Sunday, January 4, 2009

When there is trouble in paradise, why do we wait so long to receive professional help?

Do we not know that there are problems? Do we think that the issues at hand are no biggie... that everyone is supposed to struggle with these things? Are we living in total denial? Do we not care enough about ourselves, our spouse, our marriage and for that matter, our kids too? After all, our marriage issues also affect our kids. Does fear of the unknown hold us back? Are we afraid of what our family and/or friends will say? Is it the old social stigma of mental health? Do we not want to spend the money on professional help? Are we simply too lazy to go?

In your educated or uneducated opinion, what do you feel is the main reason(s) why most folks put off receiving emotional and sexual help for their marriage? And what do you think we can do to change that, for ourselves and for others?


hisplaymate said...

Great question. For us, it wasn't physical problems (technically) but definite sexual intimacy problems (wasn't near what it could be). You know why we went 16 years without addressing it? We didn't realize it could be better! Duh! I had resigned myself to it, and my hubby thought things were great. I had no idea I was as passionate as I really am, and was very frustrated but figured if I was single, I'd probably be looking for exactly what I already had. So I figured I just needed to be more grateful.

Neither of us had any idea that you can't go on like that indefinitely. The truth finally came out. My feelings for him had dwindled.

I know you mentioned recently that your church handles the topic of sex incredibly well. We on the other hand, well, it's just assumed that unless there are really bad problems, then every couple must be fine and dandy.

So for us it was ignorance. I hadn't a clue it could be like it is now. I still shake my head.

So I wish their was more accountability, or more out there that asks people the question: does your relationship look like "this"? If not, you may need to consider that there are underlying problems.

I see the Christian community is getting better, but I still think it has miles and miles to go. I want more Christian sex books that aren't all about convincing women to be sexual!

You need to write a book. ;o)

luvmygirls said...

I think it's everything you said, Gemma. Different people have different reasons, but I know couples I have counseled have listed many of those same reasons. It's a perspective of being weak or inadequate, or of being labeled. We ought to be able to fix our own problems, we think. Of course we don't feel inadequate when we need a professional to do an appliance or car repair. Hmm.

scotty said...

I agree with hisplaymate - you need to write a book!

Cocotte said...

Plenty of people who are sick refuse to go to a medical doctor, so I don't think there's much difference between that and those who refuse to see some sort of therapist.

Plus, I think there's a stigma about therapy that some people can't get past.

midwestman said...

I believe a big reason is fear of losing what we have and making things worse.


Gemma said...

It sounds like all of you have different ideas for what causes spouses to hesitate in receiving professional help. And I do feel that the reasons are many.

Does anyone have thoughts on how we can overcome that hesitation in our own marriage or with others we know who may need proff help?

Honestly, sometimes I think that that hesitation is worse than the marriage issues. Sure, the issues are bad but the hesitation often means that in spite of knowing that our marriage isn't as passionate as it could or should be and the relationship is not improving.... yet we still won't "cross that line" to aggressively attack the issues. By that point it's almost like a "head in the sand" experience.

I Don't know... what do you guys think?

Sensuous Wife said...

While I think it's getting better, I believe there's still a huge stigma against therapy or counseling in many churches. From time to time, I still hear the stone age comment at a gathering of Christians, "if you really trusted God, you wouldn't need psychology."

Another situation that could prevent someone from receiving counseling is they are locked in a mexican standoff with their spouse waiting for their spouse to change. So many people don't realize their key to freedom and healing is their own willingness to be honest with God, themselves and another human being about their own issues.

Gemma said...

Sensuous Wife said: I still hear the stone age comment at a gathering of Christians, "if you really trusted God, you wouldn't need psychology."

I try to say away from those type of folks. If I do hear such a comment I like to reply with: If God never meant for us to ever seek help, we wouldn't need our family physician, our dentist, our a/c and heater man, our mechanic, etc. Whenever a problem arises all we'd have to do is pray it away. But in reality God doesn't promise to fix all our problems without human help.