It’s a normal part of marital life that couples disagree on a few matters, and some form of conflict arise. There are times when problems are too big and have gone too long that the couple can no longer resolve it themselves.
In times like these, it is necessary to find a third party to help resolve issues between couples. Friends and family can help, but it is hard for them to be impartial or dedicate consistent time to deal with it.
Professionals such as marriage therapists, counselors, psychologists have more extensive experience and can guarantee confidentiality.
But do you really need them? Here are things about marriage counseling you need to know before you get into it.
It will not guarantee reconciliation
Some people believe that by merely attending couples therapy, everything will be fine. A marriage therapist can only provide you with a safe place to discuss your problems and guide you through them, the solution will still need to come from the couples themselves.
A marriage counselor is precisely that, a consultant. It is not someone you hire to take over and fix your problem like a plumber.
Couples Counseling is not expensive
A lot of people feel that paying $75 to $150 an hour for some overeducated know-it-all to mediate between a couple is too much. They are aware of what happens in marriage counseling sessions, and they feel that discussing their problems to a stranger while they rob them of their hard-earned money is atrocious.
If you think that is expensive, divorce lawyers cost twice as much, and you have to get one each. If you feel you don’t need lawyers during the divorce process, then Good luck to you.
You need to be open to suggestions
If you are interested in learning how to get the most out of therapy, then come in with an open mind. If you feel that a particular point needs to be disputed, tell your marriage therapists about them the moment the suggestion is brought up.
You are wasting your money if you go to marriage therapy, go home, and then ignore everything discussed during marital counseling.
Marriage therapists know each case is unique and are willing to discuss each and every contention with both partners patiently. (After all, they are being paid by the hour) So don’t be afraid to dispute each case you feel is unfair.
More often than not, they are willing to make concessions, something your partner is not willing to do, which is why you ended up in counseling in the first place.
Even Psychologists are not minded readers
A lot of people don’t know what to expect from marriage counseling. So they don’t come prepared. Here are some useful marriage counseling tips to save some cash, prepare your stories and questions beforehand.
The last thing you want during an hourly session is a long awkward silence.
Spending sessions having your marriage therapist figure out who is lying and what version of the truth makes more sense is a waste of time (and hourly payments).
If you need to, write down everything about what you think and feel about the situation. It doesn’t matter how stupid or corny it sounds, as long as it’s the truth. Your marriage therapist will not judge you; they are only interested in fixing your marriage, not your IQ/EQ level.
They are aware that no government requires someone to have intellectual and emotional maturity before they get married.
If they did, marriage counselors wouldn’t have jobs.
There is no magic pill
A lot of couples are disappointed when the marriage therapist or counselor suggests that the “marriage” undergo a long bout of weekly sessions to resolve their marital problems.
If you’re interested in getting the most out of therapy, then don’t argue with your counselor about this one.
Some people have unrealistic expectations that one hour of discussing their issues with a professional will magically make all their problems go away. It doesn’t work like that. If you really want to know what to expect in couples therapy, it’s a lot of trial and error.
Marriage therapists need to figure out your problem and find a solution that works best with your issues and personalities.
Don’t be afraid to ask
A lot of couples come to marriage counseling looking for validation on their point of view and an ally in their marriage. They want someone to tell their spouse that their partner is wrong and they are right.
A professional will rarely take sides. But in cases where do, that is when someone is going too far, like resorting to abuse and violence to solve marital problems.
Past that, don’t be afraid to ask them if YOU, not your partner, is doing the right thing in your marriage. Then the marriage therapist will do the same with your partner to be fair.
They know, as you should, that it’s easier to change your own behavior than force someone to change to accommodate you.
Since you married that person, it shouldn’t be too hard to give concessions. It’s not like they are asking you to change for a stranger or for them, but for your wife/husband.
What we think
People come to marriage counseling expecting that throwing money to a problem will make it go away. There are cases where that will solve it, but marriage is not one of them.
Marriage therapists only help you find a solution. They cannot resolve your marital problems for you. They never can and never will.
It’s not like they can replace you in the marriage and do what you should be doing for your partner the same way the pool boy can clean your swimming pool without you lifting a finger (and hopefully, not doing your marital obligations for you). They can only give advice, you have to follow them.
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.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.