“Timing is an essential element in whether marriage counseling works. Unfortunately, most couples wait much too long to reach out for help repairing their marriage. According to relationship and marriage expert Dr. John Gottman, couples wait an average of six years of being unhappy before getting help. Think about this statistic for a few minutes. Couples have six years to build up resentment before they begin the important work of learning to resolve differences in effective ways.” -Terry Gaspard, MSW, LICSW – https://www.gottman.com/blog/timing-is-everything-when-it-comes-to-marriage-counseling/
Who goes to marriage / couples counseling?
Marriage counseling or couples counseling usually takes place when a couple meets with a counselor due to having a relationship stressor that they cannot solve on their own, such as, arguments, fighting, inability to communicate , parenting disagreements, financial concerns, extended family disagreements, sexual intimacy concerns, infidelity, and final efforts to rectify the relationship before filing for divorce. Also, some couples go to counseling to find ways to improve their marriage although they may not be having problems with their relationship.
Do both members in the marriage have to attend couples counseling?
Sometimes marriage counseling can mean that only one of the spouses are attending the session at a time with the focus being on the marriage and how that individual spouse can improve their role within the marriage unit. Most of the time, couples will come to the session together. Domestic violence or abuse in the relationship may be other reasons that couples do not attend counseling together for couples counseling.
What does a couples counselor do during sessions?
During couples counseling, the counselor is going to be an educator, neutral mediator, coach, and teammate. The couples counselor strongly desires the marriage to improve and does not normally advocate for divorce, except in extreme cases, possibly depending on spirituality. The couples counselor attempts to provide fair interaction as well as honest and gentle correction. The couples counselor will help the couple learn to communicate appropriately, learn good boundaries and build positive connection. The couples counselor will provide education of a variety of topics depending on the needs of the couple.
Expectations for the couple?
As with individual counseling, couples counseling expects that the couple provide detailed, honest information about their feelings, experiences and lives. The couple is solely responsible for their marriage, but must understand their roles in the marriage. For couples counseling to be successful, the couple will need to participate, complete homework assignments and read other material to help build and grow their knowledge of how to improve their relationship with their spouse.
The couple is expected to be punctual to appointments (being on time demonstrates that a person truly respects the process and cares about their relationship). Couples also need to be respectful of each other and the counselor so that they get the most out of their therapy. Couples are expected to focus on their individual responsibilities, including what they say, feel, think, believe and do. Lastly, couples are expected to demonstrate growth in the skill of listening.
Final thoughts about marriage counseling…
As the saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day.” A thriving and divorce proof marriage will take time to build. With hard work and practice, a couple can overcome even the most challenging trials and have a very bright future.
It is imperative that a couple becomes self-less. Remember, life, and your relationship, is not about you. It never was about you. Lastly, it never will be about you. Marriage is about US, as a couple. I lay this out bluntly, because in order for you to love someone else, you have to get over yourself and see others outside of yourself.
Topics to Explore in Marriage
Extended Family Impact
Brandon Coussens, LMFT
- Address3540 Wheeler Rd., Ste. 109
Augusta, GA 30909
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