The Truth About Marriage Counseling

Most couples don’t seek out counseling when they hit a few “bumps” in the road. They often get help once their spouse tells them, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you”. Maybe this is the case in your marriage and now you’re afraid your marriage is heading for divorce. Your first instinct might be to reach for the yellow pages, or search on the internet for marriage counselors in your area.

I’ve got to tell you…I get questions everyday from individuals who managed to convince their spouse to see a counselor. They think they’re doing the right thing for their marriage, but instead of their spouse coming back to them with open arms, they end up swearing to never go back there after just one or two sessions, claiming that it “didn’t work”.

Of all the complaints I’ve heard about marriage counseling, these are the top three objections I hear most often:

1) The first few sessions are a waste of time and money.

Couples tell me it took weeks for their counselor to get an idea of what was at the core of their struggles as a couple. They went into marriage counseling hoping for a sense of IMMEDIATE relief, not a series of long, drawn out sessions that seemed to be focused on placing blame and establishing who was at fault in the relationship.

2) The counselor’s requests are unreasonable and too difficult.

Recently, I spoke with a woman who did not want to see a counselor, but reluctantly agreed to participate in the first few sessions with her husband. She quit after a few sessions because she believed the marriage counselor was asking her to do things she considered as “unreasonable”.

For instance, one task she was instructed to do every day was smile at her husband at least once a day. It seemed very strange to her that a professional would ignore her massive resentment towards her husband, and ask her to artificially smile anyway. She confirmed to me that she did not WANT to smile at her husband! And even if she COULD bring herself to do something like this, she was convinced that it was in no way a step forward in helping them save their marriage. She simply felt it was too little too late.

3) The sessions are dragged out and opened-ended.

So many couples lamented to me that marriage counseling was frustrating at best and intensified their anger at worst. Because of its open-ended lack of a destination or plan, couples go to see a professional and want to see immediate results, but marriage counselors are not structured for immediate results or even immediate relief. Their focus is on the process and the value of multiple visits which may or may not result in any improvement.

So what does this mean for you?

If you have not experienced marriage counseling, it means you should begin to explore more options than the conventional office visit route. Do your research and get all the facts on marriage counseling before you devote your time and energy into something with such a history of poor results.

The following web page will provide you with a list of criteria to consider before you decide on marriage counseling. Whether you choose traditional counseling or an alternative to marriage counseling, my advice is this: don’t give up on your marriage just yet.