You probably recognize those words as the title of a popular article in a women’s magazine.
“Can this marriage be saved?” This article attempts to determine: can my marriage be saved and should you save your marriage.
This is an important question and one that is best addressed by a specific process called Discernment Counseling.
What is Discernment Counseling? It’s a relatively new process championed by William Doherty, Ph.D., Professor of Family Social Science and Director of the Citizen Professional Center at the University of Minnesota. Bill is also a practicing marriage and family therapist.
Simply put, discernment counseling helps a couple to discern the path forward for themselves with clarity and confidence. It consists of no more than five sessions.
The goal of discernment counseling is for couples to make a thoughtful choice among three options—continuing in the relationship as it currently exists, separation or divorce, or a commitment to engage in six months of couples counseling with the goal of improving and saving a marriage.
Couples therapists are often faced with the mixed agenda couple—the couple in which one partner wants to remain in the marriage, and the other is not so sure.
This makes couples counseling challenging since a wholehearted and joint commitment is required in order to make real, lasting change.
By acknowledging this reality, couples can make an honest and realistic evaluation of if and how to save a failing marriage.
If you are wondering if your marriage can be saved and how to save your marriage, Discernment Counseling is for you.
Discernment counseling – Principles, goals, and training
During your counseling sessions, the therapist would ask you to address a set of questions to ascertain :
- the cause behind you wanting to end the relationship?
- what have you done to fix the issue?
- how does your kid’s factor into your decision of ending the relationship?
- what do you consider as the best moments of your relationship?
Apart from your couple sessions, a Discernment counselor would also meet with the partners individually.
The therapists would help you identify the issues affecting your relationship and what potential steps can be taken to improve your relationship.
As explained earlier, Discernment counseling is for couples who are at odds with each other on whether they should stay together or get separated also termed as mixed agenda couples.
Opting for Discernment counseling doesn’t necessarily mean that the issues between the couples would be resolved, but it does ensure that the process of staying together or breaking apart would become easier and conflict-free.
Training for Discernment counseling is usually done through online platforms. After getting the required information, counselors can gain certification by practicing the method for atleast 16 hours.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
More by Deborah Kilgore Lindeen