You know that you need marriage counseling when the fighting continues with no resolution. When one or both partners criticize, or one or both parties withdraw into silence, thus stopping the conversation.
Marriage counseling is also indicated when there is lying or suspected lying in the marriage. The lying may focus around infidelity or another version of secrecy.
Marriage counseling is needed when one spouse cannot get heard by the other. One partner makes requests that the other one ignores.
If you think you need marriage counseling that is probably a good indication that you do.
What Should I Expect From Marriage Counseling?
When you seek someone to help with your marriage you are buying a value system from whomever you select. People typically call for help with the symptom of the problem. They think they call with the problem. The idea is to come to understand in the therapy what the REAL problem is. Then that can be addressed.
For example, a couple calls because the husband is distant and won’t talk to her. She wants more closeness but he is gone a great deal. He reluctantly agrees to come in with her. We find that actually he is having an affair. His distance hides the secret. As the truth comes to light the marriage can get better once the truth is out and the husband begins to deal with his wife.
Marriage counseling is about helping people by teaching them concrete tools for talking together and negotiating differences.
Marital therapy is not neutral nor does it take sides. Since there is no real neutrality, the therapist voices opinions and provides direction in problem solving. As long as the therapist is clear, the clients are free to choose what to follow and what to put aside.
The whole affair of couples counseling is about problem solving. “Life”, said Paul Watzlawick , “is just one problem after another. It is important to not make it the same problem.”
What is The Average Length of Marriage Counseling?
The average length of marriage counseling varies with the individual couple. Since the idea is to learn new skills, some people are better students than others. Some people come with excess baggage and anxiety. This takes longer in order to calm down the anxiety and work through emotional blocks that keep people from doing what is sensible. Other people come in and take notes and go home to follow through on whatever the therapy agreed upon plan is. These people sail through. What is popular about problem solving is that it is concrete and behavioral. People know what they are working on and thus know when their goals are accomplished.
How Effective Is Marriage Counseling?
As I just explained to a very nice fellow who asked me the same thing, in my opinion, the effectiveness of ANYTHING starts with who you see. Doctors, lawyers, balloon makers, how effectively you soar depends on who teaches the skills to start. Then it becomes a matter of how well you follow through with learning what is important to learn to make things better. Like anything else, if you don’t take the medicine, you can’t get better.
Does Marriage Counseling Work After Infidelity?
Definitely, YES! However, the lying has to stop. The truth must be told. The sincere apology must be made as repetitively as the injured partner wants to hear it and last, the injured spouse needs to come to understand how the partner who strayed from the marriage arrived at such a decision .Infidelity is not the fault of the marriage but everyone need to change to make things better. Many people go on to have better marriages than before the infidelity when they confront what needs to change, do so, and are patient to rebuild the trust by getting caught in the truth.
When Does Marriage Counseling Not Work?
Marriage counseling does NOT work when the therapist provides no direction or inaccurate direction to repair the marriage. Also, even the BEST marriage counseling fails when people don’t take good advice.
For example, someone told to stop lying who continues to do so.
Sometimes people are too anxious to think clearly enough to interrupt their faulty patterns. It may be that a touch of medication is needed or some neurofeedback in order to get the brain under better control so that the therapy advice can be taken. Highly anxious people may lack behavioral control as some highly depressed individuals may lack enough energy to make change. Again, medication and/or neurofeedback may be needed to help the therapy along.