Marriage counseling is something that most couples may dread the idea of. It’s commonly associated with couples whose marriages have fallen apart, with a counselor telling them what they already knew. This is an outdated idea. Couples, even perfectly healthy ones, seek marriage counseling for all sorts of reasons. In this post, we will explain why people seek marriage counseling, how to find one, and what techniques to expect from the counselor.
Why Do People Seek Help?
There are many reasons, but let’s look at some of the common ones.
Fights that Go Nowhere
If someone tells you that the ideal relationship should have no arguments, they have not been in a serious relationship. The truth is that all couples argue. Good couples can settle their differences by reaching a middle ground, admitting fault, agreeing to disagree, and so on. However, toxic couples may argue in circles, using accusatory dialogue and bringing up past arguments. Sometimes, fights may arise due to poor communication.
No matter the reason, many couples cannot fix their way of arguing, and they may seek a marriage counselor to help.
The Passion is All Gone
Couples committed for life will stay together, while couples doomed to fail will drift apart. Perhaps the passion is being lost in bed, or all interest in the relationship has waned, and you may be committing only for kids or for another reason. A lifeless marriage can be fixed through therapy. It may take rediscovering what made the marriage great or looking for underlying causes.
The Trust Has Been Broken
Whether it’s due to financial dishonesty, infidelity, or another lie or broken promise, it can take a long time to rebuild trust once it’s broken. It can take time and commitment to be honest, but when there doesn’t seem to be any trust left, a therapist can help both sides rebuild and accept trust.
As we mentioned before, not all people seek help from a therapist because the marriage is falling apart. In fact, some people may go to counseling when the marriage is perfectly fine. Some people will do so because they want to look for any potential trouble spots. For example, one person may be happy, but there are little annoyances that are building up. A marriage counselor can help keep the marriage going strong by fixing little problems or teaching couples ways to make their marriage even better.
Some people may go to premarital couples counseling, too. This is when two people are planning on marrying, and they’re seeking help from a counselor who can give them advice and guidance as they move in with each other and take their relationship to the next level.
Finding a Counselor
If you want to find a marriage counselor, you may do a quick Google search or look at a directory to help you. It’s important to find one who fits with both you and your spouse, and who will take a neutral stance and will help both parties grow as people.
You may want to make a consultation call. Summarize your problem and see how the counselor will help you. If you feel a connection, then proceed. If things didn’t click or set right, find someone else.
Ideally, you’ll want to go in together, but if one person cannot make it or doesn’t want to begin with, individual therapy can be a good first step.
Some Techniques a Counselor May Use
With marriage counseling, there are many techniques that a counselor will employ. There is no right approach; everyone responds in their own way. Let’s look at some of them:
- Positive psychology. While the idea of thinking positive can sound a little cheesy, there is a lot of truth to it as well. Positive psychology is good for couples who are trapped in a negative bubble. It can emphasize positive interactions and thoughts above the negative, helping couples improve their overall mental health.
- Emotionally-focused therapy, or EFT. EFT looks at the emotional responses couples make. Often, we may respond to dilemmas in a way that’s not emotionally right, and EFT helps you find the appropriate emotional response for the situation.
- The Gottman Method. This technique involves the formation of love maps, giving you an insight into your partner. You can learn about their hopes, dreams, stresses, troubles, and other characteristics. The concept of respect is emphasized quite a bit, along with the theme of managing conflict. It can be quite the effective method.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, may be taught as well. This technique focuses on the relationship between your thoughts and your habits. Ideally, CBT will teach you how to have more productive habits and thoughts. CBT can also be used to improve other aspects of your life, teaching you how to eat rightand exercise, or manage depression.
- There are other methods as well, with some ranging from art therapy to music. Everyone responds to certain forms of therapy differently, so do your research.
Finally, we should emphasize online therapy. With many couples still stuck at home, having different schedules, having disabilities, or living in an area where there may be a low number of therapists, online therapy can be a good solution.
Online therapy involves communicating through a computer or other device and using text, voice, and video communication to speak with a licensed therapist. Sites such as ReGain offer you online couples therapy from the comfort of your own home.
Seeking help from a marriage counselor does not mean your marriage has failed. There are many reasons why one may need a therapist. Think of your marriage as a living organism. Even the strongest organisms get sick every now and then, and a therapist can be a doctor who helps you. However, unlike a doctor who offers medicine, you have to listen to what they say and make the changes as well. It’s a collaborative effort.