Really good advice! There's more to it, but your comments are a good start. One problem we discovered the hard way is the inherent conflict of interest found with the vast majority of marriage counselors regarding the number of sessions they expect. Most will never, ever terminate counseling. They're quite willing to see you indefinitely as long as you show up and pay them every week. You want to repair your marriage quickly and at a reasonable cost; they encourage you (either with B.S. or more subtly) to see them indefinitely. As a consequence, most couples eventually quit in frustration, after spending thousands of dollars and seeing little or no progress.
After a few disappointments, we were fortunate to find a highly trained (PhD from Cornell) and very experienced (40 years) couples counselor in Florida named Dr. David Ransen. He's the clinical director of a small practice called Delray Holistic Therapy. We were floored when we learned - before even making an appointment - that he never needs more than 5 sessions (min. 2 hours each) to truly help couples to repair their marriages or relationships. We also appreciated that there was never any waiting, and that sessions sometimes lasted longer than 2 hours if we hadn't yet reached a comfortable stopping point. Others had almost literally thrown us out when an hour (really just 45 minutes; you never get a full hour) had elapsed, even if we were in the middle of something important or if one of us was upset.
Sure enough, we needed just 4 sessions (spaced out much longer than a week in between sessions) to see real progress in a very short time. The experience was very unusual for us, in that Dr. Ransen wasn't much interested in discussing or analyzing the past or problems. Instead, he gently coaxed us into thinking about what would have to change in order for things to improve. In other words, he worked hard to get us to create solutions rather than analyze problems. A real breath of fresh air. That was 10 months ago, and we are so much closer and happier than ever before. He really did save our marriage, and we are not shy about telling people we know about him.
No matter where you live, you might benefit as we did by finding a solution focused counselor, rather than the more common ones who want to spend months dragging you through the mud looking for hidden issues in our past that could have gotten us to a place where we decided to seek counseling. That approach, although very common, is very old-fashioned and only made things worse.
Marriage counseling works but there are conditions. First, you have to be willing to do the work and strive to make changes (if you don't make changes, nothing changes). Second, you need to get rid of your ego and start working as a "we" instead of an "I" (get rid of the blame and focus on solutions rather than problems), and most importantly, you need to find a counselor with real training in relationships. Just because they are licensed and do marriage counseling doesn't mean they have specialty training in relationships. In other words, don't use a general practitioner (MD) when you really need a cardiologist. Keep in mind also that it takes time to make changes that last. It generally takes 4-6 sessions with a good counselor to start making real changes. It also greatly depends on how much you are willing to work on your relationship.
Maybe it wasn't the right counselor for you. Was it an experienced therapist specialized dealing with your kind of issues? Sometimes partners, especially when feeling vulnerable, don't feel comfortable sharing with a counselor from the opposite sex, as it was mentioned above. I shall suggest you try again, minding the advices given here. Hope it works this time :)
LANE64 gave you a very good answer. The effect of marriage counseling combines several people's efforts and skills. Also your counselor needs the whole file of the issue you are facing in your marriage, not just pieces of information. Maybe you or your partner does not feel comfortable sharing the situation in front of a stranger from the opposite sex.. Bare this topics in mind and try again :)
Marriage counseling is a product of many things: your input and effort, that of your partner’s, and the counselor’s ability to effectively work with you. Change any one of those factors, and trying again after a bad experience may be worth your while. Given that most people change over time, one can assume that after a few years or even a few months, new benefits may be gained from counseling. You should be prepared to open your mind to change, work on any assignments you are given, and be as open and honest as possible with your marriage counselor.
Did you go into the counseling with specific goals in mind? Were you going because there are issues in your marriage or did you go because you wanted to deepen your relationship? I work with couples in a program called Relationship Rescue-911 For Love and we go through 12 calls, articles, exercises, quizzes, evaluations, and homework assignments that hit about every aspect of a relationship, and the cool thing is, the principles in this program not only apply to a romantic relationship, but many of them apply to that of a parent/child, sibling, co-worker, boss, and even friend relationship, so you are learning valuable tools to help you succeed in every area of your life! If you are interested in the program, we are getting ready to start in just a few days, so let me know and i can send you the information so you can get signed up!