Marriage problems often start small. Maybe with a lack of communication, or a lack of attention. But little problems build into larger problems over time. Often, by the time both parties realize that the problems between them have gotten out of control, the bad times outnumber the good, and almost every day brings an argument and feelings of sadness and resentment.
The fact is, most couples are too slow to recognize the need they have for marriage counseling, and by the time it's obvious, it's also too late. Counseling, when undertaken in time, really does save marriages. Not only that, but it can make marriages healthier than they have ever been and couples can be happier. But many couples hesitate when it comes to counseling and wait too long. Many feel that it's like admitting failure. Others are suspicious of psychology or behavioral therapy. Most people have some kind of preconceived notion about counseling, and some are really detrimental to the process as a tool for saving the marriage.
But marriage counseling actually offers couples a chance to talk about the origin of their problems in a safe and moderated environment. It's an environment that is controlled by a trained councilor who is committed to resolving issues and improving communication. When both partners are committed to this result, counseling can be extraordinarily powerful and bring your marriage back from the brink of disaster.
But wait...why did you let it get to the brink of disaster to begin with? The best time for counseling isn't when divorce seems an immediately viable option. The time for counseling is at the first sign of serious trouble, when issues begin to come up again and again without resolution, and when communication begins to break down.
This may be difficult, as convincing your partner that you require counseling when there really aren't so many terrible problems might take some work. But it will pay off eventually, as it really takes both sides of a marriage to be committed to success. Individual counseling may help to resolve some of the issues, but the core problems and lack of communication will persist so long as one of you resists help.
In fact, one of the times when marriage counseling genuinely cannot help is when one of the partners has already become detached from the relationship or bought into the idea of divorce as the only escape from an untenable situation.
If you recognize that you are at a point in your relationship in which you need to seek counseling, do a little research about psychologists and therapists in your area. Actually, it's likely that someone you know has seen a marriage counselor try to find someone to refer you to a trustworthy therapist. In any case, it is desperately important that you start early, and give the process time to work. Counseling really can save marriages, but only with a strong commitment from both partners and a desire to pull back from the edge of divorce.