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Does Marriage Counseling Work?

Does Marriage Counseling Work?

Does marriage counseling work? That is a very good question. I would like to say yes. It works only if both partners are willing to do the work. I like to tell my couples that it is never really about couples therapy but instead it is about the relationship each has with themselves. Couples therapy is a word used often in place of individual therapy.

People contact us when they feel the marriage is at it’s last stage and they are facing the question if to get divorced or not. They want to know if their marriage can be saved. They want to know if the marriage is worth saving and if there is any hope for it. These are tougher questions because I am working with two individuals who may or may not be on the same page. There are no guarantees but it is a good idea that you both are seeking help.

Does Marriage Counseling Work?

Are You Motivated?

For many couples I see coming in for help it really is disguised as divorce counseling. One or both of the individuals has already thrown in the towel. You may be coming in thinking your partner wants to commit to therapy but really they may be using therapy as the spring board to tell you that they are done trying. The issues may be to far gone for therapy to work if one person has dug their heels in. Many I find just do not simply get honest and tell the therapist and other partner how they are truly feeling. They withhold information. There must be a level of commitment and motivation on both ends to save the marriage if this is going to work.

A couple seeking marriage counseling must first have a solid idea of what they are working on. Few and I mean very few couples really ever are clear when it comes to marriage and why they made the decision. They find communication and effective listening so difficult that the have stopped trying. Couples need to be able to set realistic and tangible expectations. It is difficult to play the blame game which I see all to often in therapy. Both want to be right. Few understand that each person in the relationship is “right’ when it comes to how they see the problems. They are real for that person but the other is unwilling to see this and claims there is only one right way.

Does Marriage Counseling Work?
Does Marriage Counseling Work?

For many couples I see coming in for help it really is disguised as divorce counseling. One or both of the individuals has already thrown in the towel. You may be coming in thinking your partner wants to commit to therapy but really they may be using therapy as the spring board to tell you that they are done trying. The issues may be to far gone for therapy to work if one person has dug their heels in. Many I find just do not simply get honest and tell the therapist and other partner how they are truly feeling. They withhold information. There must be a level of commitment and motivation on both ends to save the marriage if this is going to work.

A couple seeking marriage counseling must first have a solid idea of what they are working on. Few and I mean very few couples really ever are clear when it comes to marriage and why they made the decision. They find communication and effective listening so difficult that the have stopped trying. Couples need to be able to set realistic and tangible expectations. It is difficult to play the blame game which I see all to often in therapy. Both want to be right. Few understand that each person in the relationship is “right’ when it comes to how they see the problems. They are real for that person but the other is unwilling to see this and claims there is only one right way.

Does Marriage Counseling Work?

How To Deal With Differences

7 helpful tips when dealing with the differences between a couple:
  • It’s important to try and create a relaxed and calm atmosphere. Spend time together with your partner regularly. This way you two are able to start practicing communication on a regular basis.
  • Don’t allow yourself to give in and not have personal goals. Do the things that bring your life as individuals passion. This includes your hobbies and interest. If not you will find yourself stifled and become bitter, angry and resentful toward your partner.
  • Support the passions each other has. First you must be able to accept the fact that you may have different interest and that is very healthy. Respect each other for your differences. Accept that you won’t always share the same interests. Respect the fact that your partner needs alone time and space. Don’t take this so personally.
  • Learn how to skillfully resolve conflict as it arises. Don’t stuff your resentments. This destroys the relationship. I see all the time couples trying to walk on eggshells avoiding conflict.
  • Have open dialogue. Be open to listening to your partner’s questions, frustrations and needs. If you are unclear then simply ask for clarification. Be mindful of knee jerk reactions that you may resent later on.
  • Do not play the “blame game.” Learn to take ownership and responsibility for the part you play in the problems that have been created. Accept that you each are human and stop demanding the other change to fit your needs. Find out what is going on inside of you that is making you upset. Your partner is a mirror reflection of the things you are struggling with. Maybe you see them depressed, angry, fearful, etc. You may want to fix the other but that is not your job.
  • Time takes time so be a realist. It may take more than just a couple session to see effective change.

Does Marriage Counseling Work?

Relax and Have Compassion

In conclusion it does work if you are unwilling to understand and show patience and compassion with each other. Seeking marriage and relationship counseling is a great first step to working on the marriage. I always tell my clients to remember the times when they really enjoyed each others company. Let’s work on getting back to the basics. Let’s remove the heavy words like divorce, and the idea that you both signed a document binding you together till death. That is way to heavy. Be gentle on yourself and in return you will be open and flexible to allow change to occur.

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