Marriage counseling, also called couples therapy, is an experience most people don’t want to endure. When people consider marriage counseling, it’s because their relationship is experiencing some detrimental problems that they can’t address themselves. Even the thought of needing an expert’s opinion can be terrifying to some.
Why is that? There is a misconception that marriage counseling is for the weak – for those people who are so weak in the relationship that they can’t handle things on their own. However, marriage counseling should be viewed, not as weakness, but a sign of strength.
Seeking out professional help is a sign that you’re tired of how things are going in your relationship and you want things to change for the better.
Of course, the lack of knowing what happens in marriage counseling is what scares people away from seeking help. They continue with the destructive behavior. If your relationship is experiencing problems beyond your capability to handle, don’t let the fear ruin your chances of making the marriage work.
If you know what to expect before you walk into a marriage counselor’s office, you’ll feel less anxious about going. After all, knowledge is power!
3 Key Reasons People Go To Marriage Counseling
Now, you may be wondering what some of the biggest reasons people choose a marriage counselor are. While there are a plethora of reasons for two people in a marriage or relationship to seek out the help of a professional counselor, the three biggest reasons are:
Communication Is Negative or Non-Existent
Communication is key to a successful relationship and, when you don’t have that, it’s difficult to move things in the right direction. If there is negative communication between a couple, it can lead to depression and insecurity by one or both. Tone is everything – and what you say isn’t always as important as in the manner you say it. Negative communication can lead to where no meaningful conversation is taking place.
There Was An Affair
It’s close to impossible to recover from an affair – close to, but it can happen. It means putting in the work and effort, making the commitment that you are willing to forgive them for their indiscretion and look to better days ahead. The only way this will happen though is if both people are involved in the recovery process. Honesty is the best policy here if the marriage is to survive.
When Fighting Becomes The Norm
If you and your significant other are constantly fighting and it’s become the normal way of life, that’s not healthy. Yes, some fighting is good, as it lets you get out your emotions. However, too much of it – on an everyday basis – is not good and is detrimental to everybody in the relationship and home (if you have kids, consider how they may be feeling).
When everything you have tried has failed, it’s time to seek the assistance of a professional. Again, knowledge is power.
3 Things To Expect During Your First Visit With A Marriage Counselor
You’ll Be Asked Some Basic Questions
In most cases, your marriage counselor is going to ask you both why you sought out their assistance. What happened in your marriage that you brought you to him or her? This is a pretty standard question, as it sets the groundwork for repairing your marriage. As simple as it sounds though, the answer can be fairly complex. Therefore, you and your other half need to prepare your answers.
Why? You may be together for years before you seek out help, and the answer isn’t just one thing. It could be a culmination of several things and, by focusing on the small things, you don’t get to the root of the problem. Be honest with yourself, each other and your counselor if you truly want to make the marriage work.
The marriage therapist is going to ask a slew of questions about your history – how you met, fell in love, what attracted you to them, etc.
When you have questions about the therapy process, go ahead and ask your counselor the questions. The more you know, the less anxiety you’ll feel. Again, knowledge is power!
Realize That Discomfort Is Going To Happen
The hardest thing to contend with in life is problems – whether you’re dealing with them on your own or in a professional setting. When you combine those problems with someone else, it’s even more difficult.
The first and, most important thing to understand, is that one or two counseling sessions are not going to improve your relationship with your spouse. It just won’t happen. It took years to break your relationship down, and it’s going to take time for it to be rebuilt and see positive progress.
While you’re talking, you may learn things about your spouse you had no inkling of, or something comes out of your mouth before you even thought about it. Couples therapy has a way of bringing out the good and bad in people, and it’s not going to be easy to hear.
In fact, you may find some sessions where you just sit in silence or where you fight – your counselor can be the mediator and assist you both in coping with the emotions.
The process by which this happens isn’t fun, and one reason people are anxious about seeking out marriage counseling; even when it’s obvious a couple needs help.
How Long The Process Will Go On
There are several ways in which the marriage counseling can go. If things are addressed early into the sessions, and things appear to be going good, you may need just a handful of sessions. While you could feel better after one session, the chance of that is fairly remote.
Successful marriage counseling is realizing that it takes time to work things out. If a marriage counselor is really good at their job, they’ll give you the tools you need to address the problems on your own. Don’t rush the process because you feel you’re on borrowed time. If you truly want to make a marriage work, the best thing you can do is slow down and realize what happened in the marriage to bring you to this point.
What To Keep In Mind
While most people are under the assumption that a marriage counselor’s job is to keep two people together, that’s not actually the case. A counselor’s job is to highlight the problems within the marriage, bring it to the forefront and give you the tools to address them. They also highlight issues within yourself, which can make you realize that perhaps the marriage isn’t healthy in the grand scheme of things.
The reality is that nobody knows – not even a counselor – what will happen when you decide enough is enough. Marriage counseling is only there when you’ve decided you can’t go on in a relationship like you are and don’t know what the best course of action is.
Each counselor has their own approach to your particular predicament – there is no one-size-fits-all approach to counseling. And, it’s certainly not for everybody. However, if you’re tired of living like you are, and you still love your spouse, marriage counseling may be the right decision for your family.