Despite it being called “marriage counseling,” any couple is welcome to experience this counseling, regardless of their relationship status or how they identitfy. Also know your marriage does not need to have problems to consider marriage counseling. Research of couples married 30+ years determined pre-emptive counseling improved married life. Many couples explore marriage counseling simply to strengthen their bonds and update their communication skills mindful how today, half of emails and text messages are misunderstood. We’re not always communicating with our partners as well as we think and researchers found that couples were more prone to report less satisfying and stable marriages when the men frequently texted their female partners.
Thus participating in marriage counseling isn’t necessarily a sign that the relationship is on demise. It can also indicate being open to learning how to improve your relationship, better your communications, and grow closer to your partner. Marriage counseling can be quite effective to gain insight into specific marital issues you feel could be helped with an objective, trained, unbiased perspective.
Marriage counseling can both help you strengthen and rebuild your relationship or determine if you’re both better off apart. Either way, marriage counseling will bring clarity to understanding your relationship which in turn enables you to make better informed, clear eyed, and well thought out decisions.
The problem that’s all too common is by the time most couples consider marriage counseling, they’ve given up on the relationship and turn to a therapist to clarify whether they should get divorced. Preemptively getting ahead of marital discord, problems, and issues is usually a prudent and wise choice. Some of the specific issues that commonly precede marriage counseling including:
Kysely A, Bishop B, Kane R, Cheng M, De Palma M, Rooney R. Expectations and experiences of couples receiving therapy through videoconferencing: A qualitative study. Front Psychol. 2020;10:2992. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02992
Expect marriage counseling to:
If you’re on speaking terms with your spouse, it can be helpful to share these questions with them ahead of time and suggest they consider creating a similar list. That way, they, like you, will reduce any chances of ‘brain freeze’ in the moment and will be positioned to make the most of marriage counseling.
In spite of difficulties and conflicts, we grow in our relationships by reconciling our issues. There’s no secret formula or magic pill for a great marriage. It simply requires hard work, clarity in purpose, and introspection. The longer that they persist, the more difficult it is to resolve resentful feelings and unhealthy behavior.