Who needs counseling? Short answer: everybody.
Marriages of all kinds can stand to benefit from good counseling, but there are a few important things to watch out for…
To make the most out of each and every counseling session (or if you’re on the fence about going in the first place), these five facts can make all the difference:
1. It Can Help Even If You Don’t Both Go
The info and insight provided by a marriage counselor is beneficial even if you go by yourself. It certainly can’t hurt.
Look, think of your marriage like a dance – the common saying is that it “takes two to tango,” but is that really true?
If you learn some new moves, a whole new set of dance steps, the dance itself is bound to change. Even if your spouse is doing the old steps, they’ll start to follow your lead.
It is possible to save your marriage even if you're the only one working on it.
2. The Average Success Rate Is Only 25%
It might come as a surprise that only one in four couples stay married after counseling…
Counseling fails to save marriages for a few different reasons:
• The therapist is no good. Plenty of people call themselves marriage counselors, but don’t really know what they’re doing – or have proper training. More on this below…
• One member of the couple wasn’t committed to saving the marriage. If one person never intends to stay married in the first place, they’ll just go through the motions without changing their attitude or behavior.
• The couple went too late. The longer you wait, the harder it is to reconnect. You may have settled well into habits of fighting, forgetting what the original problems even are. The longer the relationship is filled with trouble, the more appealing it might seem to just scrap the whole thing. But you don't have to! It is possible to stop the divorce.
• One person is secretly cheating. Most marriages can be healed after infidelity but if the person cheating has not come clean, the healing can not begin. It's extremely difficult to reconnect when there's a hidden person in between the two of you. However, there are signs you can look out if you suspect your husband or wife is cheating.
The success rate of counseling may be pretty low, but as you can see, the “failure factors” can be overcome.
Finding a good counselor is key, but it’s only the first step. If you are fully invested in getting your marriage back on track, don’t waste any more time!
3. There’s A Ton You Don’t Know
Some (stubborn) couples like to think that they can simply fix the problems on their own…
And still other couples are too embarrassed to admit faults or reach out for help.
In reality, though, there’s a TON of information about relationships, about how human beings interact, and how to make your marriage work better that, well, most people just don’t know!
Maintaining a happy marriage is a skill that can be learned, but developing it can take some expert guidance.
There’s nothing wrong with not knowing things… And the only way to learn is to admit you need help, open your mind, and absorb the knowledge and wisdom available to you.
4. Counseling Can Actually End Your Marriage
As mentioned above, a bad counselor can be terrible for your marriage. If someone doesn’t know what they’re talking about, the advice they provide can wind up doing far more harm than no counseling at all.
An unqualified therapist may have you focusing on your complaints, which usually just leads to further resentment.
Additionally, if they aren’t providing couples with the proper tools, it can make things feel even bleaker – simply because the advice isn’t working.
Worst of all, a bad counselor may even suggest that a couple split up! If they can’t figure out how to fix the problems, their last ditch effort is to recommend a divorce…
Be sure to choose a therapist very carefully.
5. Marriage Counseling Is For Happy Couples Too
Think about it:
• Great musicians practice daily
• People in great shape work out often
• Successful business people constantly pursue new opportunities
So, what makes a marriage any different?
Most people walk down the aisle, sign the paperwork, and never think to work on their marriage until things start going bad.
Again, maintaining a happy marriage is a skill that can be learned and developed – and marriage counselors are a tremendous resource for doing just that.
It doesn’t have to be all about solving problems. Counseling sessions can be geared toward new habits and practices to make an already great marriage even better!
We can (and should) be working on our marriages all the time. Counseling gets a bad reputation as something reserved for relationships on the rocks…
But in reality, the expertise of a good marriage counselor can benefit nearly any relationship, as long as the people involved are receptive to the information.
Armed with this knowledge, you and your spouse can make the best of marriage counseling.
You can avoid some of the pitfalls (including selecting a subpar counselor) and go into it with an open mind. The whole point is to gain new information, to grow, and to make your marriage the best it can possibly be!
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