Marriage counseling is simple in premise and powerful in effect: it offers therapy that helps couples speak openly and honestly about everyday life, existing conflict and general relationship dynamics.
You might be wondering, but does marriage counseling work? Well, the effectiveness of marriage counseling relies on the dedication of the couple in question, but based on the way in which sessions are conducted, many positive outcomes result from marriage counseling.
Often, marriage counseling therapists follow a fairly similar pattern when it comes to the first few sessions. Couples will sit down together with a licensed counselor, where the clients are provided with an open, non-judgmental atmosphere to help resolve issues. Couples often discover that deeply personal and relational growth can result after even a few marriage counseling sessions.
1. Set priorities and goals, together as a couple
Marriage counseling enables you and your spouse to identify both priorities and goals you’d like to see become a reality. These goals could be short-term actions, perhaps a list of items you’d like to accomplish along with your spouse in the next week or month. Your goals could also be long-term goals, aspirations you’re looking to achieve even if they appear to only be on the horizon. What’s important is that you arrive at both new goals and new priorities together, to promote open communication, unity and cohesion.
And of course, whenever you learn about your spouse or significant other through marriage counseling, you will also learn about yourself.
2. Fortify your feelings toward your spouse
Marriage counseling helps you fortify any feelings you have toward your spouse. How? Through open, honest conversation, you can begin to draw parallels between how your spouse feels about you, and all of the ways they show you they care on a daily basis. You’ll begin to notice the subtle ways your spouse tries to make your day and your life better; there are likely things your spouse does for you that you aren’t even aware of!
So often, couples find themselves in marriage counseling simply because they’ve found that they have drifted apart over time. And they’re looking to marriage counseling as a way to rekindle the love they experienced early on in their relationship when the marriage itself felt effortless and new. And while marriage counseling certainly can’t turn back time, it does offer you definitive steps to reintroduce romance, spend quality time together and enhance feelings toward your spouse.
3. Heal unresolved issues
Marriage counseling is a proven method for effective problem solving within a relationship, especially when it comes to a conflict that might be lingering or unresolved. Within the context of marriage, the goal is always to resolve conflict and tension before it builds. When issues go unresolved, they can lead to escalating tension, misunderstandings and bitterness, undermining the relationship along the way.
Here’s the good news: marriage counselors can help you and your spouse together work through any issues that have come between you. Through concrete conflict-resolution techniques that help you reshape the way you view conflict, marriage counseling can help to unite you and your spouse against conflict, instead of against one another. And you’ll also learn how to deal with your own emotions, as well as the emotions of your spouse, in an appropriate manner to prevent emotion from evolving into conflict.
4. Learn to hold productive conversations
Many couples pursue marriage counseling because they know it can help them improve communication. Many spouses actually reach a point where they feel as though they are not being heard by their significant other, further leading to a breakdown in regular conversation. Marriage counseling offers practical therapy techniques to help you truly listen to the other individual, processing their thoughts and feelings instead of preparing a response.
Marriage counseling works well to help both members in the marriage feel heard and valued. Healthy communication may feel elusive in a marriage, but it’s truly only a few steps away once you’re both connected with the right therapist.
5. Become more effective parents
Your family will change forever once you welcome children. Parenting is a privilege and a joy, but it obviously comes with unique challenges. Marriage counseling can help outfit you and your spouse with the resources and tools you need to implement effective parenting strategies.
When your marriage thrives, your relationship with your children is also going to thrive. You’ll be more capable of fostering a stable home and a loving environment for children when you take the time to fortify the framework of your marriage through counseling.
Take the steps toward a better marriage today
One of the biggest misconceptions about marriage counseling is needing to be “qualified” to attend. But really, marriage counseling can benefit any marriage, from those with deep-rooted concerns to simpler issues needing attention before escalating.