If you drove up a dirt driveway the exact same way for years you'd get ruts. The longer you kept driving in those ruts, the deeper they'd become. It would get harder to turn the wheel left or right, and harder to decide to drive up a different way. And the more expensive it would become to repair that road.
This is similar to a troubled marriage. Couples who seek help when they (1) begin to notice trouble, (2) they start to feel distant from each other, or (3) when resentments hang on, are able to stop that pattern before it becomes entrenched.
However, for all marital problems, couples therapy helps you learn new ways of relating, and resolve problematic patterns. More importantly, you learn how to discuss these problems in the future.
Once troubles begin, the average couple waits six long years before seeking help. Only fraction of those who file for divorce have ever seen a marital counselor. Those who do, only go 4 times. This is true despite the high emotional and economic consequences of divorce.
If your relationship is suffering, don't make the mistake of waiting to get professional help only as a last resort. Problematic patterns become entrenched if they are ignored.
I've noticed, also, when stress taxes an overall strong marriage, it is hard to see how healthy the relationship actually is. Couples are relieved to learn that they have a sound marriage. In these cases, what's needed are adopting particular skills, not a complete overhaul.
The Gottman Method is helpful for most couples because it focuses on pragmatic, skill-building techniques that anyone can learn. The thorough assessment lets you know up front, the specific types of skill-building you'll be focusing on. Ongoing treatment helps to walk you through a new way of relating to each other, step by step.
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