Instead of checking up on your spouse, it may be time to check-in.
Marriage counseling has been a stigma for many Black families. Lester L. Barclay, author of The African-American Guide to Divorce & Drama: Breaking Up Without Breaking Down, shared with Essence.com that it’s more common for Black couples to neglect the idea that a part of their marital trouble is poor mental health and they, particularly men, refuse to seek professional help.
“Historically, Black people have been taught that what happens in this house stays in this house or we have been taught to sweep things under the rug,” explains Dr. TaMara Griffin, certified clinical sexologist and relationship expert. This kind of silencing and thinking, Dr. Griffin believes, has led to the demise of many Black marriages, families and communities.
Some feel that it’s easier to phone a lawyer to end the marriage instead of a counselor, who could possibly save it. We are very prideful people and one of the things we pride ourselves on most is being strong.
While it may sound fancier to say you’re meeting with your lawyer instead of your “shrink”, the real strength is in fighting for your marriage as many times as it takes to keep it together. And sometimes, we could use a little help from someone on the outside (objectively) looking in.
“Seeking a marriage and family therapist can help provide an outside non-biased perspective and input that can help you and your partner/spouse see things in a new way. They can also help provide tools and techniques that couples can use to save and strengthen their marriage,” said Dr. Griffin.
Counselors are known to help couples navigate through many issues including intimacy, infidelity, differing parental styles, money management, communication and overbearing in-laws.
Here are five reasons you should go to marriage counseling, even if your relationship is in good standing.
1. Stay together
The obvious reason many spouses chose to go to counseling is because they want to improve their relationship. But, they don’t know how. This is often the case for couples who lack intimacy and have begun to function as roommates instead of lovers. Speaking to a licensed counselor can be helpful in sorting out the issues that are causing disengagement and get things back on track, Donna M. White, LMHC, CACP writes in PsychCentral.