What is Marriage Counseling?

Are you single and afraid to get married? Are you in love or planning to start a new relationship? Are you married and struggling to develop a peaceful relationship? Have you decided to part ways? If so, go for marriage counseling before it’s too late. 

Every relationship has its ups and downs. It is a sad fact that couples madly in love with each other can become enemies after getting married.  If they don’t address the conflicts timely, it may end up in divorce. The only way to fix unhappy marriages is to seek marriage counseling.

What is marriage counseling? It is a type of therapy in which therapists help all types of couples to know the reason and solution of conflicts in relationships. Through this, couples are able to make future decisions of rebuilding relationships or parting ways. It is also helpful to treat Gamophobia in unmarried people. 

To seek marriage counseling, you need to book an appointment with a licensed marriage and family therapist, professional counselor, or social worker (these are also known as therapists, psychotherapists, or counselors). These therapists are trained and certified professionals who know how to deal with different and difficult situations. They use different techniques and plans to diagnose the root cause of the underlying problem. After this, they help you to reach out to a solution that is acceptable to both partners.

6 Reasons Why Couples Should Seek Marriage Counseling

The reason for seeking counseling varies with the situation. Some reasons are common such as emotional problems, sexual problems, communication gaps, and joint families. Other reasons include conflicts due to bad mental health and parenting.

Below are the typical reasons for seeking marriage counseling:

  • Emotional Problems: The major emotional concern that can hurt your marital relationship is anger. When you don’t appreciate what is good and yell about what’s bad always, you’re likely to lose the love of your partner. If couples are always angry and negative about one another, it’s time to go to counseling. 
  • Sexual Problems: Sexual relationship plays a vital role in the success of married life. The problem arises when one partner does not welcome the other. With time, it can become a main cause of conflicts. If you feel no spark in your sexual relationship, it’s time to go to counseling.
  • Communication Gap: Being a couple, if you don’t have a deep conversation over a week or two, you may need help. It seems that couples spend time together but they don’t know how to spend quality time together. If your partner is busy on the phone and you are talking to them, that could be a problem. In case, this is happening all the time in your life, you may need marriage counseling.
  • Conflict About Blended Family: Sometimes the reason for conflict is third-person interference from in-laws or siblings. It happens most of the time when couples live in blended families. In such cases, therapists help couples to cope with the situation and come up with solutions for all.
  • Conflict about Child rearing: Some of the time, couples disagree on parenting children. One partner feels that they are not ready to take responsibility for children. The conflict may arise when partners disagree with the idea of child-bearing. The simple solution is to contact a marriage counselor to talk out these large life issues.
  • Mental Health: If the mental health of a person you’re going to marry is going well, you may have major difficulties in your marriage. It takes time to understand mental disorders. Sadly, in such cases, one partner has to suffer a lot. Here Counseling does help in some cases, but for domestic violence, please seek the help of the police and the domestic violence hotline. 

When Do You Seek Marriage Counseling?

What is the right time to visit a marriage counselor? How do you know that it’s time to book an appointment? A marriage counselor is often more of a person who guides and makes suggestions, instead of a doctor who dictates treatment. You need not have a problem or conflict to go there. You can book an appointment even if you need suggestions or want to share something that you feel is difficult to share with someone else. Even happy couples may try counseling to improve their relationship.

To figure out if it is the right time: Ask yourself the following questions before attending marriage counseling:

  • Do you not feel sparks in your relationship?
  • Do you think your partner is emotionally unavailable? 
  • Do the habits of your partner embarrass you?
  • Do you feel your partner doesn’t care for you?
  • Do you feel your relationship is going downhill?
  • Do you feel that your partner is losing interest in you day by day?
  • Do you want a divorce?
  • Do you fight with your partner on the same issue over and over?
  • Do you feel it’s difficult to develop eye-to-eye contact with your partner?
  • Do you think your partner has some mental health issue but don’t know what?

If the answer to any one of the above questions is YES, you are a candidate for marriage counseling. If you find multiple YES’, you may need it immediately. So, book your appointment and save your marriage.

What do therapists do in marriage counseling?

The first thing that therapists will do is to provide a friendly environment to couples. They work to help couples feel that they can express whatever they feel, good or bad. The goal is to have their voices heard. They give them space to reveal whatever is hidden in mind. You may expect many raised voices, crying, and emotions in starting the session. With time, couples learn how to discuss differences. 

With time, the counselor will add instructions on improving communication and tips for moving forward.  The length of the counseling sessions depends on the nature of the problem and the response of couples. Here is a shortlist of some of the types of therapies used in marriage counseling:

  1. Emotionally Focused Couples therapy
  2. Cognitive Behavior therapy
  3. The Gottman Method of Couples Counseling
  4. Solution Focused and Reality Therapy
  5. Imago Relationship Therapy
  6. Narrative Therapy

What to expect from Marriage Counseling:

Before you start marriage counseling, make sure you know well about the counseling procedure. Some people say that marriage counseling does not work. The reason is obviously unrealistic expectations. Its practical therapy in which honest communication is the key. Below are few things that you can expect in counseling session:

Open discussions

Feel free to discuss whatever you feel with your therapist. It’s hard for emotionally overwhelmed couples. Sometimes situations may get out of control. In this situation, therapists encourage multiple counseling sessions with each partner alone.

Joint Sessions

When therapists think couples can sit together, he or she would encourage joint sessions. In these sessions, couples will work out how they can improve their relationship without blaming each other. 

Communication exercises

It is a homework task. In many cases, the therapist would recommend angry couples to practice communication at home. It will be a face-to-face talk on something less stressful. Sometimes the therapist will also suggest the topic of communication exercise at home.

 Problem-Solving skills

With time, working with your counselor, you‘ll learn how to identify reasons for conflict. If it is reconcilable, the next step is to think about a solution. If the conflicts are irreconcilable, counselors will work on parting ways peacefully. 

Common Misconceptions of Marriage Counseling:

Many couples are confused about seeking marriage counseling. They think that they should seek it only in conflicts.  It’s wrong to say that it is only helpful in unfavorable situations.  Below are some common misconceptions about marriage counseling that you need to know before booking appointments. 

  • Misconception #1 Marriage counselor recommend divorce

Counselors are trained to stay neutral. The decision of divorce is up to the couple’s choice. Even in an abusive relationship, the counselor won’t recommend divorce. 

  • Misconception #2 It is only for married couples

Many couples think counseling helps married couples only. It is helpful for married couples, couples who are dating or living together, and couples who don’t live together. 

  • Misconception #3 Therapists impose a decision on couples

Therapists are professionally trained to stay neutral. They never try to impose their personal opinion on anybody. They only help you to make thoughtful decisions. 

  • Misconception #4 Couples need counseling only if there is conflict

It’s wrong to think that a bad relationship is necessary to start counseling. It is also helpful even if you’re a happy couple and want to make your relationship happier. Counseling is a good tool to improve existing relationships. 

  • Misconception #5 Only one session of counseling is enough

It’s true that counseling is a short-term procedure. But it depends on the situation. It also depends on how fast you diagnose the reason for your problem. Many people believe that only one session is enough to bring a dramatic change in a bad relationship. It’s wrong.

  • Misconception #6 If one partner disagrees, counseling has no benefit

It is wrong to say that it benefits only when both parents agree to participate in the session. If your partner does not agree, you can go alone. It will help you to understand your feelings about your partner. 

Clear your mind about these doubts, counseling is a continuous process in which couples have to attend multiple sessions. It’s not magic to change relationship status in just one sitting. Your cooperation matters. So remember, you must give it time to work and attend multiple sessions.

Learn more about marriage and couples counseling therapists at Health for Life Counseling in Grand Rapids, Ada, MI, and the West Michigan area.

Learn more about the Trauma-Informed Counseling Center of Grand Rapids

Learn more about Counseling and Therapy services at Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids

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