Does marriage counseling help? That depends on what you mean by “help.” For many people, there’s nothing about marriage counseling that necessarily warrants the term “help.” However, there are a significant number of people who find that it does help them – and that it can help them. And for these people, it can mean that marriage counseling can dramatically improve the quality of their relationships.
First, what exactly is marriage counseling? Well, marriage counseling & family therapy is a form of psychotherapy which focuses on enhancing your communication and conflict resolution skills, as well as strengthening your relationship with one another. The whole truth is that, while a couple can have a great deal of conflict within their relationship, they often face difficulties when one another doesn’t feel entirely comfortable with discussing those issues, or when one another is uncomfortable with expressing certain thoughts or feelings. By working with a qualified marriage counselor, you can learn how to effectively communicate with one another – as well as learn how to express your thoughts and feelings in an honest and supportive manner. The result is that, when both partners do go ahead and try to work through the conflicts and come to some kind of common ground, it often results in a much stronger and more long-lasting relationship than would be possible if the couple attempted to handle these problems on their own.
It’s also important to point out that marriage counseling & family therapy doesn’t have to involve expensive professional visits. In fact, most couples will agree that the majority of the benefits come from simply having meaningful conversations with one another on a regular basis, rather than trying to go from one therapist to the next. It may take a family therapist some time to make new strategies and techniques work in your specific circumstances, but once that happens, it can give your marriage a real boost. The great thing about working with a marriage therapist is that you will have a support group of other couples just like yourself who have had similar struggles – so by sharing stories, you can find new insight and ideas. Not only that, but you will have the added benefit of knowing that many experts believe that a key ingredient to improving any marriage is maintaining open communication lines between all members of the couple.
But even before you can consider any type of relationship repair, you must first establish some ground rules for this process. At the very least, it will be crucial to talk with each other about any expectations that you may have for one another, such as what you expect the relationship to be like over the long term, or what you expect from your partner. These are often referred to as “common standards of living,” and they are meant to guide you toward a goal – whether that goal is simply that you want to be happy and remain in a satisfying relationship, or whether you hope to create a strong and loving family unit where your children are nurtured and loved. One of the biggest mistakes that most couples make in this stage is to become overly dependent on their partner. This sort of a dependency can only serve to alienate one another, and may eventually lead to a breakdown of the relationship.
During this time of healing, it will be important to discuss among yourselves what role you hope to play, and how best you can work to achieve those goals. At this point, both you and your partner should be honest about how the marriage is currently coming along, and how you plan to continue to work towards its best possible outcome. You may both have different ideas about what constitutes success, and you should work together to determine which behaviors and attitudes will help to move your relationship forward. Remember, your marriage is ultimately a work in progress – and a marriage therapist can only help you along by providing you with the proper feedback that you need to ensure your success. This type of specialized counseling will provide you with guidance and insights that will serve to strengthen and build your relationship in all areas.
Finally, once the relationship has reached this final stage, it will be time to consider where you want to go from here. You will likely want to talk with your partner to come up with a plan of action for accomplishing your goals. In addition to the common counseling session, you may want to consider marriage seminars or workshops to help further the goals of the relationship. The stages mentioned here are the general stages that all couples experience at some point during their relationship – and by keeping these goals firmly in mind, you will be able to maximize your potential for success.