The Top 5 Signs Your Marriage Needs Help

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- Written by Dr. Beth Erickson

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You’ve just had a fight with your spouse. Is this a harbinger of a brewing storm, or is it normal? How do you know when you and your spouse need marriage help?  As a practicing couples counselor for over three decades, I have seen marriage from every angle. I’ve worked in premarital couples counseling to help the smart ones assess their strengths and identify their weaknesses as a couple.  I have done couples counseling with folks who’ve been married for five months and for 50 years. Sometimes, they seek my help for marriage enrichment, and sometimes because their marriage is in trouble. I have done divorce and post-divorce counseling to help couples stop recycling the same problems in their divorce that plagued them in their marriage. And I have been a divorce mediator for couples who seek a saner way of divorcing and an arbitrator for couples who insist on continuing their marital conflict long after they have divorced. From all of those experiences, I offer the following 5 major signs that your marriage probably needs.

  1. When you and your spouse continually rehash the same argument, you probably need marriage help. Whether you literally have the same argument, or if just the dynamics of the fight are the same, your marriage is in trouble. In healthy marriages, couples know how to identify and address their issues with each other before they become ongoing problems that tear at the fabric of their marriage. So if you find yourselves having an old, familiar argument, you are wise to seek couples counseling before you dig a rut so deep that it is difficult to get out of it. 
  2. If arguing and fighting are the primary way you and your spouse emotionally connect, your marriage is in danger. In a strange way, fighting is safe because neither of you has to feel vulnerable to the other, and yet it generates an intense connection. However, this mode of emotional connecting will become emotionally – and sometimes physically – dangerous. If this description fits your relationship, your marriage definitely needs help.
  3. If you find your self-esteem eroded since marrying your spouse, your marriage is becoming too emotionally costly for anybody’s good. Of course, your marriage isn’t necessarily the only challenge to your self-confidence. But especially if you sense that your spouse is deliberately undermining you, you are in danger of losing yourself in your relationship dysfunction. This benefits nobody, and you likely will need couples counseling to help reverse this caustic negative dynamic.
  4. If it seems like everything and everybody is more important to your spouse than you, this makes for very lopsided investments in your relationship. Maybe you tend to feel that way anyway, in which case you could need your spouse’s help to heal that old wound. You will need to work on that to be an equal partner in your relationship. But if you have married a very self-centered spouse, you definitely will need professional help to correct this potentially untenable situation.
  5. If you find yourself just not liking your spouse any more, something is going very wrong. I am not talking about the temporary feeling we all occasionally experience when we are convinced that marrying your spouse was the dumbest decision you’re ever made! Rather, if this feeling is persistent and gets worse, your marriage definitely will need help before there is nothing left between you.

In conclusion, while there is no one-size-fits-all approach to assessing a marriage, I hope this gives you some guidelines to assess your situation. I offer a complimentary consultation to those requesting it by calling my toll free number (888-546-1580). Dr. Beth has been a marriage and family therapist for over three decades and is host of “Relationships 101” on She counsels couples and individuals over the phone and in person. She is the author of the bestselling book Marriage Isn’t for Sissies: 7 Simple Keys to Unlocking the Best Part of Your Life. She has two web sites: and     

About the Author

Dr. Beth Erickson

As a speaker, consultant, coach and author, Dr. Beth Erickson is sought after by the media, corporations and individuals to share her insightful and expert opinion in matters regarding Relationships, Family Dynamics, Family in Crisis, Performance Enhancement and other psychological topics. She is a recognized expert in the field of Family and Marital Relations and is frequently quoted and interviewed by the media.