Couples Therapy

The Ultimate Guide to Marriage Counseling

By May 31, 2019 3 Comments

Marriage counseling is a great tool for many couples

The Ultimate Guide to Marriage Counseling | Lifeworks Counseling CenterRelationships can be extremely wonderful, bringing joy and happiness into your life. However, they require an incredible amount of effort and care from both individuals involved. For those that have committed to marriage, they may feel an added layer of pressure and stress to have a successful relationship. These relationships are far from perfect, and on occasion, some struggle. Even the best marriages can suffer from time to time.

Professional marriage counseling is often the best next step for those in a relationship showing signs of breaking down. Marriage counselors help guide you and your spouse in the direction that allows you both to get your relationship on the right track. The issues within your relationship will be unearthed and helpful solutions will be recommended.

Marriage counseling may not always fix your relationship, however, it may help you and your partner come to a realization and separate in a healthy and amenable way. It is important to take the time to assess your relationship to help you find the best counselor for your marriage. There are various forms of counseling that address different situations.

Seeking Marriage Counseling

It is entirely natural for all relationships to experience their fair share of highs and lows. It can almost be expected for marriages. Marriages have several factors that can weigh on those involved. It can be difficult to recognize whether you and your spouse are simply going through a rough patch, or if there is a more serious problem that requires professional help.

  • Following Major Life Changes: When you commit to a marriage, you understand that you have made the decision to spend the rest of your life with one other person. Over such a long period of time, there are bound to be numerous life events that can leave an impact on your lives. Having a child, losing a loved one, starting a new career, or embarking on a big move can all affect your marriage. Good counselors can help you regain normalcy in your relationship and begin to focus on each other again.
  • You Feel Like You’re Walking on Eggshells: While you are bound to go through your fair share of rough spots, you should never feel as though you are biding time between each spot. If you continue to move from bad patch to bad patch without seeing any progress, it may be time to seek professional help.
  • Your Partner Suggests It: While you may feel as though your marriage is going well, your spouse may not feel the same. Successful relationships require both parties to feel happy and fulfilled. It is important to remember that your spouse may not want a divorce since they recommended counseling. They may have recognized issues that could cause much more distress in the future.

Understanding Counseling

Marriage counseling is a great tool for many couples who wish to save their marriage. It is often a resource that many generations have looked over and failed to utilize. It is important for both members of a relationship to have a firm grasp on the knowledge about marriage and counseling as a whole.

  • In many Western cultures, over 90% of people get married before they reach 50 years of age.
  • According to the National Marriage Project, the rate of divorce has slowed down with roughly only 40% of marriages ending in divorce.
  • It has been found that women are much more likely to end a marriage than men.
  • Divorces can be incredibly expensive. While the amount split or spent is much smaller than what media shows, it can cost both parties a great deal of money.

Committing to marriage is a huge decision that will not only affect your life but many others. From your spouse and their family to your children if you decide to have them, getting married or divorced can cause major shifts. For those struggling in their marriage, counseling has often played a key role in helping sustain many relationships. However, many people remain skeptical.

  • Emotionally Focused Therapy, or EFT, has been proven to help nearly 75% of couples recover their marriage, and 90% reported significant improvements in their relationship.
  • Like with most conditions in life, getting ahead of an issue in a relationship can drastically increase the success of counseling. However, most couples typically wait for an average of six years in an unhappy relationship, before they seek professional help, according to the Gottman Institute.
  • Couples who implement strategies and techniques that counselors provide them have found long-term success in their marriage.

Misconception of Counseling 

Many people are very skeptical about going to counseling at first. They aren’t always trusting of allowing a stranger into their lives. There has been a handful of misinformation making the rounds about marriage counseling that have left many potential couples wary of taking the leap.

  • A counselor will fix our problems: While this does seem like a great concept, that is actually not your counselor’s intention. They want to help you and your spouse find the issue within your relationship and provide you both with the strategies and knowledge that allow you to mend the relationship on your own.
  • A stranger can’t really help with our issues: A lot of people’s fears when it comes to counseling stems from needing to trust in a stranger. However, having an individual who does not know either of you personally allows them to stay objective and unbiased. Having a person with an unbiased, outside perspective can provide you with an insight both of you were missing.
  • Marriage counseling takes far too long: In today’s world, most people want a quick fix to their problems. However, marriage counseling actually does not take as long as many couples assume. Most couples begin to see improvement in as little as eight sessions. As long as both of you are being active and truly want to improve your relationship, it should not take long to see results.
  • We don’t want people knowing we’re seeing a professional: This is a misconception that couldn’t be further from the truth. Therapists and counselors must always maintain confidentiality and should never speak about their clients outside of your sessions. The only way people will know you are receiving counseling is if you tell them.

Preparing for Counseling

On your first trip to your marriage counseling, it can be a stressful and nerve-wracking experience. Many couples don’t know what to expect. It is important to go in with an open mind and try to avoid feeling closed off. Going into a counseling session with the right state of mind can make a huge difference in the result.

  • Brace for Change: Regardless of the outcome of your meetings, you and your spouse should both prepare yourselves for change. To fix your troubled marriage, you must change whatever aspect in it that is causing you strife. If you are open to change, then the chances of you seeing improvement will be greater.
  • Think about the Big Picture: Going into each counseling session, you should keep in mind the big picture of your marriage. Be open to talk frankly about all aspects of your relationship. You should stop focusing on the small arguments or issues you have. This will hinder you from finding success.
  • Set Goals: Either during your sessions or alone with your spouse, you should be specific and define the goals you and your partner want to reach together. Express what you hope to gain from your sessions and what your hopes for the future of your marriage are.
  • Focus on Improving Yourself First: Sometimes one of the best ways to help your marriage is to improve yourself first. Focusing on yourself can help make you better and stronger, allowing you to be a better partner for your spouse.

Tips for Building a Healthy Marriage

While seeing a trusted marriage counselor can help you and your spouse find and begin to fix issues in your marriage, the lion’s share of the work must be done at home. There are a handful of easy and helpful tips that can help you along with your counseling get your marriage back on track.

  • Schedule Date Nights: During the process of dating and maybe even engagement, the act of taking evenings off to spend with your significant other go a long way. During marriage, however, the idea of a date night may seem like a long shot. It is important to set aside dedicated alone time with your spouse.
  • Work on Physical Intimacy: While it should not be the most important aspect of one’s marriage, the lack of physical intimacy can do great harm to your marriage. Make sure you let your spouse know that you don’t consider your physical relationship with them a chore by being more spontaneous or planning it out.
  • Bring Focus Back on the Little Things: In the early stages of a relationship, the little things you do for your partner or vice versa can mean the world. However, as time has gone by, those moments seem to be forgotten. Whether leaving a love note around the house, cooking dinner a couple of nights out of the week, or bringing them a small gift, remember to show them that even the little things matter.
  • Set up Family and Home Rules Together: An area of contention for many couples can arise from how they want to raise their family and the rules in which the home should operate under. It is crucial to set these up well before they become an issue and to compromise where you see fit.

Marriages are extremely complex and layered parts of all of our lives. It is important that we take the necessary steps to ensure our partner’s happiness as well as our own. Every relationship goes through rough spots, but occasionally, more serious issues can appear. These issues can often cause severe marital problems that threaten the health of the marriage. While many remain skeptical, marriage counseling is a resource that many couples in struggling relationships should consider. LifeWorks Counseling Center offers our clients all the necessary options and therapies to get their marriages on the road to recovery.


Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • I liked how you pointed out that you need to be frank and honest about all aspects of your relationship. My friend and his husband have been talking about going to marriage counseling for the last two weeks now. It seems like knowing something like this beforehand could help to set them up for success in the long run.

  • It helped me when you said marriage counselors help guide you and your spouse to get in the right direction that allows getting your relationship on the right track. A friend of mine shared with me that they are having problems with her husband due to some personal issues and she asked me what would be the best option to fix their relationship. I’ll be sure to share to tell her that they can consider having marriage counseling that can help them to give proper advice on how to handle a relationship better.

  • Thank you for sharing such a valuable post.

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