Some reading this might be asking “Can my marriage be saved by trying marriage counseling?” Others might just be dissatisfied with aspects of their marriage and wonder if counseling might make the union better, while others might have a total communication gap between their spouse and hope that a marriage counselor could intercede and help them out. I hope you might pull something useful from this article, and that it helps you decide if seeing a marriage counselor is right for you or not.
Motivation of Both Partners
How willing your spouse and you both are to see a counselor may play a significant role in the outcome. If you are both willing, it will make it much easier. If one does not want to go, the other could still go alone initially. By forcing or giving an ultimatum to your spouse, you might only make matters worse. Some people go to a counselor as a final step before the divorce. One or maybe both have already given up, and this is a way to part ways. If you both are willing, even if it feels hopeless, it may not hurt to try.
Picking a Counselor
Ideally, you are going to want a counselor that you are both comfortable with. Shopping around is ok. And it’s ok to drop a counselor and try a new one. There are no rules here, and you want a positive outcome, so try to find a counselor that will make a positive difference in your lives. Many times one spouse will drop out if they don’t like that therapist. Though sometimes, one will drop out because they don’t like the truth they are hearing. Knowing the difference is going to be the key.
Don’t wait until you both have thrown in the towel to see a marriage counselor. Ideally, you should see one when the waters get rough, not when the storms have all passed, and you have so much resentment that it’s hard to get over.
One thing a good therapist will do is help you and your spouse communicate better. Often marriages fall apart because couples just aren’t communicating well. A therapist will be able to give you skills to communicate your thoughts, hopes, and needs better.
Be Ready for A Therapist to Call out Toxic Patterns
The truth can hurt. If there has been an affair or an affair is still going on or suspected, be prepared for the therapist to lay it on the line. A good therapist shouldn’t sugar coat toxic behaviors. If toxic patterns can be identified and not hidden, forgiveness and real change can happen. Don’t get your hopes up though if the session doesn’t go as you hoped it would. Be honest and open and don’t hide anything. Also, don’t be afraid to express your concerns to your counselor such as suspected affairs or whatever toxic behavior is going on.
Ask Yourself These Questions
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, a marriage counselor could be in order:
Do you fight a lot?
I’m not talking about differences where you kiss and make up when it’s over. But fights that resurface again and again probably could benefit from a marriage counselor.
Does one or both of you name call?
Calling each other hurtful names will not serve any good purpose. A marriage counselor could help you find better ways to vent your frustrations constructively.
Do you feel like you don’t know or understand your spouse?
A marriage counselor may be able to help you understand each other’s wants and needs. A therapist should be able to help you communicate better so that your spouse understands you. And vice versa.
Do you pretend all is well though you feel trapped or hopeless inside?
If you are feeling this way, a marriage counselor should be able to help.
Do you disagree on how you spend your money?
Finances are one of the biggest causes of divorce and feuds in a marriage. A good marriage counselor should be well trained in this area and be able to help you both. Let’s face it, if one spouse wants to buy everything on a whim while the other tries to be level headed, this needs fixed and now. Matters will just keep getting worse without help.
Has there been infidelity?
If you or your partner had an affair, the marriage is already broken. Both should benefit from help. Counseling can’t guarantee true change or forgiveness from the wronged spouse, but it can help. If you are the victim of a spouse cheating on you, please get help, because that can be one of the worst pains to go through alone. It can feel like a blow worse than death to hear your spouse cheated on you for another. Let a marriage counselor help you through it even if divorce is the outcome.
So there are some things to think about with marriage counseling. It can get expensive so choose your therapist wisely. Ask questions before you make the appointment. If you’d like a counselor with your same religious beliefs, ask right up front. Ask about the rate per hour or session. Also, ask about their experience with marriage counseling. A good counselor should want to take the time to talk to you before you commit to the first session.