Oct 14, 2010
When Is Time for Counseling?

Sholom Bayis Blog with Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch. Question #5: When is it time for a couple to go for marriage counseling?

Q: My husband and I are having trouble in our marriage. We tend to fight about the same issues every day and heís so emotionally distant. At what point should I consider seeing a marriage therapist?

A: A professional practicing marriage therapy can act as a mediator when it comes to disagreements and personality differences. These differences can cause any number of arguments. Most of the rifts a couple experience have the potential to end in a peaceful way, but then there are those rough and tumble situations where there seems no hope in sight. When the stability of your relationship is in question, marital therapy can provide you with the best relationship advice and guidance.

Seeking out marriage therapy to get unbiased guidance from a mediator who is professionally trained in such matters, is a good start to getting back what was lost between the two of you. The marriage family therapist will offer you their expertise and qualified suggestions as your professional negotiator. Itís sometimes nice to have that cushion when you and your spouse canít seem to get past your marriage problems and communication has stalled.

Family counselors are certified professionals that have experience in all types of situations. Marriage therapy advice is a just a small portion of what they offer to couples from all walks of life. They also instruct a couple on techniques of how to strengthen their bond, improve their listening skills to better understand each other, and increase their conversational and interpersonal skills.

A marriage therapist will never place blame on a guilty party, if there is one. They only try to help you work through the misconceptions, accusations, and ego trips that may bring negative feelings into the relationship. Youíll find that marriage and family therapy will have a significant impact on your relationship and your lives. When communication becomes stagnant and it no longer exists between loved ones, family therapists can guide and teach you to share your feelings once again. They give a person permission to share their deepest fears and desires without feeling guilty or ridiculed by their partner. Egos are checked at the door when a mediator is present, for there is no room for them in a successful relationship.

Boredom, emotional neglect, lack of communication or attachment issues from childhood are just a few reasons why marriage problems may occur. The problems can be compounded or it may be just a single issue, but it is enough to shake the foundations of a relationship. When the couple fails to identify the causes of their difficulties, confusion and separation from the relationship can soon follow.

Sometimes, when a couple takes marriage advice from a marriage therapist, issues are revealed that were once hidden due to anger, misunderstandings, and a breach of trust. Using your marriage counselorís advice can aid you through the process of working it out for yourselves. They have the knowledge and experience in these types of situations, and can offer you several techniques to work through your relationship issues.

There is the belief, or opinion, that family therapy should only be undertaken when a situation is too dire for repair. This is a false conviction for anyone who believes it. Marriage family therapy can be beneficial to any couple that is having issues, and at any stage in their relationship.

In many instances, troubled couples thought they were destined for divorce, and had actually started the proceedings, before they engaged in any type of family therapy. They soon realized their mistake once they began participating in regularly schedule appointments with their family therapist. The family therapy sessions saved their marriages from failing and taught them how to relate to each other in a more efficient manner.

It is best to begin family and marriage therapy when marital problems are still in the early stages. The sooner a couple engages in family and marriage therapy, the quicker and easier it will be to eliminate any misconceptions, anger, frustrations, and trust issues they may have.

Now, there are always those stubborn partners out there that refuse to participate in any marriage and family counseling. This should not stop the one individual that wishes to seek out the help from a marriage therapist. The marriage therapist can help the individual work through their own personal issues, and maybe once their partner sees the remarkable effects that the marriage therapist is having on their spouse, they may want to join in on the sessions.

Donít be surprised when the marriage counselor digs deep into your private life. No judgment will be placed upon you; it just gives the therapist an understanding plateau of what makes you tick. Itís common to feel uncomfortable with disclosing so much personal information, but as your sessions progress, that queasy feeling will dissipate. The more open you become, the easier it will be to accept truths and understandings.

Seeking out professional guidance when your relationship appears to be bleak and unsalvageable is the wisest thing you could ever do. Regardless of the price you pay for family therapy, it can never be as expensive as losing a family.

Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch is a trained marriage and family therapist who maintains a practice in Crown Heights specializing in couples therapy and families with teenagers at risk. For an appointment in person or via the phone/Internet, visit JewishMarriageSupport.com or call 646-428-4723.

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Opinions and Comments
Just wondering
I don't disagree with anything he wrote, just wondering how he can be impartial on telling you when it's time to visit me. Ask a mechanic when is a good time to do work on your car and I don't think he will ever find a time not good to put work into it.
(10/14/2010 4:40:13 PM)
He doesn't answer the question
(10/14/2010 6:12:18 PM)
my opinion
i am thank God a happily married person. We are what you'd call a typical lubavitch couple (both normal crown heights family, stable home etc. part of community etc. etc.)
Thank Goodness my husband is openminded enough to have agreed to go for marriage counseling...NOT because we were chas v'sholom fighting all day, or disagreed on everything, etc. etc.
We went because I needed an opinion on certain life issues that i did not feel comfortable talking to a relative about.
I cannot begin to say How much I appreciated speaking to the therapist, working out some of my anxieties and stress while having 2 little kids.
I promise it is the best decision I have ever done for my marriage. And I'm happy that my husband didn't resist because I thought he would think its 'taboo' whereas I myself am a educational therapist so I'm more open to this kind of things...
Just be aware that it costs $$ :)
Anyways, it has gotten our marriage and me as a person from Great to EVEN GREATER and I am so happy that i did this.
(10/14/2010 6:37:44 PM)
daniel schonbch is wonderful
he really is. Don't be scared by this professionally written article. he is very real and with-it and down to earth.
(10/14/2010 6:48:54 PM)
I have a husband who told me he would never go to counselling - would rather a divorce!?! And if i go...its close to a divorce too....doesnt wantme sharing our problems with anyone!!
Thank gd most of the time we are ok..but we have our issues...and granted...were still young - hope well never really need it
(10/14/2010 6:58:05 PM)
is that a question?
On y our first date is the right day to go.
(10/14/2010 7:58:56 PM)
Daniel Schonbuch is right on
It's about time someone is finally addressing this problem. Daniel Schonbuch is right on.
(10/14/2010 8:34:34 PM)
the time to go is BEFORE problems arise, there is no need to wait till they come around!

Mariage counsleing should become the norm, and every married copule should go
(10/14/2010 8:42:06 PM)
What no one will tell you but everyone must hear before getting married:

Marriage does not reconcile the differences nor bridge the gap between man and women. It creates the facade of a family unit by riding the inbred sense of responsibility to a commitment or child/ren - a commitment made while under the influence of hormones and society.

You'll be fine if you keep your expectations low. But who does?

A good thing about marriage is that it creates many industries - head doctors, children doctors, relationship gurus, and many others I can't mention here.

(10/14/2010 11:18:13 PM)
a better place
After being married for 3 years, reality hit. I had 2 babies, stressed out with housework, husband working long hours, trying to save up for a house, no longer eligible for all the NY freebies, missed going to work, missed my social life, frustrated,
and...this is the important part...certainly not the same wife that my husband married 3 short years before...
I had a decision to make.
Either the situation is going to get better.
Or it will get worse.
I chose to make it get better (duh!), but honestly, I could not do it on my own. Bec. if I was so capable, then i would not have ended up in my situation. (Obviously!)
And my very opinionated family is not the opinions i was especially looking for.
Enter the most wondeful person I went to talk to. I figured if half the secular world can afford 'Personal Coach's' then it would be a wise investment into my life and marriage if I did too. And it was a very wise idea.
End of my story :)
Seriously, if you want the name of this woman let me know.
(10/14/2010 11:24:13 PM)
to 8
funny you telling an expert what to do
experts tell you that it is not about if you fight, but how you fight
but as soon as there is name calling and blaming
that's when it gets back
and there is a famous other (Jew, forgot his name)
who can predict which couples will end up in divorce
by watching the way they fight
moshiach now
(10/15/2010 12:45:46 AM)
Kol HaKavod!
Fabulous! Therapy is literally a gift from G-d, to help ourselves and the ones we love.

Collive.com, please post more articles like this one!
(Perhaps consider giving Daniel a weekly column on the site.)
(10/15/2010 1:50:08 AM)
It's important
no 9 you are so funny! But listen up people (men especially) therapy is a lifesaver. Don't let your ego get in the way of working on your marriage. It is THE most important gift you can give your children.
(10/15/2010 7:33:48 AM)
myself and other frum women i have known tried to save their marriages but at the time didn't know about their husband's drug abuse and how THAT was the root cause of the problems.these guys were able to manipulate,because that's what adddicts do best, the therapists into thinking it was the wive's problem's killing the marriage.therapy is great but imperfect.
(10/15/2010 11:10:16 AM)
glad someone has brains and experience
(10/15/2010 3:24:59 PM)
divorce rate is up
whats being done about the skyrocketing divorce rate ?
(10/15/2010 3:26:03 PM)
To #5
Maybe after reading this article your husband will understand that it is not the end of the world to see a fmaily therapist.
Besides, you share with him/ her only the information that you are willing to divulge.
I am very happy for you that you don't feel the need for a therapist now, and I hope you never will, due to your circumstances...:)
(10/17/2010 12:48:30 AM)
To #10 (a better place)
So, nu -- what is the name of the woman who helped you? How can I find out her name?
(10/17/2010 9:17:41 PM)
go to a therapist
Therapy is the best thing. I believe that on'es Mashpia is supposed to be a terapist. it is hard to find a good Mashpia. I choose therapists.
(10/17/2010 9:39:10 PM)
mashpia IF NOT thana therapist.
(10/19/2010 5:37:31 PM)
waste of time.....
work it out urselves....talk/listen to each other ,put each others needs before ur own,be positive,happy and embace life with humour and u wont need to waste ur money listening to the obvious.
(10/19/2010 9:59:52 PM)
not everyone has the common sense u may have #21 - some ppl weren't nurtured properly as children or might have a real problem that needs to be addressed, some ppl need help developing relationship skills
i guess #21 u don't have marriage problems B"H but for others it is not a waste of time it is an important investment
(11/25/2010 12:46:13 PM)
first aid
every single person can help themselves by learning basic communication skills. begin with reading an easy book: "HOW TO TALK SO KIDS WILL LISTEN & LISTEN SO KIDS WILL TALK" and practice using that method. if that does not help then read about personality types, and then go on to life coach or therapy.

it also helps with spouses, in-laws, siblings & friends
(4/3/2011 1:57:28 AM)
your smiling neighbor with the perfect family
i wish it was so simple to just get therapy and all the problems will be solved. For us, it is a looooooooooooong journey......... But without therapy, i can't even imagine where we would be. May Hashem bless us all with Shalom Bayis!
(5/11/2011 4:17:44 PM)
When is time for counseling?
The answer is, BEFORE marriage, be counseled what marriage is. Then again when you are married and reality begins to hit. Then you might not need conflict counseling--even though you'll have conflicts, but you'll know what to work on by yourselves. ONLY if that fails, read and act on this article.
(10/26/2011 1:03:52 AM)
Bc of the Rebbe we are never lost.
Speak to your MASHPIA or kalla/chosson teacher on a regular basis...and if the husband doesnt want to speak to one then let him go, show him you trust him, meanwhile u just keep working on what you can do for yourself and for the marriage while being guided by your mashpia ...Hashem gave marriage a lifetime. Moshiach NOW.
Thank G'd We have the Rebbe. We are never lost.
Mashpia and Igros Kodesh--]direct channel...take advantage of it.
(5/3/2012 4:41:31 PM)
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