Marriage counselling is recommended for couples that are considering separation and want to salvage their union and for couples who would like to improve their intimacy and strengthen their relationship. At marriage counselling, the relationship is the focus, however, both partners should expect to focus on self-improvement at the same time. Marriage counselling is usually a short-term commitment, but you may need to attend for several months if your marriage has deteriorated greatly. The treatment plan is entirely case specific. Although the aim is to strengthen a couples bond, in some cases marriage counselling helps both partners to see that their differences are irreconcilable, and that it would be best for them to end the relationship knowing that they have done everything possible to fix it.
What is the purpose of marriage counselling?
Not only do couples who are already married attend marriage counselling, but some couples attend marriage counselling before they get married, so that they can gain a deeper understanding of each other and deal with any differences before they arise. In the case of coupes that are already married, the purpose of marriage counselling is to strengthen their bond, particularly in a strained relationship. Some of the specific issues that may prompt couples to seek marriage counselling are financial issues , sexual difficulties, infidelity, communication issues, anger issues, or disagreements about child rearing.
What to expect from marriage counselling
The decision to go to marriage counselling can be a difficult one, but it is better to iron out your issues, rather than hope that they will disappear. At marriage counselling you and your partner will attend sessions together to work with a therapist to learn skills to strengthen your relationship. These skills could include open communication, problem solving and discussing your differences calmly and rationally. You will also identify the positive and negative parts of your relationship so that you can learn to understand the sources of your conflicts. In the case that you and your partner start to argue during a therapy session, your therapist will act as a mediator.
Should your partner refuse to attend counselling with you, you can go alone. It is preferable that both partners are present, as it is difficult to mend a relationship when only one party is willing to attend therapy. However, you will learn about your behaviour in the relationship and from there will hopefully see an improvement in not only yourself, but also the relationship. In some cases, your therapist will ask to see you individually and as a couple, as the best course of action for your relationship.
The success of marriage counselling depends on each partner’s willingness to dedicate themselves to the process. If couples engage with the process and apply the skills that they learn, they can expect to become better at communicating and supporting each other. With the guidance of the therapist, the couple will establish goals for their relationship. It is important that each partner whole-heartedly acknowledges and accepts their role in the relationship and any conflict within the relationship, in order for these goals to be met.