So you’ve decided to get some help for your marriage and your family. Well done! This is a good decision.
After struggling and stumbling along for only you know how long, you are ready to admit that you need some help, and this is a big step in the right direction. So with great hope and expectations, you arrive in a counselor’s room
At this point, it is important to be clear about what you can realistically expect from your marriage and family counselor; otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for some serious disappointments.
Before we shine a light on what to expect from marriage counseling or what happens in marriage counseling, let’s learn a little about what marriage counseling is.
What is marriage counseling?
Marriage counseling is the process through which couples can learn to enhance their marriage through conflict resolution and improved communication.
Marriage or family counseling is generally supervised by a licensed therapist and is usually conducted for a small period of time until the relationship crisis is averted.
Over time, every marriage is faced with conflicts and issues that test the strength of that relationship, and no matter how much you love each other, you are unable to find your way through these conflicts.
At such a junction in your relationship, just hoping for the troubles to go away might not be enough. These issues and conflicts foster over time and cause your relationship to deteriorate further.
This is where you need an unbiased eye to gauge your relationship and help you to amicably sort through your differences, and that is exactly when to seek marriage counseling.
Through various forms of marriage counseling exercises and marriage counseling techniques, a therapist can guide you on a path to a more fulfilling relationship.
However, many people either have a vague idea of how effective marriage counseling is and how marriage counseling works, and this can be very counterproductive.
There are a lot of things that marriage and family counselors can do to help you, but there are also some things that they cannot do.
It is important to know what to expect from your counselor, otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for disappointments. There are a lot of things that marriage and family counselors can and can’t do to help you.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the things a marriage and family therapist can and cannot do:
- A couples counselor can make suggestions for what might be the issue that is causing problems in your marriage and guide you to professionals who can help you deal with these issues.
- A marriage and family counselor can provide you a safe environment free of judgment to openly talk about your concerns and issues. They can offer a platform where couples would be heard without either of them dominating each other.
- A marriage and family counselor can effectively help you to cope with your emotions and feelings that might surface during the sessions.
- A marriage and family counselor teach you how to communicate effectively and how to be open to listening to your spouse’s needs and feelings.
- A marriage and family counselor teaches you how to be considerate and thoughtful towards your spouse through marriage counseling tips.
- Teach you how to cope with infidelity, abuse, finances, cultural clashes, sexual incompatibility or sexual issues, anger, and certain physical and mental conditions in the marriage.
- A marriage and family counselor can also help you to strengthen the bond you share with your spouse and understand each other better.
- The marriage counselor cannot read your mind and find out things unless you are willing to bring them out into the open and deal with them.
- They cannot fix your marriage for you; they can help you to see what you may need to do to fix your marriage.
- They cannot do the hard work for you; you need to be willing to put in the effort of soul searching and being brutally honest with yourself and your loved ones about your mistakes.
- They cannot “sort out” your difficult spouse and make them be a better husband or wife; each one must be willing to address their own issues in their own life before pointing fingers at others.
- They cannot force your spouse to participate against their will
Marriage and family relationships can sometimes feel like running a long-distance marathon.
You cannot complete the race without your team of “seconds” or assistants who come alongside you at strategic points, giving you water and vitamin drinks, sponging you down and urging you on, encouraging you to keep going.
This is the role of the marriage and family counselor; helping and encouraging you, giving you useful tips and supplying the vital nourishment you need at that point in time, be it emotional, physical, psychological, or spiritual.
But it is still your race to run, and it is up to you to complete the marathon of cultivating healthy relationships in your marriage and family.