Marriage can be a surprisingly lonely place.

When your voice is not being heard, your problems are not being solved or you become afraid of rocking the boat, you may feel as though you are in this relationship by yourself. It can be isolating and disheartening, and that’s no way to spend your life. But you are not alone. You have an advocate for your happiness. When your relationship is in crisis, a good therapist can give you instant relief.

I know that many couples don’t seek help from a therapist because they feel someone on the “outside” cannot help them with their problems. That is far from the truth. Couples need an objective person to look at their challenges and give them practical solutions. A good couples therapist does not take sides and can understand both partners’ perspectives. In fact, a therapist can be the difference between a long, happy marriage and a short, miserable one.

Here are 6 ways a therapist can be the difference between a relationship breakthrough and break-up.

  1. A Therapist Gives Words to Your Emotions

I said earlier that a good therapist will give you instant relief. We do that by giving you a plan that will help you see that there is light at the end of the tunnel and then help you reach that light. A big part of creating a plan is being able to articulate your thoughts and feelings. When you are in crisis, your emotions are all over the place, and words just don’t seem to come out right. So when I work with clients, individually or during couples counseling, I listen and then paraphrase back what I have heard. I tell my clients, “Just nod your head ‘yes’ if I am on the right track, and shake your head ‘no’ if I am off.” This way, my clients are getting all their emotions out, and I am there to take the confusion out of the conversation.

  1. A Therapist Helps You Set Goals

Once your feelings are put into words, an effective therapist will help you to define goals for yourself and your relationship. I will never say, “Well, let’s see how you do and we’ll go from there.” A therapist like myself will say, “Each week, starting today, for 8 weeks, we will work toward your goal of feeling more secure in your relationship.” The difference between the two statements is that my clients leave my office knowing what their goal(s) are and how long we will need to work together. In therapy, I give you the tools you need to move forward and reach your goals. I am not doing the work for you, but I am guiding the way — until you see the path for yourself. This takes some of the burden off of my clients’ shoulders, which gives them the time to process what they are going through.

  1. A Therapist Listens Without Judgment

Like all effective relationship therapists, I offer clarity and understanding. I listen to both sides and then translate — with compassion — each person’s heartfelt perspective. By connecting through the heart, you start to understand on a higher level your partner, yourself and your relationship. I have a no-judgment zone in my office. I don’t judge, and I don’t throw people under the bus. We all make mistakes, and we should be given an opportunity to heal the hurt we have caused and allow our partners to do the same.

I have seen it many times in my office: When a couple lets down all their defenses, speaks from the heart and listens to each other, they reconnect right then and there. This is because they had a counselor who had no preconceived ideas about how their marriage should be. They didn’t have someone prolonging the situation for financial gain. They simply had someone facilitate the conversation, allowing them to open their hearts, reconnect and start living their happily ever after.

  1. A Therapist Reminds You of The Good Times

When couples come to me, they are often surprised that there are moments during the session when they are laughing. Yes, something bad has happened in your relationship, but I also don’t want you to forget about all the good that has happened. It is a therapist’s job to remind couples that they didn’t just wake up and decide to marry their partner. They fell in love for a reason, and that simple reminder can help you stay motivated as you work through your problems.

Sometimes the good doesn’t outweigh the bad, but I have an 80% success rate for my couples. That means that 80% of couples I see stay together — and they are happy. My couples reconnect to the truth of who they are and who their partner is. My couples learn to forgive infidelity, improve their sex lives, become united in blended families and even make peace with in-laws. Yes, sometimes even I feel like I work magic!

  1. A Therapist Helps You Make Thoughtful Decisions

When you are facing a breakup, you may think that you must make a decision right then. But a therapist can show you that you don’t have to make a quick decision just because you feel like everything is coming at you so fast. A good therapist can help you to slow down, take a deep breathe and start getting in touch with what you really want and what will make you happy. The difference between staying together and breaking up is the time you put into making the right decision.

  1. A Therapist Puts You and Your Spouse on a Path Toward Progress

Therapy is a process, and no matter how good your therapist is, there is no overnight success. Each session should give you solutions to reach your goals, and it should put you and your spouse on the same path forward. Both you and your partner must be willing to work hard to reach your goals: to be honest, to engage in therapy and to do your homework (and yes, I give homework). Couples therapy is not a quick solution to your marital problems, but it is a realistic solution. Your emotions are going up and down, but you need to stay the course and not give up. I’ve seen it happen: You can rebuild your relationship and learn how to protect your happiness.

In order for you to go through the healing process individually or with your partner, you need a therapist who you feel comfortable with, who you can be honest with and who will not judge you or your relationship. My clients have success because they know I am in the ring with them. I do not just give advice and let them go all 12 rounds alone. You have to feel like your therapist has your best interest in mind and that you are not just an appointment on their schedule.

You should look forward to going to therapy because it’s your safe place to speak your truth and receive help to reach your goals.

You can contact me at (864) 559-8181 to schedule an appointment. I can help people in Greenville, SC, and surrounding areas.

Truthfully yours,