MARRIAGE COUNSELORS AREN'T SUPERHEROES…
They have a very specific set of talents or specialities, and unlike superheroes, they cannot make anyone do anything
Even if it's good for them
So when you walk into their office in order for them to fix your marriage… they may not be able to help you
When you should see a marriage counselor
Marriage counseling aims to help to identify the problems, resolve the conflicts and heal their partnership
When you participate, the counselor or therapist is doing their best to empower you to make thoughtful decisions about mending and strengthening your relationship
At the same time helping you achieve a deeper understanding of each other and encouraging a more fulfilling marriage
Some of the signs that your marriage needs relationship counseling include:
- You hardly speak to each other
- Poor communication is a significant setback in marriage. If you cannot freely share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences with your spouse, this is a prominent sign for the need of couples counseling
- You feel intimidated by your spouse
- If you are scared of speaking with your spouse or you are hesitant to bring up some issues, it means that your marriage is troubled. Counseling will help you to develop the confidence to speak freely with your spouse
- You keep secrets from each other
- Even though each partner has the right to privacy, there needs to be transparency in your marriage for it to thrive
- You restrict love and affection to punish each other
- If one of you gets angry and stops loving, caring and talking to the other partner to punish them, this shows that your relationship is already strained.
- One or both of you are financially unfaithful
- If you and your spouse are withholding vital information about your finances: loans, expenses, savings, you will eventually destroy your marriage. Financial dishonesty shows that something is missing in the relationship which counseling can help
- Your marriage lacks intimacy
- When you are no longer intimate with your partner, it signals that something is wrong. This may point that you need a qualified person to help sort out what is missing in your relationship.
- An affair has infiltrated your marriage
- Recovering from an affair is not impossible, but it calls for a lot of work. With commitment and willingness, a counselor can help you salvage your marriage.
- When you do not know how to solve your differences
- If your discussions are always laced with a negative tone, and they always end up in fights, this is the perfect time to get a third party involved.
If you are stuck in marital discord, be honest and acknowledge that you need help.
When seeing a Marriage Counselor may not help
Marriage counseling isn't for everyone or every situation. Here are some reasons to try something else instead
- When your husband doesn't want to talk about your marriage
- If your husband won't engage in repairing your marriage then you may find it better to start the process yourself. There are books and programs available that can help save your marriage, even if only one of you is trying. Written by experts in the field, they are a great place to start.
- If money is tight
- Counseling can be expensive and it can add to the stress in your marriage
- The counselor doesn't seem to help
- Not all counselors are equal. Some aren't the right fit for your marriage. The good news here is that there are usually a few around and you can try someone else instead
- If you don't believe counseling works
- Counseling does help marriages. But if you don't think it will work from the start, then it will only be something to blame, it could actually make things worse. You will need to deal with this first, or use books instead.
Why you should seek counseling
All couples desire to have a healthy, fulfilling family life, but at times this goal can be challenging to achieve. Once in a while, you and your spouse may need to seek marriage counseling so that you can begin living the life you have always dreamed of.
If you feel that your relationship is not going in the intended direction, it is important that you take a step back and talk to someone that can help you work through the challenges.
Counseling has been proven to have immense benefits:
- The couple gets impartial advice.
- Having dealt with a wide range of marital issues, the counselor can offer practical tips on how to work on the various problem areas of a marriage
- Counseling provides a safe environment for honesty.
- When there is marital discord, the homes become the battleground for marriage. At that point, honesty can inflict pain and anger if it is not delivered in the appropriate setting. Counseling offers a safe environment free from judgment.
- Counseling provides an opportunity to unburden resentment and frustration
- These are some of the toxic emotions that poison every aspect of your relationship. A good therapist helps couples to pour out their anger so that they can solve their issues effectively.
- Counseling helps couples to explore their problems from a new perspective and learn practical ways to resolve conflicts.
- Therapy assists couples with the tools to build trust and improve communication in their relationship.
Seeking professional intervention for your marriage is prudent. Confronting the issues in your marriage now will save it from destruction in the future.
Research indicates that a couple who splits up will be financially worse off, and their children are more likely to have academic and behavioral problems in the future.
When to go for therapy
When it comes to seeking marriage therapy, timing is everything. Many couples wait until the problems in the marriages have become too severe before they can seek for help.
Your precious vase can quickly be fixed with a little bonding material when the crack is two inches. The bonding material can be discretely applied on the inside, and it may not even be visible from the outside. But, what happens when you wait until your vase has 12 cracks running in all directions?
Many times, therapy fails because couples go to therapy when things are so bad; they have one foot and several toes out of the door. Indeed, some couples only go to therapy to confirm that they have done all they can to fix their marriage. They only want to justify the decision to leave their marriage.
According to Dr. John Gottman, couples wait for an average of six years of being miserable in their marriage before they seek help. He concludes that therapy could help to save more marriages if couples sought therapy before their relationships were in critical condition.
Sometimes the issues in a marriage could be too ingrained for the therapy to be effective. Timing is an essential element that will determine whether counseling will work or not.
To optimize the outcome of therapy
To get the most out of marriage counseling you and your spouse need to have the right attitude and goals. You should set specific goals to help you individually contribute to the success of the therapy.
Be open about your emotions
The most common source of marital discord is when spouses do not disclose how their partner’s actions make them feel. Couples need to understand that a huge part of the process is to talk openly about their emotions, which will be both difficult and uncomfortable
Find the right counselor
Research shows that in the hands of a good counselor, marriage therapy is effective 70 – 80% of the time. Ensure your counselor has the right credentials. All therapists must be licensed to practice therapy. This will vary from country to country.
However, experts recommend working with someone who specializes in marriage counseling- at least 30% of their practice should be on marriage therapy. They have seen and heard it all, and they will roll up their sleeves and help you.
The cost of marriage counseling
The cost of marital counseling will depend on the professional you decide to work with. Refer to the table below to find out how much your preferred professional is likely to cost you:
|Mental Health Professional||Background||Cost Per Session|
|Licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT)||Holds at least a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy||$65 – $250|
|Licensed professional counselor / nationally certified counselor (LPC / NIC)||Holds at least a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology or Social Work||$5 – $300|
|Psychologist (PsyP)||Holds a doctorate degree in psychology||$75 – $156 per session, sometimes $200|
It seems as if people are generally living in unsatisfying marriages. This doesn’t have to happen to yours.
Your marriage doesn’t have to be unfulfilling, mediocre or common. However, it takes a great deal of commitment and determination from both you and your spouse to maintain a rewarding relationship.
If you feel that you are struggling to maintain the connection you once had with your spouse, do not hesitate to seek marriage therapy.
A good therapist will assist you to compromise, appreciate one another and rediscover the compassion and empathy that the two of you share.
And if you don't think marriage therapy is a good fit, then try reading what experts have to say, so you can apply that to your marriage