Let’s Talk About What to Expect at Marriage Counseling
Marriage counseling is aimed at helping couples understand each other, resolve conflicts and improve their overall relationship. It’s in quality marriage counseling or a trusted marriage retreat that couples learn how to communicate better, overcome differences, solve problems, argue in healthier ways and build on their trust and understanding. As such, marriage counselors are not regular therapists because they only have one specific area they where they focus. Their goal as a counselor is to improve on the relationship of the couple.
Marriage counseling is only short term and most couples will only need a few sessions to help them weather the crisis. For marriages that are greatly deteriorated, those will require counseling for several months. Some spouses may even need individual therapy because of the individual experiences they may have had that are impacting their marriages in a negative way.
The first thing that comes to mind when you think about marriage counseling is probably an image of a therapist sitting opposite you while you sit on a couch and the therapist keeps jotting down something after everything you say. People don’t know what to expect from marriage counseling but this view has mostly been influenced by the many movies you may have watched where couples or people go for therapy. But marriage counseling is not just about sitting at a couch and talking to someone who has something to write down after everything you say. It is much more than that.
So, what should you really expect at marriage counselling?
Expect marriage counseling to take a great amount of energy and time
One of the things that may keep couples from going for marriage counseling is probably the fear of commitment. Counseling will most definitely demand your time and energy. A lot of effort goes in to finding time to meet with a counselor every week for counseling sessions.
Remember that you are still working and the other aspects of your life are not on hold. For this reason, going for marriage counseling requires intention from both partners because without it, you may be tempted to give up after the first few sessions.
So if you want to save your marriage but you are only expecting results within minimum effort, then unfortunately for you, it is not going to work. You will have to put in the work for the counseling to be successful.
A confrontation by the truth can be expected at marriage counseling
If you are contemplating going for marriage counseling, then expect to have moments of vulnerability. Vulnerability is the only way you and your spouse will be able to move past the issues you are facing. Truth be told, the truth can be very painful, but saying the truth is not a bad thing. Openness is a requirement during counseling.
You will have to open up about your feelings and express yourself just as you feel and your spouse will do the same. Often times couples will wonder if they can survive an affair. Some of the things they say may be hurtful to hear. However, although honesty sometimes hurts, it doesn’t harm you or the relationship.
It is absolutely necessary if your relationship is to grow deeper and stronger. There is nothing as hard as being vulnerable with your partner but marriage is about being vulnerable. During counseling, you may be pushed to the wall until you let go of any emotions and feelings that you are holding in. At the moment, it may be painful, but eventually it will all be worth it!
Surprising truths is surely what to expect at marriage counseling
In the period of courtship and dating, most people never come clean about their past and their experiences for one reason or another. One reason is that such experiences may be too painful for them to talk about.
For example, people will rarely talk about any experiences of physical or emotional abuse in their past. Unfortunately, these past experiences have a negative effect on marriages. When someone does not come clean about their past, they may never be able to fully trust someone or confide in someone which creates problems and misunderstandings in marriage.
So expect to know something that you have never known about your spouse…or even yourself… in counseling. Your partner will need to hear them if he or she is to help you get past such experiences, if your relationship is to get past them.
It can get worse before it gets better
In marriage counseling, you will be confronted by truth and discover stuff about your spouse and yourself that you never really knew or thought about. Your first reaction in such a situation, is to question how you can trust your partner ever again if they were capable of hiding the truth from you.
As a result, more conflict may arise which a skilled marriage counselor can help you navigate through and resolve in an amicable manner. Marriage counseling puts your relationship in the lime light and it can feel like it’s getting worse before you eventually solve your problems and rebuild your trust in each other. So hang in there!
The relationship may end even with marriage counseling
Contrary to popular belief, marriage counseling is not some magic potion that resolves all issues in marriage. Relationship counseling does help to improve the relationship. However, sometimes counseling may also reveal that you are better apart than you are together as a couple. You may also discover that the reason your marriage is not working is that you were not the right fit for each other to begin with.
Some couples have gone to counseling and still ended up divorcing. The difference is that they were able to receive closure and accept the fate of the relationship with no hard or guilt feelings. There is no shame in this. At least you will know that you tried your best and you put much effort into making things work even though they didn’t turn out as you expected.
When it comes to marriage counseling, you need to be open-minded and willing to do the work. Be ready to confront your worst fears but also expect to become a better and stronger person after the process. This is what to expect at marriage counseling.