Most seek marriage counseling because they want to strengthen their relationship. There are also times when couples experience conflict and face challenges, such as infidelity, disagreements over how to raise their children, or constant arguing, that may lead them to seek marriage counseling.
Each of these examples is the result of poor communication or poor choices. Lack of respect for your partner and refusal to take responsibility for your actions are also common. Coming to marriage counseling expecting the marriage counselor to help repair damage caused by infidelity is unrealistic. This is not going to occur any more so than marriage counselors finding a miraculous way to pay off incurred debt.
The only way to get past the hurt of infidelity or the stress of indebtedness is through communication. A licensed therapist can teach couples strong communication skills and give them advice on how to better connect. The hardest part about this is that the hurt feelings, stress, anger, and blame should all be placed on the back burner while working with the counselor to learn, practice, and make excellent communication a habit. Otherwise, counseling will be just like any other argument held at home. The only difference is the audience who, unlike children or friends, can call an end to the disagreement when time is up.
Does Marriage Counseling Work?
The decision to seek marriage counseling is a positive one. Most individuals will find themselves feeling nervous and excited about the prospect of finally doing something to strengthen the marriage before speaking with marriage counselors. This excitement can also lead to danger, as some individuals mistake these positive feelings as a sign that things are better. Sometimes, the decision to see a counselor lifts such a burden from the couple’s shoulders, they may begin to feel as if they do not need counseling after all. To help make marriage counseling work as well as it can, you’ll want to be honest about the negatives in your relationship.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. If you and your spouse made the difficult decision to go to marriage counseling, there must be a problem significant enough to bring you there. Do not let that false feeling of happiness after the first session trick you into not going back and continuing to see marriage counselors. To put that into perspective, imagine that you quit taking your medication as soon as you felt better, even if you only took one pill. The feeling will not last, and the illness is likely to come right back, sometimes worse than before.