Marriage Counseling Can Be Daunting
To some people, it feels like a last-ditch effort to save their relationship, while others may see it as a necessary part of working through being together. Regardless of the way you view marriage counseling, you want it to be as effective as possible. Fortunately, there are some simple tips for getting the most out of every session.
1. Acknowledge the Problem(s)
One of the worst things people can do during a marriage counseling session is deny there is an issue or shift the blame to the other party. Recognize there are likely issues that involve both of you, and seek help for your part. Even if you don’t see the issue as your problem and your partner does, it’s still your problem because it is a problem in your marriage. You both must deal with it accordingly.
2. Acknowledge Your Contribution
It can be a bitter pill to swallow, but you need to know how to recognize when you are contributing to the issue. Marriage problems are very rarely one-sided, which means each party has to take responsibility for how their actions and attitude drive the conflict. As the old expression goes, “it takes two to tango.”
3. Don’t Be Accusatory
Even if you truly believe every issue is entirely your partner’s fault, you shouldn’t keep an accusatory attitude. Marriage counseling is often very emotional and your significant other could feel quite vulnerable when speaking before a counselor. If you attack them personally, it’s just more likely to cause an angry reaction that can escalate. A good rule of thumb is to say “I feel” frequently. In many cases, our perception is different than our spouse’s intention.
4. Be Willing to Change
It can be hard to modify habits and behaviors, but marriage is all about compromise. You need to enter each session with an open mind and realize that changing the way you act is probably part of the solution. Both parties need to be willing to compromise and make adjustments to overcome the problems. Swallowing your pride could actually make the difference between a successful and a failed marriage.
5. Maintain Realistic Expectations
Marriage counseling is about learning, understanding, and both of you agreeing to change and make things better. It may take weeks or months to start seeing results, if you or your partner are not properly prepared and willing to follow the other steps on this list. Be patient, honest, and considerate, and you’ll be more likely to turn your marriage around more quickly.