Marriage counseling can help couples deal with any number of relationship issues and challenges, whether it’s communicating better or working through financial problems.
But when you hear the term marriage counseling, what do you picture? Some of the most common questions asked about marriage counseling work include.
What does a marriage counseling consist of?
A good marriage counselor should get to know you and your partner as individuals, understand your specific relationship history, and focus on encouraging good communication.
A lot can go wrong in a relationship—even if it looks great from an outsider’s perspective—so it’s important to keep talking.
The more you talk, the better understanding you’ll have about each other, what works for your relationship (and what doesn’t), and how to improve yourself as an individual.
If communication is lacking or one party feels unheard, try writing things down instead of having it out.
Writing things down allows us to think through our feelings clearly before acting on them; which leads to less stress and improved relationships!
If you’re not sure what to talk about, consider asking each other how your day was. What went well? What didn’t go well and why?
How can you make tomorrow better than today (for both of you)? This kind of conversation goes beyond how was your day small talk.
You’ll learn more about what motivates each other, what triggers stress or anxiety and get important feedback on how to be a better partner in your relationship.
It also shows that you care about one another as individuals instead of treating them like an extension of yourself. And if things are going badly, try seeing a marriage counselor!
It is important to note that for some people, their anger may be part of other symptoms such as depression or anxiety.
In these cases, you should be referred to someone who can help treat your particular symptoms. Otherwise, those experiencing extreme anger should seek professional help from a therapist or counselor who specializes in anger management.
Through sessions designed specifically for couples, counselors can help couples with issues ranging from conflicts over money and parenting to infidelity and communication breakdowns.
It’s also possible to work with an individual counselor during your marriage counseling session.
An anger management counselor will help you figure out what exactly is causing your extreme emotions and how to deal with them more effectively.
When you’re in therapy, you’ll learn more effective ways to channel your anger and manage negative emotions.
For instance, if you tend to lash out at other people when angry, an anger management therapist can teach you other healthier ways to cope with frustration and prevent yourself from saying or doing something hurtful.
Communication with Future Self
Talk to your future self as if you were that person and have a conversation. Pretend you’ve had some kind of accident or illness and are now five years older.
You’ve had time to reflect on how things went, how your dreams changed, or what worked and didn’t work in your life.
Think about what advice you would give yourself when you are living with the benefits (and burdens) of hindsight.
Jot down as much as you can, knowing that not all of it will be useful. But even if only one point sticks with you, it’s worth it.
The practice also helps you plan for your future self because you get a sense of what changes you need to make now to prepare for that future.
For example, if you know that you’ll be stressed about finances when your kids hit college, start saving now so that those savings can grow over time. Look for ways to start small and establish good habits.
One often overlooked aspect of successful marriage counseling is setting boundaries with your counselor.
Although they can be very helpful in supporting you and your partner through difficult times, counselors are not trained to fix problems for you; their goal is to help you learn how to fix them yourself.
So if your spouse starts texting during sessions, let your counselor know immediately (you may have addressed it in previous sessions, but if not let him or her know now).
If at any point you find that you’re being asked to do something that makes you uncomfortable, speak up as soon as possible!
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Dealing with Guilt
Your marriage counseling is important to both you and your spouse. If you feel guilty about going, be mindful that you’re only human and doing what’s best for your family.
It could mean saving your relationship. Just make sure you communicate with your partner ahead of time; if they suspect something’s up, they may go on high alert while you try to work through it.
Feelings of guilt can also come from not being able to attend in person but needlessly missing out on sessions online or over Skype.
To overcome these feelings, be proactive: Let your therapist know about any scheduling conflicts upfront so he or she can find other ways for you to participate during sessions.
The first step in any successful marriage counseling is to forgive. When couples come in, their typical mode attacks, so our first job is to stop them from attacking each other and set them up for success by helping them identify what they are angry about.
Once we’ve helped couples learn how to communicate with one another productively, we can help them work through each issue together and forgive one another.
If you’re looking for a way forward after an affair or an argument that’s left you feeling wounded, consider trying marriage counseling today.
Respect & Honesty
Respect and honesty are not synonymous with self-censorship or silence. You can still respect your partner’s feelings while disagreeing or saying what you don’t like.
It may feel awkward to tell your partner what’s bothering you—and it will probably hurt their feelings at first—but as time goes on, it becomes easier for both parties involved.
Respecting your partner involves more than just keeping quiet when things bother you; according to Julie de Azevedo Hanks, couples counselor and author of The Relationship Cure, everyone should aim to demonstrate caring actions by doing things that express love and respect.
In other words, rather than simply saying that you care about your relationship, show it by doing thoughtful things for one another.
Closeness & Romance
This stage is key to any successful relationship, so one of your main goals in marriage counseling should be to develop closeness and romance.
Communication between spouses should be open, positive, and engaging. Couples should seek out new and creative ways to show affection for each other, including thoughtful thank you notes written for random acts of kindness, spontaneous romantic gestures or even making time for regular date nights where you both wear your best clothes, eat at an expensive restaurant and relive some of those early romance days!
Remember that couples who spend as little as five minutes a day sharing compliments are happier than couples who don’t share small acts of gratitude or love.
To keep things sexy over time, try role-playing scenarios like how he would seduce you after you’ve been apart for months.