What You Should Look For In Marriage Counseling Books

Updated June 12, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

Many people are interested in marriage counseling and how it could benefit their relationship, but working directly with a therapist isn’t an option for one reason or another. While working toward couples therapy, reading marriage counseling books with your partner can be an excellent way to prepare for treatment, showing willingness and effort to make the marriage work. Read on to explore how marriage counseling can repair and strengthen the emotional and physical connection between partners and how to choose a couples therapy book that fits your needs and situation. 

What Is Marriage Counseling?

Marriage counseling, also frequently called couples therapy or couples counseling, is a branch of talk therapy intended to help romantic partners overcome problems and build healthy relationships so they can face future challenges together. Attending therapeutic treatments with your spouse can help you learn practical ways to communicate your feelings and needs, establish healthy strategies to navigate conflicts, and reconnect with one another as you rebuild your emotional intimacy.

Does Marriage Counseling Actually Work?

Marriage counseling is clinically proven to help most couples work through their disputes to improve the quality and satisfaction of their relationship. Research shows that approximately 70% of the couples participating in marriage counseling reported positive impacts on the relationship. 

When Does A Marriage Need Counseling?

  • Partners no longer communicate effectively; most conversations devolve into hostility, antagonism, or arguments. 
  • One partner is beginning to exhibit controlling behavior patterns by exerting physical, mental, emotional, sexual, financial, or any other type of control the other didn’t consent to.
  • Frequently repeating the same arguments without resolutions. 
  • Infidelity creates broken trust, insecurity, or other related damage. 
  • You’re having trouble connecting after the birth of a child or an empty nest. 
  • The emotional intimacy between you has faded or disappeared. 
  • You don’t have sex anymore, or you only connect with sex. 
  • Secrets and lies are regular occurrences. 
  • One or both of you are indifferent to the other's feelings and the relationship.

Do You Know What To Look For In Marriage Counseling Books?

How Marriage Counseling Books Can Help Repair And Strengthen Your Relationship

Working work a couples therapist isn’t always an option for various reasons. In that case, consider reading marriage counseling books with your spouse to help you learn about practical ways to improve your relationship. Couples therapy books can help you explore ways to enhance the connection with your partner while waiting to speak with a licensed couples therapist. 

Starting Conversations That Help Prepare You For Working With A Therapist

Marriage counseling books can help you and your spouse start conversations that can lead to honest communication and the resolution of conflicts that are disrupting your marriage.

Questions You May Want To Ask

  • What can I do to make you feel valued and appreciated?
  • Can you explain what habits of mine bother you most and how we can compromise?
  • Are you willing to consistently put in the effort to make this marriage work?
  • Do you feel like your emotional and physical needs are met? If not, can you give specific examples of how I can provide what you need?
  • People grow and change with time. Can we reevaluate our goals and dreams, checking in with each other to ensure they still align?
  • Does our sex life currently meet your sexual needs? What can I do to ensure you’re satisfied?

Identify Issues Causing Conflict In Your Marriage

As you read the couples therapy books together, examine your relationship and discover the issues causing conflict and tension. 

Highlight What You Like About Each Other

While you’re scrutinizing your partner, remember to take note of what you like about each other. Marriage counseling can help you focus on those traits and use them to relate to your partner as you reinforce the behaviors you want from them. 

Reevaluate And Express Your Expectations For Each Other

Many people get married without forming a realistic expectation about what life will be like when it’s shared with someone else. Communication and compromise are valuable characteristics in a  healthy relationship, so take time to reevaluate what you expect of your partner to ensure you're not asking too much and verify that they know and understand what you want. 

Learn How To Communicate With One Another

Studies show that communication is the heart of healthy marriages. Neither of you can read your partner's thoughts, and emotions don't come with subtitles. If you want to ensure your partner knows your feelings, you have to tell them. If you need something from them or an issue you’re discussing is extremely important to you, don’t rely on them knowing how you feel unless you’ve communicated your position clearly. Honest, effective communication flows in both directions, with you and your spouse trying to listen without judgment, validate the other’s feelings, and express your own in return. You may not always like what your partner says, but accepting that you are their safe place to land means you should be there to listen anyway. 

Develop And Practice Conflict-Resolution Skills

Couples therapy books can help you and your spouse lay the groundwork as you develop and utilize healthy, practical conflict resolution strategies to work through your problems together rather than as adversaries. 

“Trying to solve unsolvable problems is counterproductive, and no couple will ever completely eliminate them. However, discussing them is constructive and provides a positive opportunity for understanding and growth.” — The Gottman Institute

How To Choose The Right Marriage Counseling Books For Your Needs

Marriage counseling books are intended for preparation to work with a licensed mental healthcare provider and are not considered couples therapy. However, they can offer some guidance on techniques and topics you should use when discussing relationship issues with your spouse, helping shape your conversations into productive communication. Try taking notes to organize your thoughts and allow your therapist to get a head start on your treatment plan. 

  • Do some research, find a couples therapy treatment approach you like, and look for a book by someone who specializes in that field. 
  • Read one book at a time and read it together. If something catches either of your interests, pause to discuss the issue and how it relates to your relationship. 
  • Check out online reviews from other customers to see their experiences before buying the book. 
  • Ask your therapist for a recommendation to help you prepare. 

Identify Your Therapeutic Needs And Your Desired Approach

Couples therapy books can be an excellent resource for helping you explore which type of marriage counseling fits your situation the best. 

Marriage Counseling Approaches

  • The Gottman Method

Build open communication channels, enhance emotional intimacy, and increase marital conflict resolution and satisfaction. 

  • Psychodynamic Couples Therapy

Learn to recognize and work on the underlying issues influencing how you and your partner relate to and communicate with one another. 

  • Sex Therapy

Discuss and resolve issues with your sex life and non-sexual physical intimacy, learning how to express your needs and desires. 

  • Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy

Find healthy, practical ways to improve the bond and attachment between spouses, increasing marital intimacy by expressing authentic emotions to each other. 

  • PACT Therapy

This therapy approach helps couples pinpoint their tension and conflict sources, focusing their efforts on working through them together. 

Reach Out For Help

While reading marriage counseling books together can be a fantastic way to start important conversations about bringing about meaningful changes in your relationship so you both feel loved, understood, and valued, some problems may require the support and guidance of a mental health professional. Don't wait until your relationship reaches no return to seek help. 

How Marriage Counseling Can Help Repair And Fortify Your Relationship

When your marriage encounters problems you and your spouse can’t overcome on your own, consider working with a licensed couples therapist through a virtual therapy platform focused on relationship issues like Regain. Couples therapy can help you discuss and process your feelings about past events in your relationship so you can both heal and move on, develop communication skills to express your needs and emotions and establish healthy conflict-resolution strategies so you work through your problems together. 

Many people seeking versatile mental health treatment options wonder whether teletherapy is actually effective. Studies show that couples therapy is equally effective online and in the traditional in-office setting. Both groups in the study reported increased relationship satisfaction and decreased symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. However, teletherapy platforms generally offer more cost-effective treatment, shorter wait times, and access to a much more comprehensive network of mental healthcare professionals. If your first match isn’t a good fit, it’s simple to connect with another qualified therapist who understands you better.

Do You Know What To Look For In Marriage Counseling Books?

Takeaway 

Many couples use marriage counseling to help them overcome issues they’re currently facing and strengthen their relationship to withstand future challenges. This article offers insight into how to choose a couples therapy book to fit your needs as preparation for working with a licensed relationship therapist and how couples therapy can help you build a healthier marriage.

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