Many of the things I find myself talking about with marital clients revolve around seasons, hope and communication.
Marriages go through seasons just like children go through seasons or “phases.” It may be a season where you find you are arguing a lot, or have lots of financial challenges, or it might be a season that’s more positive and you have had several date nights or are enjoying more affection in your marriage. It can be encouraging to view a particularly hard phase of marriage as a season, because you know that means it will end. If your marriage needs an energy boost, it might be time to think of “changing seasons” – for example, join a new activity together, start doing some in-house date nights, or read and discuss a book series together.
If you feel that your marriage problem is more than a “seasonal” type problem and has been more long term or chronic, you can maintain that there is always hope. I often tell my clients that no marriage is a mistake, because God knows which spouse you were going to choose and once married, that person is God’s best for you (outside of marriages where abuse or other sin is rampant- clearly God hates abuse, deception and manipulation even more than we do ). Most people can remember how they originally felt for their spouse or what it was that made them decide to spend the rest of their life with that person. I also tell my clients that what first attracted you to that person is most likely still there. Therapy is a great place to work on reviving it.
Many couples come to me reporting that they have poor communication. There are many communication skills that can be learned through counseling, but I would also like to recommend you take a personality test with your spouse. Several relational inventories can give you insight about how your spouse relates to others and to life in general, which often can give couples insight and therefore hope. One of these inventories is called The Five Love Languages – http://www.5lovelanguages.com/. Another test that can shed light on personalities and their strengths and weaknesses is Personality Plus, found here: http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/2FF0QY4/Personality-Plus-Test.
Hopefully these are three areas that can encourage growth in your marriage and help you maintain hope in the person God has placed in your life.