Relationships

Will Marriage Counseling Fix My Relationship?

Falling in love is a beautiful experience, but navigating the complexities of a long-term committed relationship can be both rewarding and challenging. While every marriage experiences its highs and lows, sometimes those lows are insurmountable, resulting in divorce. However, even though the U.S. national divorce rate was 6.9% in 2021, it doesn’t mean divorce is […]

Author Generic Image By Grow Therapy

Updated on May 21, 2024

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Falling in love is a beautiful experience, but navigating the complexities of a long-term committed relationship can be both rewarding and challenging. While every marriage experiences its highs and lows, sometimes those lows are insurmountable, resulting in divorce. However, even though the U.S. national divorce rate was 6.9% in 2021, it doesn’t mean divorce is the only outcome. 

The secret to a great marriage or relationship is recognizing that conflict is a part of the deal and taking proactive steps to improve your ability to handle and resolve conflicts. 

This is where marriage counseling shines. Marriage counseling helps couples maintain a loving relationship based on mutual respect while amicably resolving any challenges that life throws them. 

This article details how marriage counseling works and explores how it can help couples build healthy and rewarding relationships that withstand the test of time.  

What Is Marriage Counseling?

Also known as relationship or couples therapy, marriage counseling seeks to help couples in committed romantic relationships navigate and resolve daily life challenges. Marital therapy recognizes that the quality of relationships deteriorates when couples don’t have the tools to address challenges and conflicts. It seeks to help couples improve their communication and problem-solving skills to resolve conflict healthily

Contrary to popular belief, marriage counseling isn’t just for couples in a rocky union. You may use marital therapy to strengthen your relationship and avoid problems that cause most marriages to fail. Counseling enables couples to function as a team without ignoring individual needs. Unfortunately, most couples in a distressed marriage wait until it’s too late, and they end up divorcing. 

How Does Marriage Counseling Differ from Individual Therapy? 

Marriage counseling differs from individual therapy because it addresses your mental health needs within the context of your relationship. Marriage counseling is a brief, solution-focused therapy designed with an end goal in mind. It’s highly specific and uses attainable therapeutic goals to help couples improve and strengthen their relationships.   

Kristina Anzell, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with Grow Therapy, explains why people in distressed marriages should consider therapy. 

“All relationships, healthy and unhealthy, have problems, and 69% of marital problems aren’t solvable,” she says. “People in healthy relationships just have the tools and skills to navigate these problems. Marital counseling can help you learn these skills and equip you with the tools to make your relationship healthy again.”  

Is Marriage Counseling Effective?

Marriage counselors typically hold a master’s or doctorate in psychiatry, psychology, nursing, social work, or education. 

Besides helping couples rekindle their relationships, marriage counselors can also diagnose and treat mental illnesses

Marriage counselors and family therapists are skilled in psychotherapy and family systems. That allows them to attend to the needs of an individual within the broader context of family and relationships. They also use a holistic approach to healthcare to help clients and their families improve their physical, emotional, and mental wellness. 

Marital therapists use extensive training to help couples stay connected and engaged even when disagreeing. They will help couples improve their communication skills and refine their problem-solving skills so they can resolve conflicts amicably. Counselors recognize that conflict comes with the territory when you’re in a committed, romantic relationship. 

Besides strengthening romantic relationships, marriage counseling offers fringe benefits such as improved work productivity, emotional health, work and family relationships, community involvement, and social life. 

How Does Marriage Counseling Work? 

Marriage counseling works because the therapist provides a safe, non-judgmental space for couples to unburden themselves. Usually, couples in a distressed relationship grapple with communication issues, including poor conflict management and lack of positive communication. Every conversation will likely morph into a dispute because the interaction involves anger, resentment, hurt, and other negative emotions. 

Couples work with a trained marriage counselor or LMFT during relationship counseling to address the issues distressing their relationships. Marriage therapists use role-playing and active listening techniques to encourage you to discuss your feelings and challenges openly. Your therapist may assign homework or exercises to practice with your partner between marriage counseling sessions. 

While effective, marriage counseling doesn’t guarantee results. The outcome of a couple’s relationship counseling hinges on their willingness to commit to therapy, adhere to the treatment plan, and make the necessary changes.  

Types of Marriage Counseling 

Marriage counselors are highly trained mental health professionals who specialize in marital therapy. They use different types of therapy to help couples improve their relationships, including: 

Typically, picking a treatment modality is a team effort, and your therapist will recommend one that best suits your needs. 

What Problems Does Marriage Counseling Help Solve?

Marriage therapy works by helping couples improve how they communicate, interact, and handle differences. Marital therapy provides couples with tools and techniques to resolve conflict without losing sight of the bigger picture. The newly learned skills and an elevated emotional connection can help couples solve numerous marital issues, including:  

A good marriage counselor can diagnose and treat mental health problems and other psychological problems, including substance abuse, to help you build a healthy and trusting relationship. 

Benefits of Marriage Counseling 

Marriage counseling is designed to be practical and solution-focused therapy that facilitates healing while equipping married couples with the skills to navigate the inevitable life transitions. They encourage clients to introspect and become better versions of themselves within the context of their relationships. 

Unlike individual therapy, marriage counseling equips you with the skills to help you understand your behavior and motives within your relationship. It also enables you to understand and connect with your partner emotionally. It can power your ability to debate, solve problems, and negotiate differences without letting your differences get in the way. 

Working with a therapist can help couples accept and validate each other and learn to accommodate and manage their differences. They may help you identify the perpetual problems in your relationship and develop valuable skills to help talk about them and find workable solutions before the issues prove overwhelming. 

Marriage counselors have expert training that allows couples to rapidly progress in strengthening their relationships. They may combine different therapy modalities to craft custom treatment plans for distressed couples. Some therapists examine the root causes, while others promote skills and practice. 

A couples therapist is specially trained to work with couples and understand the difficulties you may face when starting couple therapy. They can help you and your partner overcome the initial challenges and steadily progress toward building a healthy marriage. You may opt for online couples therapy to overcome logistical challenges. 

Although marriage counseling requires effort from both parties, each partner can schedule a solo session with the therapist and privately work on improving themselves. 

How Long Does Marriage Counseling Take? 

Since marriage counseling is designed to be solution-focused and practical, it’s usually shorter than regular therapy. On average, it takes 12 marriage counseling sessions with a licensed therapist to repair a relationship. Therapists may recommend more therapy sessions if they discover underlying mental health issues. 

Almost 70% of couples complete therapy within 20 sessions, while nearly 90% complete therapy within 50 sessions. Marital counselors are pragmatic and, as such, provide couples with practical solutions they can use to strengthen their relationships. 

When Should You Consider Marriage Therapy? 

When the novelty wears off, your relationship quality may gradually decline unless you make a concerted effort to maintain the spark. Life, career, family, and shifting priorities often drive a wedge between spouses, setting the stage for a rocky relationship. Most fail to realize they’re drifting apart until it’s too late, and by then, their relationships are so acrimonious they’re ready to call it quits

Recognizing the telltale signs your marriage is heading in the wrong direction can help you take corrective measures and safeguard your marriage. Here are signs that you should consider marriage counseling: 

You may seek premarital counseling before tying the knot and secure your happily ever after by starting your married life on a high note. 

How to Start Marital Therapy

Unlike regular therapy, marriage counseling is a team effort. You’re likely to meet resistance when you approach your partner about attending therapy. Myths, misconceptions, or the fear of vulnerability often fuel reluctance. 

These practical tips will help you bring your spouse on board with couples counseling:

Besides traditional in-person therapy, you may opt for online marriage counseling. Online treatment is worth it because it helps couples living in different regions overcome geographical barriers. 

Listen to your spouse’s concerns and reflect on their responses to understand what’s holding them back. That may open the door to a fruitful conversation that may eventually sway them to try therapy. 

Additionally, you’ll want to be financially prepared so there are no surprises. Learn more about whether insurance covers marriage counseling and how much it costs.

Repair Your Relationship with Marriage Counseling 

Marriage counseling can improve and strengthen the relationship with your spouse and improve the quality of your life. The key to a happy marriage or relationship isn’t avoiding conflict at all costs. Instead, such couples learn to embrace conflict by building exceptional communication and problem-solving skills to resolve their differences quickly and amicably. 

Many married couples lack these skills, subjecting them to continuous marital distress. Marriage counseling can help you turn a new leaf and rekindle the passion in your relationship. Family therapists can also help you treat any underlying mental illnesses that may ruin your relationships.

Searching for a licensed marriage counselor can prove challenging, especially if you live in an area with a known therapist shortage. Grow Therapy can help you overcome geographical limitations and connect you with a professional marital therapist at the click of a button. 

FAQs

  • Look for a licensed and experienced therapist who specializes in couples therapy. Consider their credentials, therapeutic approach, therapy fee, and personality. Pick someone you and your partner will likely connect with as well.

  • During a session, couples engage in open dialogue under the direction of their counselor. The therapist may assign exercises, teach communication techniques, and facilitate discussions about specific issues.

  • Marital counseling costs $75 to $250 per session, with most couples paying about $100 a session, depending on various factors. In some instances, insurance may help pay for your sessions, so be sure to contact your insurance provider to understand your benefits.

  • Marriage counselors are highly trained mental health professionals who can help you address complex marital issues. Although some relationships may be beyond saving, marriage counseling can provide tools for healthier communication, understanding, and personal growth.

This article is not meant to be a replacement for medical advice. We recommend speaking with a therapist for personalized information about your mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who can offer support and address any questions or concerns. If you or your child is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should dial 9-1-1 and/or go to the nearest emergency room.

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