Marriage Therapy & Couples Counseling

© 2024 Bonnett Chandler, MA, LPCC; Richard Chandler, MA, LPC; Kelly Krueger, MA, LMFT

Upset Couple Seeking Marriage Counseling in St. Cloud, MN
Upset Couple Seeking Marriage Counseling in St. Cloud, MN

We Do Individual & Couples Counseling by Video Conferencing or by Phone

Romantic Partnership & Marriage Breakdown

Marriage breakdown includes threats of separation and divorce and an erosion of trust in your fiancee or significant other. Often it begins with the partners taking their love for granted. When this happens, husbands and wives quit doing the romantic niceties they did for each other before committing exclusively to each other or getting married.

Consider by telephone or online marriage counseling as your best opportunity to truly understand your current difficulties as a couple and what you might do to change directions to no longer go down a road leading to separation and divorce.

Is Your Relationship Suffering from Conflict, Infidelity, Miscommunications or Loss of Intimacy?

With the loss of romance, other problems often develop—sexual intimacy decreases, both in frequency and in variety. Sometimes marriages become low-sex or sexless, leading to the danger that attraction grows for other men or women outside of their marriage. Moreover, this can lead to forms of infidelity, including an inappropriate emotional appeal to others that may take the form of texting, chatting, or instant messaging and perhaps an overuse of pornography.

One, or both members of the partnership, may develop “inside distance and outside intimacy.” As a romantic love relationship deteriorates, the risk increases for one or both to have affairs. Loss of trust can result. A few years ago, I was interviewed by a reporter for the St. Cloud Times, who based her article about cheating and infidelity on our interview.

Relationship breakdown
Marriage therapy could help if these trends apply to you

Should I Even Try to Save My Marriage? Will it End in Separation & Divorce, Even with Therapy?

Couple receiving marriage therapy

Many of my St. Cloud, MN, and online couples and marriage counseling clients, start off feeling little hope of saving their marriages. One, or both partners, might feel so sad and hurt that they question whether they have the interest or energy even to try.

My experience in working with Central Minnesota and teletherapy marriage therapy clients is that a good many married couples begin therapy under very challenging conditions. Even so, they can and do put their committed relationship with their mate back on track. Not that it is easy - but it is an opportunity for growth.

Not that it is easy - but it is an opportunity for growth.For a more in-depth discussion of an expected success rate for couples counseling, along with information on cost, length and insurance, please click on this link.

The Perspective Each Marriage Partner Holds When Beginning Couples' Counseling Online

If you have children, there is a lot to gain in learning to cooperate and communicate more clearly, so you may successfully parent, even if your romantic partnership doesn’t survive.

I specialize in working with men's issues. Male clients have sought me out before entering into marriage therapy to process their thoughts, feelings, and wants to decide whether they wish to stay in their marriage.

If, after the 1st session, a man does want to work with his wife, husband, or significant other, we can consider doing couples therapy. When that is the decision, we will start the 2nd session with his romantic partner for the 1st half, then bring both in to conclude the couples counseling.

On the other hand, if within the initial individual first session, a man does not decide to do couples therapy, he may elect to continue working with me as his therapist individually and seek out couples’ counseling with another psychotherapist.

From a Google Review

Suddenly after forty years of marriage we found ourselves "happily" retired but quickly discovered that the same old dysfunctional communication patterns had followed us to our happy place. 🙁 Try as we might we just could not shake the old, familiar feelings of being dissatisfied and lonely with one another and now we couldn't escape those feelings by fleeing to a workplace for some reprieve.
We needed help and we both wanted it. Richard had all of the skills necessary to help us to identify just exactly what we were each doing to impede the effective, loving & compassionate communication we both so desperately wanted.
It hasn't been easy. We've both had to face some tough truths about ourselves that we had spent years either ignoring, pretending weren't there or just didn't have the time to deal with.
But Richard has a way of making you look at those very scary & very raw moments as simply necessary opportunities to get to the place you want to be. It has been so, so worth it! We are well on our way and feel confident that our retirement years together can be all that we ever dreamed of. We highly recommend Richard.

3 Common Life Challenges that put Stress on Your Marriage, Premarital or Significant Other Partner Relationship

St Cloud MN Marriage Counselor Talks on In-law Stress Strain on Marriages
In-law Stress and Strain on Marriages
  1. Mental overload from work and career, working too many hours, and bringing your job stress home often happens. And it can contribute significantly to putting a strain on your relationship.
  2. You may be experiencing difficulties with in-laws, which has the effect of putting the blood relative in the middle of the conflict, in not uncommon. If you choose one side or the other, either your original family or your spouse will be upset, perhaps even feeling betrayed by you.
  3. Parenting styles between the two of you may differ too much, creating a strain on your relationship: Perhaps one of you is much more firm or lax in enforcing agreed-upon family rules. You or your spouse may be making decisions regarding your children individually, rather than made jointly, after discussion and agreement.Your children have perhaps have figured out which one of you to ask for certain things, as they know that the two of you are not a united front. One of you occupies the parenting power-position, leading to inconsistency with how you work with your kids and resentment towards the one in the position of power.

Talking things through and making joint decisions to improve these three areas are critical to putting your romantic partnership back on track. As your online, or in-person marriage therapist, I will encourage you to address these and other areas of disagreement as part of marriage counseling.

Signs Your Marriage Could Benefit From Couples Counseling

St. Cloud, MN Romantic Married Couple Talking about their Relationship of Trust, Love and Affection
St. Cloud, MN Romantic Married Couple Talking about their Relationship of Trust, Love and Affection

A Good Deal of Criticism In Your Marriage

Criticism can damage a relationship when it becomes excessive or overly negative. In marriage therapy, couples can work on identifying when criticism is constructive versus when it is destructive. Constructive criticism is specific, focused on behavior, and aims to find a solution. On the other hand, destructive criticism is often vague, generalizing, and focused on the person rather than the behavior. Couples can learn to express their concerns and frustrations constructively in therapy sessions.

Name-Calling Between Marriage Partners

Name-calling can be a form of verbal abuse and is damaging to a relationship. It can involve using derogatory terms or labels to describe the other person. In marriage therapy, couples can learn to express their frustrations and concerns more constructively and avoid using hurtful language.

Contempt In Your Relationship, As Seen With 'Eye-Rolling'

Contempt can be shown in many ways, including eye-rolling, sarcasm, and belittling. It involves an attitude of disrespect or disdain for the other person. In marriage therapy, couples can learn to recognize when contempt is present and how to address underlying issues. They can also learn to communicate more positively and respectfully.

Stonewalling, Also Known As 'Silent Treatment'

Stonewalling involves shutting down emotionally and refusing to communicate with the other person. It can be a form of passive-aggressive behavior and can damage a relationship. In marriage therapy, couples can learn to recognize when stonewalling occurs and how to address underlying issues. They can also learn to communicate more openly and constructively.

There are signs that your romantic relationship may be breaking down and could benefit from couples counseling. Even if a seismic event, such as infidelity in some form, has not yet happened, there may be symptoms that a romantic partnership is in trouble:

Hurtful Arguing Between Partners

During marriage therapy, it’s important to recognize the difference between healthy disagreements and hurtful arguing. Hurtful arguing can involve shouting, interrupting, and using disrespectful language. It can also involve bringing up past issues or making personal attacks. In therapy sessions, couples can learn to communicate more effectively by listening to each other and constructively expressing their thoughts and feelings.

Sarcasm Becomes Prevalent In Your Relationship

Sarcasm can be a way to deflect or avoid real issues in a relationship. It can also be used as a way to criticize or belittle the other person. In marriage therapy, couples can learn to recognize when sarcasm is used as a defense mechanism and how to address underlying issues more directly. They can also learn to communicate in a more positive and supportive way.

Marriage Partners Belittling Each Other

Belittling can involve talking down to the other person or making them feel small or insignificant. It can be a form of emotional abuse and may be extremely damaging to a relationship. In marriage therapy, couples can work on building up each other’s self-esteem and learning to communicate in a more respectful and supportive way.

Couple seeing an increase in arguing

An Increase In Arguing In Your Relationship

An increase in arguing can signify underlying issues in a relationship. In marriage therapy, couples can work on identifying the root causes of their disagreements and finding ways to address them more effectively. They can also learn to communicate more constructively and positively.

St. Cloud, MN Married Man and Woman Both Argue About Who is Right
St. Cloud, MN Married Man and Woman Both Argue About Who is Right

Will My Marriage Therapy Counselor Stay Neutral or Take Sides?

In both telephone and online marriage therapy couples counseling, professional couples counselors see the relationship as the client and endeavor to stay fair, neutral, and balanced.

A common concern faced by those who seek out a St. Cloud couples therapy counselor for help with their relationship is trusting the therapist will stay neutral and not take sides. This concern may raise questions such as:

  • Will a male counselor overly identify with husbands/male partners?
  • Will a female counselor overly identify with wives/female partners?
  • Could the counselor take sides rather than staying completely neutral?

Why You May Wish to Begin Online Couples' Counseling as a Minnesota Client

We help you to resolve communications challenges, which may have led to difficulties in your pre-marriage, marriage, or other significant relationship. If your primary relationship is troubled, don’t wait to reach out for professional help.

The earlier you and your partner seek counseling, the less likely it is for further hurt, disappointment, and overwhelming levels of stress to damage your relationship further. In addition to beginning marriage therapy right away, you both increase understanding and empathy for each other by trying out some of these nine ways to improve your love relationship.

Richard Chandler, MA, LPC, Couples Counselor, Will Provide Insight, but Won't Decide for You

Even if you are facing extreme challenges, such as infidelity, severe financial stress, or a loss of intimacy, there can be a fresh start and a return to more open communication and perhaps even to a place of closeness. Whatever the outcome of couples counseling, you and your partner will gain a good deal of insight, which will serve you both for the rest of your lives.

Please note: I will not advise you to break up. I won’t suggest that you stay together either. In Minnesota online couples counseling you are empowered to decide.

My role to be the very best marriage counselor that I can be. My job is to help you gain clarity on your thoughts, feelings, and wants as well as a better understanding of your relationship and the many ways that you and your wife, husband or significant other can improve it.

Please email, text or call at 320-223-9481 and we can briefly talk about your situation. We can also have this no-cost consult conversation online, so you can experience what it is like to do marraige therapy from your Minnesota location.  After our initial no-cost conversation, we will both know if it makes sense for us to work together to better things for you.

If it would be better for you to work with another counselor, we will do our best to help you find one who is better suited to you and your situation.

Richard Chandler, MA, LPC St Cloud MN Counselor

All Marriage, Premarital Romantic Partners & Significant Other Couples Welcome

Elk River, MN African-American Couple in the outdoors

We respectfully work with African-Americans and all other non-Caucasian couples and individual clients. What I have discovered by working with multicultural couples in my St. Cloud couples counseling practice is that it is vital to be culturally literate and even more important to be aware of my own cultural bias. I’m honored to work with people of color.

Our online counseling clients include engaged, unmarried, gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer couples. The significant factors in couples breakdown, along with what gets romantic partners back to a better relationship, has less to do with gender, ethnicity, or culture and more with dynamics common to all couples.

In marriage therapy, we encourage you to “take on” the perspective of your spouse or significant other. For that purpose, I wrote 4 helpful couples’ communication tips on perspective.

Note: We welcome and have experience in working with gay and lesbian LGBTQ clients individually and as couples.

Insurance Coverage for Online or In-Person Couples' Counseling?

Lesbian, Gay and Transgender Couples Welcome at Chandler Counseling & Consulting

The reason insurance does not cover online or in-person couples counseling is because trouble in your relationship is not a medical issue. Diagnosable mental illness. Insurance, including government coverage, only covers diagnosable mental illnesses.

Even though you must pay on your own, counseling to help your relationship is still much less costly than ending your relationship. If, despite investing in couples counseling, your marriage ends, what you gain in your ability to communicate more skillfully with each other could save you in attorney fees and make it easier to co-parent together.

Click this link, for my webpage that answers questions on the cost of marriage counseling, length of therapy, insurance coverage and the likely success of couples therapy.

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