Preparing for marriage counseling
If you are worried that your relationship has reached the point of no return, rife with conflicts, marriage counseling can help you rebuild a happy marriage.
However, a conflict-ridden marriage means you and your spouse are not in the best shape to premeditate and come up with the right questions to ask in a marriage counseling session.
Since a gamut of emotions run high in a strained relationship, you might just forget what to ask, and end up with a brain freeze in a marriage counseling session.
The most important step toward making the most out of a marriage counseling session is to be prepared beforehand. And that’s why we have prepared an expert roundup on the most crucial marriage counseling questions to ask your spouse.
Expert roundup on important marriage counseling questions
Experts themselves reveal the right marriage counseling questions to ask your spouse and how these can help you air your concerns and find solutions to your marital problems.
KEVIN FLEMING, Ph.D.
It was once said by CS Lewis that the ideal marriage is one where you could turn to your partner and say, “I love you just as you are and so much so to have you not stay that way.”
And so, in my work, it is key to get at this ‘dialectic’ of change and no-change, where the tension of wisdom is held between two people for most people want both predictability of being loved as they are and growth/development of ideals.
So here are my meta-level bullets.
There are questions within the questions that get at the uncomfortable but needed levels of truth we all tend to ignore in the set-up phase of courtship
- “What is the shadow side of what you love about me?”
- “How do I make loving me harder for you?”
- “If there is any resentment about me under the radar in this marriage, where would it be?”
- “What double-binds do I put out there? That is, how do I ask/say one thing but really pull for something else?”
- “What have I missed about who you are?”
ANGELA AMBROSIA, Relationship Coach
Here are my offerings;
- What can I do or say to make you feel comfortable?
- When you feel uncomfortable, what’s the best way for me to respond?
What do you want for our relationship? What do you want for me? For you?
DAVID RISPOLI, Counselor
There are two reasons that couples seek out marriage counseling. The primary reason is that the marriage is in a crisis and one partner and sometimes both, want the relationship to improve.
Frequently, one person has already checked out of the relationship, and counseling is seen as a last ditch effort to save the marriage.
The second reason that some couples seek out marriage counseling is that they want to improve upon an already fairly solid marriage.
Regardless of the motivation for the counseling, in terms of “Marriage Counseling Questions to Ask your Spouse”, here are my top three:
- If this marriage counseling experience were to be successful, and at the end of our time in Marriage Counseling our marriage was phenomenal, what would our marriage look like?
- How far do you think our marriage is today from this phenomenal marriage picture that we painted in question number 1?
- What is one action we could take jointly today to bring us closer to the picture that we painted in question number 1?
Marriages are never saved in marriage counselors or marriage coaches’ offices, they are saved as couples take the principles they learn and actively apply them to the daily grind of their relationship.
That’s why I offer a very forward-looking, action-oriented, positive approach to marriage coaching. I have never seen anyone improve or save their marriage by looking through the rear view mirror.
NICOLE GIBSON, Marriage & Family Therapist
As a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a married woman myself, I have found that there are many questions that arise when considering marriage counseling and also while in marriage counseling.
One of my passions is working with couples and I often tell the couple that I’m working with that, the point of marriage counseling, in my eyes, is not just to keep them together but instead to figure out what they’re bringing to the relationship that needs to be addressed because whatever they’re doing in this relationship, they’ll likely do in the next one, if there is a next one.
So here are a few marriage counseling questions to ask your spouse:
How do you feel about the word “intimacy”?
What does “intimacy” mean to you, meaning what will signal to you to know that you are engaged in “intimacy”?
What are your thoughts about religion?
How do you feel about children (i.e. do you want children?)
If things stay exactly the same in our relationship, would you be happy with that?
Do you consider yourself more of an introvert or extrovert?
If we woke up tomorrow and all the “problems” we have in our marriage were fixed, what would that look like?
How do you know you love me?
How do you know I love you?
In your family that you were raised in, what did marriage look like?
What are your ideas about finances?
All of these questions are insightful to both the couple and to the marriage counselor because religion, finances, children, family upbringing, intimacy, personality type, and ideas of love are all huge issues to be addressed in a marriage.
SUSAN WINTER, Relationship Coach
What are you afraid to tell me?
What financial, sexual or behavioral information are you afraid to share with me because you fear my reaction?
Is there something you hide from me, assuming I’ll judge you or want to leave you?
Relationships require a safe place for ‘truth-telling.’
Emotional barriers are erected when we can’t be ourselves and fear our spouse knowing who and what we are.
Final take away
These helpful marriage counseling questions are a good start to make along with more questions that are specific to your relationship. Look at these!
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.