Does marriage counseling work?
A big question this may seem, but in reality, it really is a dependent question.
There are so many variables to consider if we were to try to come up with a general answer to whether marriage counseling works or not.
Even we said ‘yes marriage counseling works’, there will still be people who say it didn’t and vice versa.
This is because marriage, separation, divorce, and marriage counseling are all unique to each couple and entirely dependant on many factors.
Personal and practical factors vary
There are the practical factors to consider such as how good the marriage counselor is at helping you with your problem.
Again, there are the personal factors such as how receptive you and your spouse are at working with a marriage counselor on your marriage and then how good you are at working together to save your marriage.
The thing is that before you even start asking the question does marriage counseling work? you might want to ask, ‘does my marriage need some marriage counseling?’ and then assess why you need it, what your desired outcome for your marriage might be and also whether your spouse is able and willing to get on board to try to make things work out.
Problems arise when both do not agree to the same thing
Problems arise in situations when one of you wants to save the marriage.
The other one doesn’t (and in some circumstances, they may not admit that to you and may not have even admitted that to themselves). In this situation, marriage counseling will work if you and your spouse attend marriage counseling with the intention of discovering what is causing you to drift apart.
Here’s the warning!
In some situations such as this one, the counseling could lead to divorce.
The advice will have encouraged you as a couple to find the root of your problems. In the scenario discussed, one spouse has already checked out with no intention of returning.
But, does that mean that marriage counseling doesn’t work?
No, not at all, the intention in this situation was to get to the root of the problems which in this scenario was that one spouse was out.
Counselors seek out the root of the problem
Let’s be honest here. It will always be the intention of any counselor in any situation to find the root of the problem because that’s how you fix things.
Through the marriage counseling, the counselor will have helped both spouses to examine the reasons why they are out thoroughly.
This is done so that mistakes and false assumptions are not made by the spouse who has checked out.
The marriage counselor will also check to see if there is any way to save the marriage too.
If there isn’t, then the marriage counselor will do the next best thing – help both spouses prepare for divorce so that it might be less emotionally traumatic on both parties.
Which in this situation is the perfect outcome, right?
People rarely consider complications in marriage
The Problem is people don’t often consider these complications in marriage.
They might desperately want to save their marriage that they are blindsided by only focusing their desired outcome. And that’s all ok.
But if there is no love there or willingness to try on either spouse’s part, then there is not much a counselor can do other than help you both to move on with few emotional scars as possible.
Nobody can force love.
So, before you consider asking the question, ‘does marriage counseling work?’, make sure you realize that it does.
But, it will work to set you free from your problem, which is that you and your spouse feel as though your marriage is not working.
Marriage counseling will help you become free from these problems.
Counseling leads you both back to each other
Ideally, counseling works by helping you find your way back to each other, if necessary, sets you both free.
Many marriages start to fall apart due to other complications such as illness, drifting apart, depression, or forgetting to be in a relationship together.
If both spouses are on the same page and are still very much committed to the marriage, and making it work, then you’ve got every chance that marriage counseling will work for you in the way you might hope it will.
Too often our expectations on most things are distorted.
We want people or services to swoop in and save us, often not realizing that they might help us by setting us free even if that’s not what we consciously want.
But the good thing is that a marriage counselor will have presented you with the best opportunities to explore all of these factors.
So, if it’s time to move on, you’ll both know that you did your absolute best.
This means that you can part ways without wondering if you have made a mistake, leaving you both free to find another person who is committed and invested in you.
But if you are meant to be together, then the marriage counselor will help you navigate your way back to each other. This is a win-win situation on both counts.
Of course, you’ll need to make sure that you find a good marriage counselor. The best way to do this is to find somebody who already has a track record of counseling married couples.
Most married couples have similar reactions and responses to different situations.
An experienced marriage counselor will have seen and heard it all and will have developed their knowledge and skills through working with many couples.
This means that they will have a lot of insight and resources available to them to adapt to your situation.
But remember, if you don’t like your marriage counselor, and you’ve checked in with yourself to make sure it’s not because you are being defensive or in fear of getting ‘caught out’ then you should change to one you feel more comfortable with.
Otherwise, none of you will really open up.
But don’t change just because you don’t like what you heard.
Counselors can hurt your heart or ego
Counselors of any type often have to bring messages to your awareness that will hurt our hearts or our ego’s.
We have to have the courage to go through counseling.
But the only way we move forward in life is by looking at the little ways we might be hiding from our deepest fears and then facing them.
There is no better person to do that with than a counselor who has gone through this process with others a thousand times before.
So, in answer to the question, does marriage counseling work, I say 100% it does, for better or for worse at the moment but always for the good in the long run. You just have to find the right marriage counselor for you.
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.