Wondering what is marriage counseling? Falling in love and getting married represent the easiest part of marriage. Maintaining a marriage is the hard part – raising children, struggling with finances, working to provide for a family, internal struggles, and a pandemic. Learning how to navigate the roller coaster of a relationship is a challenging balance—the ups and downs cause more than 40% of marriages to end in divorce. Although some marriages ultimately don’t work out due to incompatibility, infidelity, or other issues, many marriages end due to the lack of tools to manage marital problems properly.
What is Marriage Counseling?
Marriage counseling focuses on marriage and relationship-specific topics. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT) and are trained to help diagnose marriage problems and work on solutions to resolve them. Marriage counseling is a safe haven to discuss
hard things and let things out that are wearisome.
In marriage, communication is essential, especially when marriage problems need to be resolved. Marriage counseling helps couples improve their communication skills, understand each other, and develop strategies to move forward. Discernment counseling, a type of marriage counseling, can also help you determine if divorce is the ultimate choice for you and your spouse.
Who Should Seek Marriage Counseling?
Marriage counseling is often thought of as the last straw before a couple decides to divorce. However, this is not always the case. In fact, before a couple gets married, they often seek pre-marriage counseling. Most couples could benefit from marriage counseling even before major issues begin. Whether you’re a newlywed couple or a couple married for 50 years – marriage counseling can help. If there is a struggle within your marriage, consider participating in marriage counseling no matter the severity. Taking this intentional time to speak with a trained, objective, unbiased, licensed professional can help your marriage.
Still, some specific issues typically prompt couples to seek counseling, including:
• Fighting over the same thing repeatedly
• Not seeing eye-to-eye on things
• Disagreeing on parenting, finances, or lifestyle choices
• Ineffective communication
• Disagreeing on solutions to solve a conflict
• Feeling like they are going through the motions and are on auto-pilot
• Feeling emotionally unavailable, checked out, or unheard
• Having trouble processing a loss or tragedy
• Dealing with abuse, infidelity, or mental health issues.
What Happens During Marriage Counseling?
Marriage counselors encourage both partners to be present during counseling sessions. By having both spouses present, the counselor can work to help you decrease the conflict in your patterns of communication or relating to each other. If your spouse is hesitant or unable to attend, individual counseling may help you explore your own feelings regarding your marriage and make adjustments to help you cope.
Similarly to other types of therapy, marriage counseling can be emotionally uncomfortable sometimes. You and your spouse may begin to share difficult feelings that have been buried because they are difficult for you to address on your own. Your therapist’s job is to create a space where you and your partner can express your feelings and finally work through what you may be struggling with. Therapy is also an opportunity to learn new ways to communicate effectively and to develop skills needed to resolve issues moving forward. To facilitate a quicker healing process, your marriage counselor may assign specific tasks between sessions as you work together.
Does Marriage Counseling Work?
According to research from the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), 98% of couples who try marriage counseling report that their therapists are either
“excellent” or “good.” 90% of couples who try marriage counseling state that their emotional health improves. Seventy-five percent of couples report that they see an improvement in their marriage after counseling. Marriage requires hard work, maintenance, and commitment. Marriage counseling helps couples get through their conflicts and succeed as a couple.
How Do I Start Marriage Counseling?
To get off to a great start, it helps when both partners are committed to counseling. However, if your partner is hesitant about committing to marriage counseling, that’s OK. Perhaps you can agree to try one session to see if it is a good fit for you. If you’re looking for a Woodstock marriage counselor, or a counselor in Canton, Holly Springs, or the surrounding area, Family Renewal Counseling is available with specially trained therapists to help you. Marriage is a commitment between two people that sometimes comes with difficulties that are hard to overcome on your own. If you need assistance in working through issues, contact our office today by visiting our website or calling 678-631- 7639. Today is a good day to start.