Marriage Counseling … Does it Work?
Does marriage counseling work? To be blunt, sometimes “yes” and sometimes “no.” What are some of the considerations that are more likely to lead to success rather than failure? The following are food for thought:
- Probably first and foremost, for success of any kind, both parties must recognize the need for marriage counseling and be willing to give it at least a try.
- Have an open mind. That is trying not to go to counseling thinking you are all right and the other person in all wrong. It is essential to be willing to at least listen to, not just hear, what the other person is saying. Try to wear the other person’s moccasins as he or she is sharing as often issues are seen and felt quite different from the other person’s perspective.
- Think through and write down issues that concern you the most regarding your marriage. It is helpful to number the concerns in order of importance.If possible, this should be done A counselor will not tell you how to solve your problems but help you to find ways to try to do so.
- Try to make the sessions at a time when either party is not tired or overly stressed. For example, having a session right after work and before dinner would not be a good time. When a person is tired and hungry, they are usually not in a mood for communication and compromise.
- Even if there is clear evidence of marital decay such as adultery, don’t bad mouth the other party. Keep facts, facts. Anger, hurt, and other strong emotions can be expressed in suitable words to denote dissatisfaction without damning someone.
- With the help of the counselor, come up with ideas to try to resolve issues. For example, if one party feels after a full days work away from home, he or she does “all the housework” while the other just “sits around watching TV” a division of chores could be tried. Willingness to cooperate with each other will be vital to the success of marriage counseling.
- Again, with the help of the counselor, plan some mutually enjoyable activity together such as a date night. Be willing to try new ideas, each taking into consideration the likes and dislikes of the other. Having fun together is an essential part of a healthy marriage.
- Have realistic expectations as to the time it will take to see improvement as well as the amount of improvement. As with any change, it takes time and determination, and sometimes the daily grind will interfere and slow down progress.
- Keep positive in viewing your marriage as savable. If both persons genuinely desire to stay married to each other the likelihood of that happening is significantly increase.
- Counselors are there to help each party identify the Issues each feel are positive and negative in regards to each other and their marriage and to help the couple identify ways to compromise and or accept situations which seem to be destroying their marriage. Each must be willing to give as well as take. For example, one party might be willing to smoke outside in exchange for the other party wearing headphones while listening to loud sports events.
Marriage counseling can and does work, work being the keyword. When a couple really wants their marriage to be repaired, is willing to take the time to improve communication, to listen to each other, will look for ways to compromise as well as correct areas of major concern, and tries again to capture some of the fun and romance they once knew, it is most likely marriage counseling will succeed.