It may come as a surprise to learn that thousands of people have been married for decades but have never had any kind of couples counseling.
There are many reasons why couples avoid professional counseling. They may think they do not need it, that it is too expensive or low on their priority list, or that they are not the type of people who would benefit from it.
Initially, couples counseling may seem a bit awkward and uncomfortable. If you want to improve your relationship with your partner, having a third party tell you how to handle each situation will give you objectivity that usually cannot be found when just the two of you try to talk things out.
There is often too much emotion between two people when something difficult arises in their marriage, and coming together as an objective couple is impossible.
The bottom line when considering whether or not couples counseling will help strengthen your marriage is this: anything that can potentially improve your relationship should be seriously considered and given careful consideration.
The benefits of couples counseling far outweigh the barriers couples put in front of them to avoid going for it.
What are some of the benefits of couples counseling?
Clarity, knowledge, and objectivity are just some of the benefits of couples counseling.
Some of the real core issues in a couple’s relationship often do not surface until they undergo a couples counseling session.
These core issues can be emotional, spiritual, and even sexual – all of which affect the dynamic of your marriage.
Having an outside person help you break through these barriers after years of being together with someone is precisely what many couples need to understand each other on a whole new level.
Here are some of the reasons why counseling will improve your marriage:
- The counselor, therapist, or psychologist has no preconceived notions about your relationship. They do not know you well enough to say that it is impossible or that you are better off divorcing or separating.
- Each session is strictly focused on resolving things between the two of you, and couples can talk openly about their issues without worrying about what friends and family may say later.
- Couples counseling will also give each person the opportunity to step back for a moment and look at themselves. You may be frustrated with your spouse for looking through his phone too much, but if you take a closer look, maybe this is something bothering you, and you need to work on it.
- Couples counseling can help each person become more self-aware when problems arise in the relationship. Each partner will better understand their thoughts, feelings, and actions that sometimes lead to distancing themselves from the other.
- The therapist helps guide the conversation and facilitates discussion between both partners about what is happening in your marriage and how you can move forward together as a unit instead of being so dependent on each other. When these two people have a team mentality going for them, they are less likely to engage in arguments or destructive behavior toward one another.
- When couples come home after a counseling session, they feel refreshed and rejuvenated by having had someone else’s perspective regarding their marriage and what they can do to begin the resolution process.
- Couples counseling is like a beginning for your relationship, not an end. You may decide as a couple that you would be better off doing it on your own or with some other source of ongoing support (like loved ones), but at least you know there is another avenue open to you if you choose to take it.
So many couples go through life connected by just a thread, their love, and sometimes that thread wears thin until the point where things fall apart entirely, leading each person down paths they never knew existed until they found themselves suddenly alone. Don’t let that happen to you.
Be proactive about your relationship by taking the time, energy, and investment into counseling to help support your marriage. It will be more than worth it in the end!
Why would you recommend couples counseling to a married couple who is struggling with their marriage?
It is one of the best investments you can make for your marriage.
Couples counseling can help couples identify areas that they need to work on and give them the tools to improve their relationship. It provides each partner with a chance to share their feelings with an objective person trained in helping people express themselves without feeling shame or guilt over what they are sharing.
Counseling may not always be easy, but it will be worth it if you can emerge from the experience with something positive coming out of it.
How would you recommend couples to find a good counselor?
Choosing the right therapist can make all the difference for your relationship. It may be helpful to look for therapists who specialize in marital therapy, but even someone specializing in couples counseling may be better than someone who is not trained in this area.
Would you mind sharing your thoughts on how NOT to find a good counselor?
Therapists who are too young or inexperienced, therapists who do not specialize in relationships, and therapists that make you feel uncomfortable during the session can all hurt your chances of making positive changes in your relationship.
Sometimes it helps to ask friends for recommendations or look online for reviews before choosing a therapist.
What are the characteristics of a good therapist?
A good therapist is someone who gives you perspective about problems in your relationship, supports the couple’s efforts to resolve issues in their relationship, and helps guide them through exercises that they can do at home between sessions. A good therapist will work with each partner to support what they are saying without being judgmental or shaming towards them for how they are feeling.
A good therapist believes in the power of couplehood and wants to help both partners become healthier and happier with one another.
What are the top 3 most common problems in couples counseling?
- Differentiating between problems in the marriage, which are worth working on, and issues that are not related to being married or being with your partner.
- Conflict over parenting styles.
- Money problems.
What are the top 3 most common results from couples counseling?
- Couples gain insight into how they can improve their communication.
- Couples learn to identify problematic patterns in their relationship and then work together to change things for the better.
- Couples increase their empathy for each other’s needs and desires because they have been able to voice them to a person who is supportive of what they have shared.
How do you help a couple whose priority is individual happiness instead of remaining together?
Sometimes the couple should decide that they are better off on their own. If they are not willing to work on their relationship, there is not much you can do in counseling to help them.
Sometimes it is best for the couple to part ways and for one person to seek therapy by themselves.
They can work on growing as an individual while living separately from their partner at the same time. Therapy will help them learn about themselves and their own needs, so they feel less dependent on another person to meet all of those needs.
If staying together is no longer a priority, then finding ways for each partner to maintain friendships outside of their relationship may be beneficial.
What can couples expect in couples counseling?
Couples will share their feelings and speak openly about what issues impact their marriage most directly. They will learn new tools or strategies that they can use when things come up that trigger conflict within the marriage.
Expectations should always be set before starting any type of therapy with your partner. You both know what to expect and what you hope to accomplish by coming together for counseling.
How does one maintain the improvements made during the counseling session?
Part of what you will learn during your sessions is how to apply these things between sessions so that you can continue to improve on the relationship after counseling has ended.
It may even help you both to read some good books or do online research about healthy ways to handle different situations. Healing doesn’t happen overnight but putting forth the effort every day will pay off over time.
What are 3 pieces of advice for couples trying to save their marriage?
Understand what your boundaries are.
Learn to hear your partner’s needs without feeling like you always have to meet them.
Prioritize communication before sex and romance for intimacy to deepen.
Who should go to couples counseling?
Married or cohabiting couples who are having ongoing disagreements and difficulties in their relationship. Also, couples considering splitting up or separating should consider couples counseling before making any serious decisions.
How long does it take to get into couples counseling?
Your first session will be a consultation to learn more about the situation and what you both hope to get out of counseling. This is a chance for you both to meet the counselor and hopefully develop a good rapport with them before starting regular sessions, which typically last an hour or an hour and a half each time.
Ideally, couples should begin working on their issues from this point forward to slowly resolve any underlying problems for them to feel happier once their counseling has ended.
What type of improvement can I expect after completing couples counseling?
Couples who have been able to work together successfully during counseling usually feel more connected and satisfied with their marriage when it is all said and done. They have grown emotionally and can now view their relationship more objectively and maybe even make better decisions to strengthen the marriage.
What is an important aspect of couples counseling?
Couples learn to work as a team with the counselor during their sessions instead of viewing them as another person who happens to be advising from the outside looking in. This helps create a safe space for both partners to communicate openly about issues holding them back from being completely happy together.
How does conflict affect a couple’s relationship?
Conflict is normal and inevitable within any relationship. Still, if it becomes too much or occurs too often, then one or both may begin to feel unhappy, resentful, frustrated, or about their partner or marriage overall.
Why do people need to create boundaries with their partners?
Boundaries will help you both know when to stop talking about certain things for them not to escalate.
They are your boundaries so whatever you allow is what your partner can handle regarding how much they can push before you tell them that it’s enough for now.
What type of questions should I expect my counselor to ask?
Your counselor may ask you what the underlying issue is behind your problems, along with other questions that help identify if there could be some deeper issues at hand. They want to get a strong sense of what has been going on since couples often brush over essential details, trying to make themselves look better within the marriage.
Is there anything I need to do to prepare before counseling starts?
An open mind, a willingness to make significant changes in your life for the better, and an understanding that there are no quick fixes, so you have to be patient with yourself while working towards whatever goal you’d like counseling to help you accomplish.
Is it okay if I go alone, or do I need my spouse to attend with me?
It is not necessarily required for your partner to come, but it would be best if both of you were willing to go together, mainly since this is meant to strengthen your marriage.
What are some signs that indicate whether couples should seek outside help or not?
Some warning signals that might indicate that you both need help would be:
- Either or both of you are considering separating
- Sleeping in separate rooms
- Having no sexual relations with each other
- Partner’s not attending essential family functions
- The couple has grown distant emotionally to the point where they seem like roommates rather than spouses.
How can I begin to change my negative thoughts about my marriage?
Your counselor will work on this with you, but one way is by keeping a daily journal that you come back to at the beginning of each session to see what has changed since their last visit.
This helps them get an idea of how much progress is being made over time which is always encouraging for the person to see with their own eyes.
What if we try and fail at improving our marriage?
It’s not uncommon for any couple to realize that there are still some underlying issues around communication or their relationship in general that need to be worked out before making progress.
Even if you don’t feel like improving your marriage is possible, it never hurts to try and see where the journey takes you both if just because it may open your eyes to what matters most.
How long does therapy last? How many sessions does couples counseling usually last for?
It lasts until the couple feels that they have resolved the issues in their marriage. Sometimes it takes more than one session, and sometimes there are techniques or exercises to work at home between sessions.
Most couples counseling sessions range somewhere between the length of six months up to one year, depending on how many issues you both would like resolved or improved upon.
The number of sessions varies depending on the type of counseling you are receiving. Individual, couples, or family therapy sessions can range anywhere from weekly to once a month, depending on what each person in the relationship is interested in exploring further.
How is couples counseling different than individual therapy?
Individual therapy focuses on helping one person identify and work through their issues. In contrast, couples counseling helps the couple learn how to better communicate with each other most effectively to strengthen their relationship as a whole.
In individual therapy, problems are dissected from a single perspective, wherein couples counsel both partners to get down to the root of what could be causing them problems.
How do I make sure my counselor has experience with my specific issues?
Your therapist should tell you what their particular area of expertise is, and if they offer couples counseling, that’s a good indicator.
All therapists specialize in something, and it doesn’t hurt to ask what exactly makes them the right fit for your situation.
What if we’re not married but live together and have problems?
Just because you aren’t married does not mean it’s okay to settle for a less-than-perfect relationship.
This is sometimes why couples wait too long before deciding whether or not they should seek out help from a professional.
It doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, or what stage of life you’re in; everyone can benefit from having someone objective listening to them as they work through their issues and provide the tools they need to move forward with the next step.
Couples therapy allows each person to gain perspective on their partner, enabling them to be more empathic and understand their spouse’s point.
What do we need to keep in mind as we go through couple’s therapy?
It takes courage, patience, determination, and commitment from both sides, as well as a willingness to try putting yourself out there even when it feels scary or vulnerable. However, those are all the traits necessary for any successful relationship so have faith in your effort because trust me, it will be worth it in the end!
Couples counseling can teach you how to work with your spouse more collaboratively rather than competitively.
One of the most important things for a marriage is to stay connected with your partner. This can be not easy when you are busy taking care of kids, working long hours, or just getting caught up in everyday life. It’s not always easy to maintain that connection, and it may seem like there has been some distance growing between you two over time without realizing it. When this happens, couples need help to reconnect emotionally, which is why all married couples should consider seeing a counselor at least once every year.
If you are having problems in your marriage or you could see room to improve communication with your spouse, couples counseling may help. A relationship counselor can offer the insight, unbiased guidance, and support needed for your marriage to thrive once again.
Couples counseling has been proven to lead to happier marriages for couples who need guidance on communicating or want someone impartial in telling them what’s best for their relationships. It’s never too late!
Comment below now and let us know why couples therapy might be right for you!
Joanna Perez is a Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Practitioner, a passionate blogger, writer, traveler, wife, and mother of one boy. Joanna loves to share her thoughts on parenting, health, wellness, and lifestyle.
She is a Certified Women Empowerment Life Coach and has done courses on Life Mastery, Happiness, Health, and Success. She also has studied Neuroscience for Parents and took the Skilled Helper Training Course.
She believes in helping people become the best version of themselves and strives to provide quality informative and inspiring content. She loves animals, especially her two cats, and can often be found taking photos of them as they pose for the camera.