Most couples experience marital difficulties periodically - this is par for the course. There is however a sizable group who are unable to resolve their difficulties without assistance.
In our practice as relationship counselors we constantly come across couples with problems who have sought or accepted help from parents, or well intentioned friends, in the hope that implementing their advice will provide them with the means to saving their marriage. - In our experience this is a recipe for disaster. We always advise couples to be very wary about involving parents, friends and close relatives in their marital problems.
It is very rare that any of the above can express their opinions or offer advice without a degree of bias. The upshot of this is that their involvement often only serves to make a bad relationship even worse.
The other point to consider is that it can be extremely upsetting for elderly parents to learn that an adult child's marital relationship is in trouble.
Our advice is - if you need help to sort out your marital difficulties, always seek the advice of someone who is independent and experienced in this field.
What makes a successful marriage?
Luck or love doesn't always play a part in a successful marriage. Many successful marital relationships are built on commitment or companionship (some call them marriages of convenience).
I'm sure that most readers will be aware of couples (particularly older ones) who are simply in the relationship because they want a companion rather than a lover.
Marriages that are commitment based are those that exist for moral, personal, religious or structural reasons. These marriages in our experience can, and often are, happy and very successful.
Many couples find the settling in period after marriage to be quite traumatic and for many a time of unhappiness as they come to the realization that they are now sharing their life with another person who has different standards, opinions and habits from them.
However it is important for couples to understand that this period is not necessarily a predictor of things to come. In our practice, and in research conducted in the United States, the strong evidence is that 86% of couples who had initial prolonged periods of unhappiness worked their way out of it and went on to live happy and fulfilling lives together.
It is a fact that there are very few marital problems that cannot be resolved given good will all round. It is often a matter of honest communication and commitment to making your marriage work.