Marriage can be hard work. If you and your partner have reached the stage where you cannot seem to maintain a healthy, happy romantic partnership, it may be time to seek out the professional help. Here are some of the ways in which marriage counselling can improve your relationship.
It allows you to get to the root of your relationship issues
Many couples find that going for marriage counselling enables them to find the true source of the problems within their relationship, which they were not able to articulate before.
It does this in two ways. Firstly, it provides a safe space for both people, in which the presence of a calm, non-judgemental third party (i.e. the therapist) gives them the emotional security they need to express how they really feel. They know that if they say something which is likely to upset their significant other, the therapist can intervene and comfort the distressed person.
Secondly, the therapist will be able to see beyond the repetitive, petty disagreements which couples often initially claim are the reason they're attending counselling, to the underlying, more serious problems.
For example, a couple might say that they constantly argue about the fact that one of them does far more of the household chores than the other. In reality, the issue may not be about housework at all but is instead about the person burdened with these chores feeling that their partner's unwillingness to help is an indication that they don't really value or care about them. A therapist's expertise and objectivity will make it easier for them to recognise this fact and thus enable them to assist the couple in working through the real issue.
It encourages the creation of a structured plan of action and accountability
A lot of married couples who have attempted to repair their relationship without professional help discover that being consistent in their efforts and remaining accountable for their behaviour can be very difficult; with no third-party to monitor them, it's all too easy to lose focus and return to the same old unhealthy relationship patterns.
Conversely, those who go for marriage counselling are usually given a very specific, structured plan with which to resolve their differences. The exact approach employed in this plan will differ from one therapist to another but may include, for example, behavioural modifications, which encourage couples to reduce or eliminate negative actions and dialogue, or emotional expression techniques, that teach people healthy ways to communicate their feelings, instead of allowing resentment to build up.
Additionally, a couple's weekly or monthly sessions with their therapist will mean that they will be held accountable for their commitment (or lack thereof) to their plan.
By instructing a couple to put the things that they learn during their sessions into practice throughout their daily lives together, a therapist can help the two people to begin to alter their unhealthy perceptions and behaviours, and create positive, long-term changes, which will strengthen their relationship.