I believe the answer is yes. John Gottman, considered an expert in the field of marriage and relationship research, has described traits of relationships that indicate they are in serious trouble. He calls them the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. These traits may occur sporadically in most relationships and do not, on their own, indicate a failing relationship. But, when they begin to persist and occur more frequently, relationship quality suffers.
Gottman's research shows that contempt, in particular, is highly indicative of likely divorce or breakup. When we have waited to long to get help, and our hurt feelings have festered, we can fall into a pattern of contempt. When there is contempt, partners are also less likely to believe their partner cares about them. Sue Johnson's research on Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy indicates that a partner's belief (particularly the female partner) that the other person cares about them indicates a higher likelihood that therapy will be successful. If we can agree to get help and do it before contempt sets in and before we lose hope that our partners care about us, we are much more likely to succeed in couples therapy.
If your partner is hesitant, one way to couch the idea of counseling could be to tell them that you see couples counseling as a way to enhance your relationship, or even as a form of "insurance" for a good relationship. Call me today at 303-513-8975 or visit www.marriagecounselingindenver.com to get your relationship back on track before things get ugly and your hear those horsemen coming.