Marriage is no joke, even if you have been together for years and even if you have the bond of friendship — marriage will still bring you challenges.
It’s a union of two very different people and it’s not easy when you are already living in one roof. Marriage counseling is a term that we’re all familiar with, we’ve seen it before; may it be with friends, Hollywood celebrities or even from our own family members and most often than not, we’d ask ourselves what is the process of counseling and how does it help couples?
Understanding the need for help
Do you find yourself stressing too much lately? Do you or your partner fight more often? Do you find yourself getting irritated even with the slightest issues? If you’re someone who thinks that you’re just getting too fed up or that you need a breather, then you need to analyze what’s wrong.
It’s definitely normal to have arguments in marriage, it’s a part of life and it just proves that you are getting to know each other.
As they say, the first 10 years of marriage is all about getting to know each other’s personality and along the way, you get used to it. However, when the simple arguments lead to sleepless nights, sadness, feelings of dissatisfaction, stress, and shouting — you tend to ask yourself, “What needs to be done”?
You just don’t end your marriage like that, in fact, this is the part where you need to start considering asking for professional help.
Considering marriage counseling isn’t a sign of weakness, rather it’s a mutual decision that both of you want to do something about your marriage and this is a tough decision but an ideal one.
Together, let us understand what is the process of counseling and how it can help save a marriage.
The first meeting – getting comfortable
Once you’ve chosen your marriage counselor, the first thing to do is to book an appointment for your first meeting, here the counselor would often just take everything slowly, it’s the getting to know part so that both you and your partner can feel comfortable with your therapist.
Usually, a questionnaire is presented you and your partner to answer.
This will give your marriage counselor a record to start with. Be prepared for some questions to be asked to you personally during this first meeting but don’t worry, there are steps to be taken and your counselor will make sure that you’re emotionally comfortable before going any further.
Understanding the process
What is the process of counseling and how does it work?
Depending on how your therapist will analyze the situation, the counseling process can differ for every couple. Initially, for the first few sessions, your therapist will make an effort to evaluate your relationship and your personalities as an individual.
As a couple, a therapist will check on the following:
- What made you choose each other and what keeps you together now despite the growing differences?
- What are the causes of stress in your relationship, what do you do about it?
- Analyze the nature of your conflicts and misunderstandings
- Any changes in behavioral and communication practices? Are you being too busy?
- Recall what you love about each other, what are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Allowing you to realize what qualities are absent or dysfunctional in your marriage?
Your marriage counselor will also evaluate some of these:
- Help you recognize your own mistakes and shortcomings
- Allow you to vent, to reach out and to talk
- Allow you to pinpoint the reasons why you or your partner is becoming emotionally disconnected.
- What are you willing to commit to making things work out?
There are also some techniques that can be used depending on the level of disagreement the couple is experiencing. All in all, the therapist will set goals at the end of each session and will check on the progress on your next appointment.
These are “realistic goals” such as efforts on how you can bring back the spark between you and your partner, practicing patience, empathy and even the art of listening. If you’re already parents, there may be additional tasks to be learned and more importantly, both of you should do your best to make things work out.
Homework and assignments – being cooperative
What is therapy without homework?
Marriage counseling also means you have to work hard on making sure that your marriage will show progress. There will be many exercises that will be given to you by your counselor.
Some of the well-known marriage counseling exercises are:
- Allotted time to talk without gadgets
- Doing things you used to enjoy
- Weekend getaway
- Appreciation and empathy
Remember that for a marriage therapy to work, both you and your partner should be committed in working things out and being open to communication. If one won’t cooperate, the therapy will not be successful.
Marriage counseling can be really tough but it’s also a way to face and accept that there are issues to be resolved and that you and your partner want this marriage to work out.
How marriage counseling helps
Marriage counseling is one very important milestone in a marriage that is going through a rough time. It’s always good to learn from the start that marriage is a dance — a union between 2 very different individuals.
Rather than thinking that marriage counseling signals a problem in the marriage that will lead to divorce, we should think otherwise.
In fact, marriage counseling is a brave decision for couples who want to settle their differences.
Understanding what is the process of counseling and how it helps married couples will not just be helpful in accepting differences but is also vital in every marriage as it strengthens the bond and the respect for each other, more than being a couple but as two people in love.