen connection between you and your spouse. A counselor can help you identify poor communication patterns, provide ways to restore connection, and dialogue about perpetual issues. Our Catholic marriage therapists will help you identify what is at the root of your conflict and develop the skills to overcome it.

“This is what marriage is all about: man and woman walking together, wherein the husband helps his wife to become ever more a woman, and wherein the woman has the task of helping her husband to become ever more a man.” – Pope Francis