Whenever the word ‘marriage counseling’ crops up between the couples, it leads to many unspoken fears and endless thoughts leading to different feelings. In society, generally huge arguments between the couple are often suggested for marriage counseling for giving one more try to the relationship. But couple sees the counseling as a final straw before heading separate ways. But, in reality, marriage counseling is basically a ‘bridge’ for a couple to use in a relationship to cross the difficulties or issues and influence the marriage in a much positive manner.
Here are the signs that indicate it is time for the couple to head to a counselor.
Lack of trust: If the couple are finding extremely difficult in trusting each other after going through a situation whether it is extra marital affair, lying in finances which also causes emotional turmoil in the relationship, ultimately counselor would help in dealing with the events happened.
Gap of Communication: A lack of communication amongst the partners in which it leads to secrecy from each other, frequent fighting, general disinterest towards each other and not confronting the issues to each other. Counselor in definite terms would teach communication techniques to the couple in sharing feelings to each other without any judgment.
Spending less time together: Depending on the nature of the relationship, sometimes it is okay to become closer or drift apart for a short period of time. But when there is consistency in being away from each other, spending free time apart, is a signal for the partners to find their
rekindled spark through marriage counseling.
Change in relationship goals: Relationship changes in due course of time. Sometimes many couples have their own perspective plans wanting difference in their lives. If ignored much, divorce would be looming over their heads. So to bring healthiness and calmness in relationship, marriage counseling is a necessity in navigating the challenges, adjustments and communication barriers which would come up along the way in a relationship.
Life Changing Events: For life changing events like birth of a child, death of a family member, loss of a job, getting transferred in a job frequently would definitely shake the foundation of the relationship. Dealing with such situations would often lead to stress and distance between the partners. In these terms, marriage counseling can keep both the partners on toes in working out the relationship during mental, physical and emotional transitions.
Addiction and Stress: if one of the partners has an addiction of alcoholism, gambling or addiction to any kind of thing, would lead to serious toll on marriage. Counseling would definitely help to work through the problem together and heal their relationship in process.
Personal Struggles: When there are personal struggles in a relationship that could be psychological illness or struggling in the career, then either of the partners would hesitate to open up. In this difficult point, counseling would help them in empathizing with each other and understand each other in order to being more supportive and considerate.
When “love isn’t enough’, the couples would have discrepancy in levels of desire such as being affectionate and caring, sex, emotionally focused conversation, fun, raising the children, attachment with friends and family. In these cases, failure to understand or unable to empathize would in turn lead to unhealthy and negative pattern in relationship.
Do We Need Marriage Counseling?
The prospect of counseling itself make people hesitant to further venture into this, but counseling sessions makes the person him or her to relieve their stress, anxiety to specific issues and eventually making progress in mutual understanding for a future healthy relationship. Investing feelings in understanding each other for mutual benefit is the most challenging task but yet the easiest way by speaking with a counselor.
There are few of benefits which a couple would gain from marriage counseling.
- Help in clarifying about their feelings
- Improvisation of personal growth in a relationship
- Deeper understanding and positive communication amongst the couple
- Learning to work and process through resolved issues
- Resolving conflicts and misunderstandings in a healthy manner
- Building a positive emotional and physical health
- Building an effective self-esteem
How does Marriage Counseling Help?
With the help of marriage counseling, the couple’s significance and reciprocal nature of their own behavior and attitude which would make them face the reality and give themselves a new positive perspective in their relationship. Due to counseling, it would make the couple understand that, if not taken help in time, a vicious cycle would form which would lead to ending of relationship. Marriage counseling would also help in bringing out the mutual exchange and openness between the partners, learning how to solve complex and sensitive situations constructively and respectfully, giving undivided attention in listening when either of the partners is talking and also controlling verbal or non-verbal put downs, i.e., making face or rolling your eyes.
How effective is Marriage Counseling?
The effectiveness of marriage counseling is totally based on motivation of partners in a relationship. It is really effective when a partner genuinely wants to save his/her marriage by taking up initiative to help each other in finding way to deal with the difficulties in the relationships. with the help of marriage counseling, couples would have deeper understanding of each other and would start beginning of a new relation with positive thinking and good approach. The most important truth is that with counseling comes the effectiveness in building a stable relationship that is much stronger than before. In fact, thousands of marriages with a complex situation
have been transformed with the help of counselor who understand where a partner stands and would care how to help in fixing the couple’s relationship. As per the facts, the statics mentions that the couples attend counseling sessions for many reasons such as parenting troubles, financial issues, negative communication, physical and emotional abuse, loss of
A study conducted in United States by American Association of Marriage and Family therapists, reports that the marriage counseling conducted ahs 98% of couples in effectiveness and benefit from the happy counseling. They felt they had received excellent therapy and have gained most from the counseling. 90% of the couples felt they are ready to tackle marriage problems after they have completed their sessions.
Principles of Marriage Counseling
Even though for helping in dealing out the issues in a relationship most of the couples try for counseling to save their relationship, couples should also try strengthening their bond by trying to adapt to the principles. Apart from trying out following the principles, if further couples would still come forward for counseling, there are high percentage of chances that the couples would enact positive change in their lives. There a few principles which were developed by John Gottman which is also known as ‘The Sound
Relationship House Theory’.
- Improving Communication: Infliction of positive communication is really necessary between the partners.
- Supporting Each other emotionally: Able to help and support each other during difficult times.
- Turn towards instead of away: Always state your needs, be alert of the connection and respond to them on time. The small moments of life are the building blocks of the relationship.
- Always turn towards each other with fondness and admiration: This level basically focuses on amount of affection and respect within a relationship.
- Positive perspective: The presence of a positive approach and attempt of repairing the issues as well.
- Manage Conflict: We generally say ‘manage’ conflict rather than ‘resolve’ conflict, because conflicts in relationship is natural and has positive aspects as well.
- Trust: When the person thinks that his or her partner acts and maximizes in the benefit of the person not just their own personal interests and benefits. This states that the person is having his or her support for me.
- Creating shared meaning: Understanding important goals, narratives of your relationship for much better understanding.
- Building love maps: This is regarding how well do you know your partner’s worries, stress, joyful moments or hopes
Who can Benefit from the Gottman Method?
Gottman says that 69% of marital conflicts are perpetual problems and are of particular focus in much of the work. The Gottman method is basically designed to support couples involving various sectors such as economic, cultural, sexual orientation and racial.
Some of the relationship issues that may be addressed in the therapy include the following:
- Frequent conflicts and the arguments
- Poor communication
- Emotionally distanced couples on the verge of separation
- Specific problems such as sexual difficulties, infidelity, financial aspects and parenting as well.
According to Gottman, Couples who have normal levels of conflict would definitely benefit from the Gottman couples therapy. It also aims in building stronger relationships overall and healthy way in coping up with the issue as they gradually would arise in the future.
Why ‘Online Marriage Counseling’ is the best therapy?
Online counseling services are the provision for psychological health services via internet and telephone. The use of online counseling services has become far more popular of social media, online business, and virtual employment. Currently technology has been the biggest boon for everyone in every aspect. Lately, a large number of people have been seeking relationship advice online. There are various counseling websites offering
advice regarding relationship queries, Q&A sessions and video consultations as well. But one question that looms everyone’s mind is, “Will it work? Would it make the situation much worse? Will it be effective? Or will it be time consuming?” But, now-a-days, online counseling has become much more convenient. Both the therapist and the client would have convenience in responding to each other without any difficulties at a range of variant times.
This type of counseling would definitely be hassle free in scheduling and setting appointments. This also makes the counselor to being able to extend their services. To make your online counseling work, the partners need to take care of the following things.
- Always make sure that you take up sessions for counseling from a professional trained in relationship counseling. Because many fresh graduates have great knowledge theoretically but practical wise they lack in the area. Henceforth, an experienced psychologist is the best medication to all the psychological illnesses.
- Always need to be anonymous, which gives you more confidence in sharing problems, without being scared to be judged by the societal norms.
- Don’t start too late which would lead the couple away from the path as time is everything to bring back the relationship to the right path.
- Nothing can change unless the couple has the urge on its own to go to counseling and the result of session only shows when the couple works on after counseling sessions.
- Take few sessions before deciding whether it’s working or not. Jot down the after session developments in the relationship which shows and give a sincere try out.
Does Marriage Counseling Work?
In every aspect it’s a huge question but in reality it is a dependent question.
There are so many factors considered that, even if we considering to answer in general whether marriage counseling works or not. Even though people said, “Yes, marriage counseling does work out for a relationship”, there are still people who would say a no. Most of the couples after huge arguments when they drift apart, this common question always crops up.
All relationships have ups and downs. It’s hardly known whether it’s a rough phase in a relationship or it’s rather a very serious matter that isn’t going to change on its own.
Marriage counseling does becomes a requirement when;
- There are longstanding patterns where the partners trying to change the differences and arguments, it again goes back to same old situations.
- When there is repeatedly a failure in being empathetic towards each other. Unable to understand and unable to emotionally support each other.
- When there is relationship crisis, which can be a situation to either of the partners a traumatized one.
- When productive communication becomes dominant in the relationship.
Process of Marriage Counseling
The process of marriage counseling is where the couples during their counseling process open up and vent out their feelings, insecurities, and their specified areas of happiness. Counselor also focuses on nature of interactions while presenting the issues to the partner and also attempting in dealing to help out with the problems. In area of process of counseling, the counselor basically assesses the effectiveness in aspects of communication with each other and efficiency in problem solving
Dynamics of Marriage Counseling
Marriage counseling or Divorce counseling or any other factor considered for counseling varies for each couple.
Variation in personal and practical factors: In this level, how understanding and receptive you are to your partner, after attending sessions with the marriage counselor and how good the partners are saving the marriage.
Arising of problems from disagreement: In this situation, marriage counseling would only work, when, the couple would attend marriage counseling with the intention of discovering what has caused the problems to drift apart from each other.
Counselor seeking out the cause of the problem: Intention of any counselor would be to find out the root cause and fix the problem. The marriage counselor would basically examine all the reasons thoroughly. This is being done so that the false assumptions made by the partner are
being checked out to be true or not. The marriage counselor tries to find out if there is any way to save the relationship.
Counseling leads both back to the previous stage: Many marriages fall apart due to illness, gap in communication or depression, etc. If both the partners think that they can commit to the relationship and make it work irrespective of all the difficulties, then the marriage would definitely work out.
Is Marriage Counseling right to go through?
“Breaking up is hard to do” but staying together can be just as challenging.
The number of couples seeking counseling has increased in these recent years as the stigma surrounding the practice of counseling has faded. And it’s not only women who are consulting for a therapist these days. Men, too, are increasingly seeking outside help to relieve their anxieties and stress in for coping up with relationship.
Marriage counseling can be an effective way to mend a broken and stressed relationship, experts say, but only if people get into sessions of counseling before the damage is too extensive to repair. Many people wait until it’s too late. Go to marriage counseling when you still don’t want the divorce. Go while there’s still glue there.
These signs lead the way:
- Your fights are getting out of control: If you’re not willing to invite your children to pull up a chair and watch your fight, that’s a good sign you can use some help and counsel.
- Fighting is healthy, but only when it is done in a constructive manner. Couples counseling can help people change their arguing style so they can resolve their problems in a less hurtful way, setting a more positive example for their children. And it can help couples without children improve their behavior around family and friends.
- You encounter the same stumbling blocks day after day: When couples find themselves rehashing the same issue over and over again bickering over the division of chores, say, or fighting over spending habits it may be time to consider outside intervention.
- Repeated fights can corrode trust and a couple’s connection. While counseling may not eliminate the problem, it can minimize the problem’s effect on the relationship.
- You feel you are slowly drifting away from your partner: While constant fighting often signals that it’s time to get help, a notable lack of confrontation can also be cause for concern. In those cases, people can find themselves slowly growing apart from their partner. Some even begin to entertain the idea of pursuing other sexual relationships.
- The low-conflict, drifting-apart marriage is in great danger of divorce, when there’s that emptiness. People are prone to two kinds of crisis in such situations, one is seeking the external affair and the other is somebody’s midlife crisis.
In most cases, it’s the counselor’s job to draw relationship for the concerns out of the partners, eventually closing the emotional gap between them. The truth is, in marriage, the things that frighten us the most are usually the most important things to say to strengthen the relationship. Often, we just don’t know how to say it in a gentle and constructive way.
Finding the right counselor for you
If you’ve decided couples counseling is the best move for you, the next step is to find the right therapist, which can prove difficult. Although 80 percent of therapists in private practice offer couples therapy, few have taken a single class in couple’s therapy or have completed an internship with someone who has mastered the art, according to a national survey by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
Couples shouldn’t feel shy about calling a few counselors and evaluating them on the phone, experts say. And once couples find someone, they should be willing to try another therapist if progress isn’t being made.
If a therapist seems to lack structure, favors one person more than the other or allows fights to get out of hand, consider looking elsewhere, experts say. However, couples should have patience with their counselor and not expect a miracle overnight. Within three sessions, a couple should have a new perspective on something helpful or a way to handle something that’s helpful. If in three sessions, the couple isn’t getting value, change the therapist.
Outcome of Marriage Counseling
You can’t create a flourishing relationship by only fixing what’s wrong. But, it would be a great start. Love, responsibility, caring, affection only diminishes when self-interest dominates. If you don’t know what you feel in your important areas of your relationship, then the maturity of understanding hasn’t reached a level where building of relationship would be stable. In order to getting to the bottom of the problem, means acceptance to understand how complex the situation is for being in a relationship, always without being judgmental and trustworthy. If neither of you would move the boat the relationship would eventually drift away in the storm.
Three motivational words to govern sustained effort in the relationship:
- Avoid pain or discomfort
- Be a better person
- Create more benefits
Couples should be able to cooperate enough to set up a home together and raise a family, they soon begin to support each other through the necessary changes to their relationship. For this reason, couple counseling often needs fewer sessions than one-to-one work. Next, it soon becomes clear that a couple counselor’s responsibility is to the relationship and both of you will get equal time, attention and understanding. On a deeper level, couple work avoids the victimized attitude which encourages people to dig deeper into their own world view. If you can get over the hump of entering relationship therapy, the rewards are often much greater. In many cases, couples get an immediate short-term boost. This is partly down to a sense of relief that
something is finally being done, but mainly because our partner agreeing to this ordeal is concrete proof that she or he cares. One of the biggest factors in the success of marriage counseling is the counselor. Almost every counselor in the world says that they do marriage counseling, but most never received any training. Often, they got a degree in psychology or therapy and feel that they can do it.
Marriage counseling isn’t just one person and his or her issues. Its two people, their issues, and interaction and dynamics of those issues. Marriage counseling isn’t just counseling- it’s a learned skill that requires a specialist.
It’s important to choose a therapist who has experience working with couples and who is a good fit for both you and your partner. If both partners don’t feel comfortable with the therapist, this can negatively
impact progress; or one person may prematurely drop out.
From the outcome of the marriage counseling, John Gottman’s research basically looks into happy couples for the solutions, because, couples who are in individual aspect happy have the independency in handling the disagreements because of foundation of affection and responsibility. He has even discovered that all couples at some point of time have conflicts, but couples who are happy have much better chances in solving the problems, rather than couples who are unhappy, because they do have such type of skill set to maintain a relationship. Generally, marriage and relationship researchers suggest that the goal of counseling for couple should be able to change the patterns of interaction, emotional connection, and support for each other and communication between the couple.