Marriage, Family & Premarital Concerns




When you choose a long term, committed relationship, you have hopes and dreams about what life together will be like. Over time you will have feelings about each other that surprise you, possibly disappoint you, and even concern you.

Your relationship can get even more complicated. When you choose your partner, you also gain your partner’s extended family. And if there was a previous marriage, you may gain children and other family members.

For better or worse, family relationships have an impact on you and your partner, and add to the challenge of marriage.

Symptoms of a marriage in trouble are sometimes subtle and somtimes painfully obvious.

You can have a look at your relationship by taking this on-line self-assessment inventory on marriage relationships.

You can also print out the self-assessment. (This is a PDF file. To view it, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. To take the inventory, print the PDF file and fill in your answers.)

If you would like to get help and support with your relationships with your partner and family, we provide marriage and family therapy, couples therapy and many other services.

It is normal at times to feel disappointment, discontent, or anger with your partner. If the two of you are not able to resolve issues and feel closer, it is probably time to get a therapist to help you.

Your concerns may come in one or more of these forms: an affaire, conflict about childrearing, step-family challenges, discontent in your sexual relationship, recovery from substance abuse, conflict over money, and contemplating or preparing for separation or divorce.

Any concern that interferes with you feeling loved by your partner and secure in your relationship is a signal that the relationship is in trouble. Consider how you are feeling about your relationship by answering “agree” or “disagree” to these statements:

Our arguments do not resolve issues.
We don’t have fun together anymore.
My partner/spouse seems distant.
I “go along” to “get along” with my partner.
I feel distant from my partner.
We have problems in our sexual relationship.

If you answered “yes” to even one of the above questions, it is time to see a marriage and family therapist for help. [LINK]

Take an online self-assessment inventory on marriage relationships. [LINK]

Print out a self-assessment inventory on marriage relationships. (This is a PDF file. To view it, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. To take the inventory, print the PDF file and fill in your answers.) [LINK]


Have you been aware for a while that things are not right? Do you wonder whether it is too late to mend the troubles of your family? It is tempting to put problems or issues aside and hope for the best.
But even if you and your partner avoid conflict by agreeing with one another, your relationship will suffer. When you endure unpleasant issues you cannot have a thriving, enjoyable relationship.

It takes determination and courage to pay attention to thoughts and feelings of disappointment and frustration and learn what they can tell you about you and your partner. But it’s worth the outcome: a more resilient, loving, and fulfilling relationship. A therapist with specialized education, training, and experience can help you and your partner tackle your issues. With a couples and family therapist’s help, you develop the insight, awareness and strategies that can make your relationship more fulfilling.

Even if only one of you is ready to go to therapy, you can work with a therapist skilled in building relationships. With help, you can learn to do your part in enhancing the quality of your couple relationship while taking good care of yourself at the same time.

Do you wonder whether it is too late to mend the troubles in yourof your family?

An attitude of curiosity and interest in self-exploration supports the probability that you and your partner will have a successful outcome in therapy.

Couples therapy can be highly challenging, because we humans usually want to blame others for a problem. Therapy is all about learning how your attitude, behavior, and expression (or lack of expression) of feelings contributes to the problems in the relationship.

You have the greatest chance of succeeding in therapy when you take responsibility for your part in making a change in the quality of your relationship. When you and your partner, or any family member, is ready to do what it takes to have a successful, fulfilling marriage, you are ready to see a therapist.

Even if your partner will not join you in counseling, the right therapist can help you work on yourself and help you build a more fulfilling relationship with your partner and family members.

In the first few sessions of couples or family therapy, your therapist will learn about what brought you to therapy, and evaluate your emotional, physical, social, and spiritual health. Once your therapist completes the evaluation, he/she will develop a treatment plan to meet your particular needs.
The work of a couple’s therapist is to help each of you understand your contribution to the trouble in the relationship, and what you can do to create more satisfaction.

It is a common belief that trouble in a relationship is due to poor communication. Learning to listen carefully is very important. Relationships improve when you learn to listen to each other without judgment and learn to accept your partner for who he/she is.

But communication is just one element of an enjoyable relationship. Two other essential elements are each partner’s attitude toward the other, and the demonstration of affection.

When you are ready to hold an attitude of curiosity and learn how you contribute to being disconnected with your partner, you are well on your way to growing a more loving and satisfying relationship.

Few decisions in life have greater impact on one’s happiness than the decision to marry. In the glow of feeling love and attraction, it is easy to overlook things that can cause discontent in the future. This is true whether this is a first marriage, or you have been married before, or if by marrying you will be blending a step-family.

Pre-marital counseling helps both of you explore your values and expectations. It gives you the opportunity to learn, before you get married, how to address conflict in ways that bring you closer and deepen your love. You will learn how to manage the challenges of building a life together once you are married, helping to ensure a fulfilling and enduring relationship.

Erma Bombeck, the author and comedian, once described families “as the ties that bind….and gag.”

Families, of course can offer much more than this. They can be a haven for security, love, growth, and healing. Life is difficult, and sometimes families get off track.

Coping with issues such as children having difficulty in school, conflict with a divorced parent, illness, blending a step family, recovery from substance abuse can put a family at risk. When one person in a family is facing a challenge, it impacts everyone in the family.

Sometimes the impact is subtle and goes unnoticed for a while. And nobody is aware that someone is hurting until things get even worse. When extended family and close friends cannot give the support that is needed it is wise to get help. A Potomac Grove Psychiatry family therapist can help. [LINK]

Let us help you address your concerns.  

Call Potomac Grove Psychiatry today for an appointment: 301-963-0060.