12 Minutes

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Marriage isn’t as easy as couples think it is, even before, during, and after the wedding ceremony. It necessitates dedication and perseverance. It is common for newlyweds to discover that they aren’t as compatible as they thought they were after the honeymoon time. Alternatively, they meet issues that they never expected to have to deal with. The pair may not be able to maintain their relationship because of other commitments, such as work and raising children. In the face of these challenges, it may be wise to seek the help of a marriage counselor in order to strengthen or perhaps save the marriage.

Roughly half of all married couples split and 1 in every 5 marriages experiences difficulties at some point. A spouse seeks counseling for a variety of reasons, including issues with affection, communication, disputes, and the dread of divorce. Partners in a marriage who are unhappy in their marriage can seek help from a variety of sources, including online courses, self-improvement books, retreats, workshops, and marriage counseling.

Before attempting to comprehend a relationship between persons, it is necessary to realize and admit that each individual, including the counselor, has a distinct personality, perspective, set of values, and background. Different and unexamined value systems may be adhered to by members of the relationship. In the process of counseling and psychotherapy, societal and institutional elements (such as socioeconomic, spiritual, cultural, and other communal factors) that form a woman’s nature and behavior are considered. One of the key tenets of relationship counseling is that it is inherently desirable for all parties to engage with each other and with society at large with the least amount of conflict possible. The ability of a marriage to resolve disputes appears to be a predictor of divorce rates.

At a certain point, most partnerships will become stressed, resulting in a failure to work effectively and the development of self-reinforcing, maladaptive habits. “Negative interaction cycles” is a term used to describe these phenomena. Unsure relationship, pride, arrogance, envy, wrath, selfishness, poor understanding/communication or issue solving, poor health, the undesired role of intermediaries, and so on are all possible causes.

Differences in conditions like financial status, physical condition, and the impact of other relatives can have a significant impact on spouses’ behavior, emotions, and actions.

It’s usually the result of a combination of two or more circumstances, and it’s not always just one of the people involved who display such characteristics. Relational effects are mutual: each individual engaged contributes to the creation and management of difficulties.

Reorienting people’s perceptions and sentiments – how they look at or respond to things and how they feel about them – could be a realistic solution to the problem and a way to get these relationships back on track. A usually overlooked base map of the partnership, also known as a love map by John Gottman, contains perspectives of and emotional reactions to it. These can be investigated in a group setting and discussed openly. The essential principles they represent can then be comprehended and implemented, or adjusted as necessary. This indicates that each person bears equal responsibility for becoming aware of the problem when it emerges, for becoming conscious of their own involvement in the situation, and for making some fundamental mental and emotional changes.

The next phase is to make deliberate, structural changes to interpersonal interactions and assess their effectiveness over time.

Indeed, “typically for those close personal relations, there is a certain degree in ‘interdependence’ – which means that the partners are alternately mutually dependent on each other. As a special aspect of such relations, something contradictory is put outside: the need for intimacy and for autonomy.”

The mutual fulfillment of these two demands, intimacy, and autonomy, leads to simultaneous stability and satisfaction in the partnership. However, it is dependent on the individual evolving responsibilities of each partner at each stage of life and adulthood.

In the early 1900s, relationship counseling, initially known as marriage counseling, was in its beginnings in the United States. Marriage counselors educated their clients about the joys and challenges of family life. Couples rarely went to counseling jointly, though this was not unheard of.

Family therapy and the rise in rates of divorce in the late 1960s and mid-1970s revolutionized marriage counseling. Marriage counseling was most commonly done with both individuals present during this time period. There are several factors that impact modern marriage counseling, including a holistic approach to treating the family system as well as its individual individuals. Family therapy pioneers, such as Murray Bowen and Virginia Satir, were instrumental in the development of this technique.

Marriage counseling is now offered to people in various types of relationships, whether they are married or not. Most of the time, a marriage counselor will deal with both Marriages, although this isn’t always the case. Personal behaviors, attitudes, and/or growth opportunities may be the focus of counseling for marriage.

A marriage counselor’s expertise and the challenges the couple is dealing with can determine the methods and approaches utilized in marriage therapy. Marriage therapy uses a wide range of treatments, including those outlined here.

  • Imago relationship therapy investigates the root causes of unpleasant feelings or actions and aims to re-establish connections between partners.
  • Relationships can be strengthened and rekindled through emotional-focused therapy.
  • Internal Family Systems psychotherapy aims to help couples better understand one another their family dynamics.
  • Relationships are strengthened using the Gottman Method.
  • As a couple’s relationship progresses, it is important to focus on their personal development and growth.
  • Positive psychology encourages couples to focus on their strengths and live in the now.
  • Narrative therapy examines the past from a variety of perspectives, allowing couples to acquire a better understanding of how they might improve their relationship.
  • Individual therapy can be used as a prelude to marriage therapy. If the other partner refuses to attend marriage counseling, this may be a treatment option for one of the partners.

Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) aims to deal with couples in a more productive manner. It emphasizes the importance of a person’s emotional well-being in a marriage and helps to cultivate emotional sensitivity, empathy, and tolerance amongst partners. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) help strengthen the emotional attachment between partners and establish a more solid connection in marriage therapy.

There has been a lot of research done on the Gottman Method over the years. An in-depth assessment is conducted at the outset of treatment, which is used to guide marriage therapy’s trajectory. Gottman Method focuses on three aspects of couples’ relationships: companionship, conflict management, and the development of a shared sense of purpose.

During marriage counseling, the therapist will plan a combined session and observe the two parties to discover if there are any inconsistencies in the relationship or marriage. When disagreements arise, having a third party present might help the couple stay cool and pay heed to what the other partner is feeling.  The therapist will assist in smoothing out the relationship by resolving issues that affect both parties. The counselor will assist in the development of marital problem-solving strategies. It may be difficult at first to open up to the counselor about concerns, and these sessions may not always result in dialogue – but having the therapist as a mediator allows the couple to cope with the upheaval while also addressing a vital topic.

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If both partners undergo marriage therapy and one of them has an addiction or a mental illness, the therapist may collaborate with a health care practitioner to create a treatment plan that addresses the behavior. Counseling for couples tends to be a one-shot deal most of the time.  A couple may only require a few sessions to resolve an ongoing problem. Depending on their situation, some people may require months of therapy. Because the couple has made significant progress and can respond to the challenges on their own, the time of the sessions may be reduced. If the therapist discovers that one of the partners requires therapy for mental health or addiction difficulties during the sessions, that partner may begin to have solo sessions. This type of therapy can assist two individuals in identifying their shared issues and needs in order to establish common ground and a means to make their marriage work.

The most difficult step is when both partners decide to go to treatment and make a commitment to it. Marriage counseling can be useful in a challenging relationship and can help two people understand each other so that they can deal with difficulties effectively when they arise. To assure that joining a session is never an issue, find a time that suits the other partner. Some healthcare plans will pay the expense of marriage counseling.

Couples counseling is essential in dealing with relationship issues in the following aspects:

  • Counseling allows couples to take a break from their hectic schedules and focus solely on themselves.
  • They operate as a sort of mediator between the spouses, helping them communicate effectively. There are many couples that are determined to improve their relationship but don’t know where or what they should start.
  • It is possible for a counselor to assist in analyzing the behavioral patterns of the spouses and identifying those that cause conflict. In order to change these tendencies, the counselor and the couple can work together.
  • One of the most vital components of any marriage is the capacity to communicate effectively, but it is typical for couples to come to a deadlock and lose the ability to communicate their feelings and wants.
  • For instance, counseling can help the couple eliminate undesirable habits such as continuously interrupting the other spouse or speaking too much and not allowing the other partner a chance to react. Counseling can help the couple improve their communication As an additional benefit, counseling can be a place where the couple can finally tackle the underlying issues that are producing problems in their marriage.

Another significant benefit of marriage counseling is that it can assist in the development of a stronger relationship.

  • To provide each partner a more accurate idea of who the other expects him or her to be rather than what the other wants them to be. As a general rule, this can go a great way toward clearing up confusion and preventing misinterpretation. The ability to discover common ground in a marriage is greatly improved if both partners are aware of and appreciate each other’s wishes and intentions.
  • In addition, marriage counseling provides couples with a mechanism to hold each other responsible. Only if these new skills are put into practice and replaced by old, unhealthy ones, would they be beneficial. Counselors frequently assign homework to couples in order to help them develop long-lasting habits.

Marriage counseling has been shown to have a significant favorable impact on relationships, according to research. After five years of therapy, almost 48 percent of couples report progress or full recovery in their marital happiness, according to a study. Over the course of the study, 38 percent of couples saw their relationship deteriorate, while 14 percent saw no change.

Both partners need to be fully dedicated to their relationship’s improvement and to the treatment plan in order for it to be most effective in marriage therapy. A violent or abusive relationship or a spouse who refuses to participate in treatment reduces the effectiveness of this strategy. When only one person in a relationship expects the other to improve, marriage counseling is less effective. If each person in the partnership is willing to examine their own thoughts and behaviors, marriage counseling is more likely to be successful.

Behavioral couples therapy is a well-studied technique of marriage counseling. It’s a tried-and-true method for resolving relationship issues. Integrative behavioral couples therapy is the modern name for this type of therapy. Integrative behavioral couples therapy looks to be beneficial for 69 percent of couples in treatment, compared to 50-60 percent for the standard paradigm. The marital satisfaction of the 134 couples who had engaged in either integrated behavioral couples therapy or conventional marriage therapy was found to be 14 percent unchanged, 38 percent worsened, and 48 percent recovered or improved entirely after a 5-year follow-up.

According to a Cochrane database study published in 2018, there is no evidence that marriage counseling is more or less helpful than solo therapy for treating depression.

A psychologist, medical social workers, counseling psychiatrists, general practitioners, spiritual counselors, marital and family counselors, and psychiatric nurses are all examples of licensed marriage therapists. A relationship counselor’s or couples counselor’s job is to observe and listen, appreciate, comprehend, and help the people involved work better together.

A counselor’s key principles are as follows:

  • Provide a private conversation that normalizes feelings.
  • To make it possible for each person to be heard as well as to hear oneself
  • Provide an impartial mirror to highlight the relationship’s challenges as well as the possibility and path for development.
  • Enable the partnership to take charge of its own fate and make important decisions for itself.
  • Provide accurate and timely information.
  • Changes the way you think about the connection
  • Strengthen your communication skills.
  • Establish specific objectives and goals.

In addition to the aforementioned, a marriage therapist’s essential beliefs include:

  • The goal is to recognize the negative or neutral cycle as a trend.
  • To figure out where the reactionary emotions that fuel the pattern come from.
  • To reorganize and expand the marriage or relationship’s fundamental emotional responses.
  • To aid in the transition of partners’ interactions into new patterns.
  • To infuse the partnership with new and favorably connecting emotional experiences.
  • To encourage a strong bond between spouses.
  • To aid in the preservation of intimacy.

Before booking a marriage therapy appointment, assess whether the marriage counselor is a good match for both partners. When looking for a marriage counselor, it is crucial to look for one who:

  • Has completed the necessary training to provide marriage therapy services.
  • Can handle the marriage’s specific problems
  • The therapist collaborates with the couple to devise a treatment plan.
  • Both spouses are treated with respect and empathy.
  • Without taking sides
  • A partnership that does not permit one person to speak on behalf of another
  • Control of each session is maintained
  • Is it simple to get to?
  • Encourages the couple to indicate their level of satisfaction with the services provided early on.
  • Or accepts insurance policies with reasonable costs.

Licensed Marital and family therapists (LMFTs) are often sought out by couples in need of relationship counseling. An LMFT is certified and licensed by the state and is often accredited by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).

It can be daunting to propose marriage counseling to your partner, especially if you do not know how they will respond. The most essential thing is, to be honest, and transparent with your partner, explaining your motivations openly. Don’t point the finger at them; instead, express your affection for them and your desire to improve your connection. Many people believe that going to a marital counselor is exclusively for fixing a broken marriage, but you may explain that it can also be utilized as a preventative step. Marriage counseling can provide you with useful tools to help you keep your marriage strong in the long run.

Couples who don’t have the time or energy to devote to in-person therapy, who find the expenses of counseling exorbitant, or who are hesitant to pursue more traditional therapy would benefit greatly from online marriage therapy. Couples who frequently travel, spend extra shifts, or have young kids with few options for childcare will benefit from online marriage counseling.

Not only is online therapy equally as beneficial as in-person therapy — all marriage counselors, for example, are licensed and experienced therapists — but it can also be a great option for someone who is hesitant to go to treatment or has never gone to therapy before. Texting, voice, and video messaging are all used in online therapy, and many people prefer to connect in writing rather than in person. Allowing them an additional opportunity to answer their partner’s or psychologist’s messages may be beneficial for them.

Consultation with a skilled counselor, therapist, or another mental health professional may be good if you and your partner are having relationship problems or want to learn how to interact more physically and emotionally. For further information or to schedule an appointment with a qualified counselor, please contact us.