I hope that the following guest post from Kate Willson is helpful to couples facing marital problems, such as separation or divorce:
Your marriage is one of the most important relationships you'll ever have. No matter how difficult things can get, divorce should always be considered a last resort. While the idea of divorce may seem like a great idea in theory, many underestimate the emotional, financial, even physical toll a divorce can take on you, your spouse, and your children.
If you are seriously considering separating from your partner, you may want to consider marriage counseling. Many scoff at the idea of a third party being paid to repair a suffering marriage, but it can be beneficial if you approach it with an open mind. If you aren't entirely convinced, here are a few things to consider:
1. Marriage counseling can help you communicate constructively with your spouse.
When you think about why, exactly, you are considering a divorce, you can probably come up with millions of little reasons or a few big ones. However, what is underlying in almost all marital problems is the lack of effective communication. A marriage counselor will show you and your spouse how to communicate constructively. Although it takes time, talking things out is always the first step to repairing any relationship.
2. Good marriage counselors have years of experience in helping to resolve common disputes.
While you may think that the problems you are having with your spouse are unique ones, an experienced marriage counselor has heard it all before. He or she knows how other couples have resolved typical disputes in the past and can give you insight and advice based on others' experiences.
3. You don't have to bring in your spouse to go to a marriage counselor.
If what's keeping you from seeing a marriage counselor is the fact that you know your spouse will not be on board, don't worry. You don't have to attend a counseling session with your spouse. You can attend sessions separately, or you can go it alone, too. If one partner can learn to communicate effectively, sometimes that's all it takes.
4. If nothing else has worked, what harm can come from trying?
It's completely normal to be skeptical of something like marriage counseling. At the same time, however, counseling has saved marriages and restored intimacy and trust for many. While it may not work for you, you really have nothing to lose by going to a few a sessions. Give it a try before throwing in the towel. Even if counseling doesn't save your marriage, you'll invariably learn something about dealing with relationships so that you won't make the same mistakes with future ones.