Wondering about marriage counseling? Does it work? Is it worth it? While the answer may not quite be black and white, we can tell you how it works and why it has helped many couples.
What is marriage counseling?
Marriage counseling, which is also often called couples therapy, is based on a type of psychotherapy. Licensed marriage or family therapists help couples recognize conflicts and issues in marriage so that they can improve their relationships. Though both spouses usually work with the therapist, some choose to go it alone. The therapist’s recommendations for resolving the issues in a marriage depend on the specific situation because no two couples or relationships are alike, even though there are common issues that a lot of couples face.
Why consider marriage counseling?
It may seem silly or even embarrassing to ask for outside help in dealing with issues in your marriage. Not everyone is comfortable discussing their private affairs with a stranger and some even worry that marriage counseling means that they’ve failed in their marriage. This is not at all the case.
A trained professional can offer objective insight into your relationship issues and see things that a couple may be having trouble seeing through their anger or frustration. A lot of times a couple will keep having the same arguments over and over without knowing how to get to the root of what’s causing the argument in the first place.
The following are reasons to consider marriage counseling:
- You keep having the same argument over again
- Your spouse has cheated on you
- You’ve had an affair or are considering having one
- A lack of communication
- A lack of intimacy
- Addiction is causing stress in your marriage
- Conflict over having/raising children
Marriage counseling – does it work?
For the most part, yes, marriage counseling does work. If both of you want the marriage and love each other, then marriage counseling can work depending on the situation. A willingness to work at your marriage and open up to a professional is a big part of successful counseling.
The great thing about marriage counseling is that it can help you whether you’re dealing with a major hurdle or something as small as bickering about chores. It also doesn’t have to be a last resort or something you turn to only when one of you is ready to call it quits; it can help a newly married couple that’s just looking for tools for a good marriage or a couple that’s been together a while and wants to stay that way.
Marriage counseling works because it offers couples:
- An opportunity to discuss your issues free of judgement
- Tools for resolving conflict
- Insight into both sides of the problem; yours and his
- Skills for better communication, such as learning to express feelings more effectively
- Tools to strengthen your bond
- Help rebuilding trust
The advice and treatment used by marriage therapists and counselors is evidence-based, meaning that it has been tested and proven to be beneficial. So does this mean that you’ll have a perfect marriage after counseling? No, since there is no such thing as a perfect marriage no matter how compatible two people may be. Marriage counseling doesn’t guarantee that you will learn to trust your spouse again after infidelity or that you’ll be able to compromise on a major issue in the relationship. What it will do is give you the best opportunity possible for the best resolution, which for some couples, unfortunately, may be parting ways. The silver lining for these couples is knowing that they did all they could so they can move on to a happier and healthier place. And for others it can mean a stronger and more loving relationship, knowing how to argue in a healthier and more productive way, and the tools to avoid having the same issues over and over.
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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.