Marriage Counseling Tips That Can Improve Your Relationship

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated April 25, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Abundant research shows that marriage counseling is often highly effective in helping couples navigate challenges and form closer relationships. Most couples seek marriage counseling to resolve specific issues that threaten the marriage— but many choose to attend therapy together for the continuing growth and improvement of the marriage beyond conflict. 

Marriages of all kinds have unique challenges, and people go to couples counseling or therapy for a wide range of reasons. For example, some couples may attend marriage counseling to develop better conflict resolution skills and communication or improve intimacy. Some want to attend couples therapy to support their partner with individual challenges. Others simply want to put the "spark" back in the relationship and cultivate greater excitement if it's waned over the years. 

Regardless of the reasons, if you and your partner have decided to seek support, there are a few helpful tips for approaching marriage counseling to improve your relationship and your experience in therapy.

Be honest

For some, being open and honest about what they'd like to improve in their marriage is challenging. This may be because they want to spare each other's feelings or they feel uncomfortable with confrontation. This is natural, but honesty between all parties is vital for successful marriage counseling. Without honesty, identifying and addressing issues, finding solutions, and cultivating a stronger bond between you will be much more challenging. By being open and honest in therapy, you and your partner can pave a smoother path for change by learning more about each other's needs and preferences. 

Getty/MoMo Productions
Building a strong marriage can take time and effort

Listen actively and communicate effectively

While communicating candidly and honestly is the strongest foundation for success in therapy, it's also important to communicate in a clear way that shows you're engaged and listening. The willingness to discuss each other's experiences with empathy and deep listening not only helps you commit as a couple but it allows your therapist to help in a deep and productive way. 

Try to disagree healthily

The ability to disagree with anyone in a fair, nonjudgmental way that encourages discourse is a valuable skill, especially in a relationship. Every relationship has disagreements, and there may even be times when you don't know if they can be resolved. Establish a willingness to disagree with one another in therapy in a healthy way from the start. Your therapist will play a significant part in helping you do this effectively during sessions and teaching you how to disagree healthily in everyday life outside of your marriage, as well.  

Be willing to change

Change can be intimidating, and the fear of the unknown is a significant deterrent to becoming comfortable with change. On top of those barriers, some have difficulty changing their behavior or personality because they perceive it as an affront to their self-esteem. If you've identified areas of your behavior during therapy that need improvement to move the relationship forward, it's essential to be willing to change those behaviors for the sake of your marriage. Not only does an unwillingness to change hinder the effectiveness of marriage counseling, but it may also drive a wedge and create resentment between you and your partner. 

Commit to the process

When you and your spouse decide to seek help from a relationship counselor, you're essentially committing to a journey of discovery and improvement. Cultivating a strong, healthy marriage often takes work. If you're not willing to do your part, including attending each session and engaging actively in the process, it may hinder your success and discourage your partner from engaging as well. 

Some couples want to commit to the process but have difficulty doing so because of scheduling and reachability issues. In cases where it's challenging to coordinate schedules and commutes to an office, couples find online marriage counseling an excellent solution for staying engaged and committed to therapy. 

Spend time focusing on each other

Although it's critical to the success of many relationships, carving out time to spend together isn't always at the top of the priority list for some couples. When our schedules are already crowded with mandatory engagements, reserving time to focus on our partner may be difficult. However, doing activities together and going on regular dates can go a long way toward maintaining a bond. Many couples use therapy as an opportunity to focus on each other as well as having regular dinner dates or engaging in shared activities they enjoy.

Getty / Maskot

Be supportive 

Just like everyone else, your partner experiences difficulties and has things in their life that are important to them. They may have times when they feel alone or unable to resolve their struggles effectively. Being an integral part of your partner's support system will contribute not only to their well-being but the well-being of your marriage as well. Regardless of the challenges, it's essential to help them through it. Show your partner that you believe in them and will be by their side no matter what. 

Part of being supportive includes positivity. When you praise your partner for their good qualities and communicate with them about the things you love most about them, it demonstrates to them that you're a supportive spouse. No matter how large or small, try to recognize your partner's contributions and express gratitude for them. 

Try spontaneity

Sometimes it pays to be spontaneous and do thoughtful, unexpected things for each other. Showing your partner that you care with random acts of kindness will help bring you closer together and encourage bonding throughout the time you've designated to work on your marriage and beyond. You can bring them coffee at work, make dinner after a hectic day, or make reservations at their favorite restaurant. Gifts are always nice, too. Your gestures don't have to be expensive or grandiose—the point is to show your affection and gratitude that they're your partner. 

Building a strong marriage can take time and effort

Keep an open mind

Often, the journey of self-discovery in therapy requires an open mind and a willingness to think about things in a different light than you may have ordinarily before. There may be numerous ways you can approach strengthening your marriage, and it's important to consider all angles for success. Exploring the ways you and your partner can become closer can be a challenge, but it can also be insightful and fulfilling if you remain open to the process. 

Explore ways to improve your relationship online

Couples who take the time to nurture their relationship often reap the rewards for their work in the form of more satisfaction, stronger bonds, and a tighter family unit. A solid marriage is often the foundation for a healthier, more balanced state of mind outside the relationship as well

There are many options for couples to obtain marital support and counseling. Group settings are popular with some, and there are plenty of online forums to communicate with a relationship specialist in the company of other couples experiencing marital issues or simply looking to strengthen their relationship. There are also in-person groups often available within most communities through different channels. 

Some couples feel uncomfortable discussing the personal details of their marriage in a group setting, instead opting for conventional one on one marriage counseling. A quick Google search may yield therapists in your area specializing in relationships and marriage. 

With its rise in popularity, many couples find that talking to a marriage counselor online is the most convenient, reachable, and affordable option. Platforms like Regain pair couples with counselors with experience that fits their special needs to reach their unique goals. Online therapy with Regain allows couples to attend appointments when it's convenient from the comfort and safety of home. You can speak to your counselor via online chat, video chat, text, and phone. Online therapy is also often more affordable than conventional therapy without insurance, and a growing body of research indicates that it's just as effective. 


If you're ready to strengthen your marriage, develop better communication and conflict resolution skills, and cultivate better mental health for you both, a Regain counselor can help.

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