She can’t put her finger on it, but something just isn’t right. It’s nothing that happened recently. Nothing he’s done, or hasn’t done. No screaming fights or anything like that, but something just feels wrong. She remembers how it felt to fall in love with him all those years ago. Is it possible to fall out of love, too?

Sure, some marriages end dramatically because of events like infidelity. But even more of them fall apart gradually, slipping away for any number of reasons, often unnoticed by both parties. Even when there’s a major incident like infidelity, it’s typically a symptom of a larger problem that’s been happening for years.

Yes, it is possible to fall out of love with someone. Much as we’d like to believe that love is something magical, relationships require work. Hard work. Great marriages don’t happen by drifting toward someone. Without consistent attention and investment by both parties, small gaps grow into huge chasms.

Our professionals typically see people at three points in their marriages. We’re happiest when couples come to us before they get married, because we can help them through conflicts before they become more complicated and overwhelming. At that point we can provide tools needed to begin a fulfilling life after they say their vows. We’re saddest when we’re brought in after the revelation that there’s been an affair, and we’re asked to help with the damage. The third point is during times of difficult emotional struggles like infertility, the loss of a child (including miscarriages), problems with children, and basic communication issues. They’re often the situations in which husbands and wives wonder about the health of their marriages and they want for more than just a roommate. They want a strong partnership that lasts, even during the pressures of life.

Our goal at all three points is identical: strengthening the relationship to help it thrive. There are situations in which the damage or division is so great that the parties just can’t find common ground. We help couples find, or rebuild a foundation for their relationship. The couple may have never developed strong communication skills or figured out how to resolve conflicts without fighting. Even after years of marriage, intimacy may be a challenge. Since they don’t know what to do, they avoid the problem areas and tiptoe around each other. Eventually, the fabric of the marriage has torn, and intervention is needed.

Using the research-based Prepare-Enrich program, we begin with a simple assessment that helps identify areas of strength as well as areas that need growth. We work through communication, conflict resolution, accepting and asking forgiveness, stress management, and yes, sometimes even health, finances, intimacy, or parenting. These and other areas of life affect every couple, and using specific exercises while in session and assigning home work for the couple to practice later, we help couples build, rebuild, and strengthen their relationship.

It’s a challenging process, but when couples do the brave work of reconnecting, it is all worth it in the end.

Are you preparing to be married and want the skills to prevent problems later in life? Do you wonder if your marriage in trouble? If you’re asking the question, it might be time to contact us. Why not sit down with one of our counselors and explain why you’re concerned? That simple conversation may open your eyes and restore your hope. Call today.

Learn more about April Bordeau, who is a Prepare-Enrich trained therapist and co-owner at Care to Change.

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