Stuck. Broken. Frustrated. Powerless. These are feelings that can be used to describe how one feels in a failing relationship. Like sailors lost at sea, many couples know where they want their marriage to end up but don't have the tools or sense of direction needed to get them there.
Couples therapy has been proven as an effective tool for healing a broken relationship and saving marriages on the brink of divorce. But because of the stigma surrounding marriage and divorce counseling, research shows that only a fourth of all divorcing couples ever seek professional help. This is unfortunate since study after study also shows that couples who enter couples therapy leave happier and healthier.
If you're struggling to hold on to a crumbling marriage, couples therapy might be your saving grace as well. But to reach this type of success, one has to consider why people enter therapy in the first place, understand how it can help, and learn where to find assistance.
Reasons Why Couples Seek Therapy
Many couples mistakenly believe that they won't benefit from therapy because their issues aren't "that bad." You don't have to be in the midst of an affair or on the brink of leaving to seek help. It's better to be proactive and tackle your problems early before morphing into something too difficult to overcome.
On the opposite end, you have people who feel there is no sense in attending counseling sessions because their marriages are too far gone. In reality, it doesn't matter if your marital problems are simple or complex. If an issue stops you from living your fullest life with your partner, couples therapy is viable. Common reasons why couples seek help from a relationship therapist include:
Though these are some of the most common reasons couples seek counseling, this list is not all-inclusive. As times are changing, married couples face twenty-first-century marital struggles that older generations never had to face. Don't let embarrassment or the fact that you think your relationship issues are 'uncommon' keep you from seeking help that could improve your relationship and well-being.
Ways Couples Therapy Can Help
The title of this article is accurate but also a bit misleading. The truth is, only you and your spouse can save your relationship. Couples therapy is one of, if not the best, tools to assist you in your journey to a better, stronger marriage, but the choice is yours. Think of your therapist as your guide and the process as a map. These things can help you reach your destination, but you still have to do the hiking. Whether or not a marriage can be saved involves some different factors and depends on the specific couple. The type of problems being faced, and their severity, are also important. Still, therapy has been used in the past to help couples:
As an example of what couples therapy can accomplish, take twenty-seven-year-old James. He recently became engaged to Rachel, his girlfriend of three years. Rachel, by nature, is a talkative and direct person. James, on the other hand, is quieter and reserved. In most situations, their difference in communication styles isn't an issue. They usually balance each other out.
But with the stress of wedding planning, James and Rachel have been arguing more and more. When Rachel reminds James about planning responsibilities, he begins to shut down. He doesn't want to think or talk about the wedding, especially when Rachel voices her complaints disrespectfully and condescendingly. This usually leads to an argument since Rachel cannot understand why James wants to 'talk things out.'
During premarital counseling, James was able to find his voice and tell Rachel how he felt about her constant complaining. They were also able to set boundaries regarding name-calling and putdowns during disagreements. Two years later, they are married and happy to solve their premarital problems in just a few counseling sessions.
Strengthening The Family Unit
Blended families are extremely common these days. When marrying for the first or fourth time, many people will be entering into a situation where either they or their spouse will be a stepparent. This in and of itself isn't an issue. But blended families come with unique difficulties that can be destructive to a marriage if not handled correctly.
Some of the challenges that couples counseling can help husbands and wives of blended families overcome revolve around:
Though every family situation is unique, the main way to overcome these types of issues is threefold. You must build trust and improve communication while simultaneously setting up a family plan that outlines guidelines/boundaries for handling current problems and those in the future. Because an experienced couple's therapist has helped other couples navigate through similar problems, they can be a great asset to have as you take on the same challenges.
Is My Marriage Worth Saving?
If you're at a low point in your marriage, you may be wondering if going to couples therapy is even worth it or looking for signs that the marriage is worth saving. In that case, it's better to rephrase the question a different way. You should instead ask, "What are the signs my marriage is not worth saving?" Listed below are some of those signs:
Aside from abuse, if you believe your marriage isn't worth saving but still have your doubts, there's nothing wrong with speaking with a therapist. At least you'll know you did the best you could. Striving to live a life free of regret means following your instincts and trusting yourself to make the best decisions.
Where To Find Help
Accepting that you could benefit from couples counseling is the hardest step. The second is finding the best person to assist you in bringing your marriage into a happy, healthy place. Lots of people start with a Google search of local providers. While this is a viable option, it is not always practical. Booking an appointment with a therapist around one work/life schedule can be tricky. There are two partners to consider with couples therapy, making things even more challenging, especially if you work in a different part of town or on a different schedule than your spouse.
For these reasons, many couples are seeking online options. Online platforms offer something traditional services do not since help can be reached after traditional hours through a computer, tablet, or smartphone. However, one thing to consider is not all online counseling services are trustworthy and provided by licensed professionals. These should be avoided.
Instead, seek out a service provider that offers tech-based counseling flexibility from trained therapists and the board approved. ReGain is one such service that offers convenient, discreet, and affordable access to a licensed therapist from anywhere, anytime. ReGain is unique since all ReGain staff have a Master's or Doctoral Degree and have been certified by their state's professional board after completing the necessary education, exams, training, and practice.
Sometimes couples are discouraged by the cost of therapy and choose not to go forward with it. The same could also be said of hiring attorneys and going through divorce and custody battles. Couples should thoughtfully consider all of the options they have moving forward. If they each decide that investing in their relationship is worth it, there are many different choices for help. Every couple solves their conflict differently, so don't be afraid to try more than one thing; the effort will be worth it in the end.
Signing up for ReGain is both simple and affordable if you do choose to go that route. Regardless of which provider you choose, making yourself and your partner a priority by seeking help through couples therapy can save your relationship. As long as you are ready and willing to do the work, you will soon be on your way to a better life than the one you live today.
"Sessions with Natalie are very insightful and give practical advice on implementing new habits and changes. Be prepared to engage and be challenged to think differently. I know that my partner and I can already see improvements in our relationship and feel more positive about working through our issues together."
"Austa has been wonderful thus far. She has helped my partner and I during an unimaginably difficult time... She has also guided us in communicating effectively and setting appropriate boundaries in our relationship. I was hesitant to pursue counseling initially, but I truly believe that it makes a difference in our relationship. Austa is easy to talk to, and she is a great listener. I would wholeheartedly recommend her as a counselor."
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can counseling save a marriage?
Yes, couples counseling can be extremely effective and even bring a couple back from the brink of a breakup or divorce. If you and your spouse are having difficulties with your relationship, whether they be fights or feelings of growing apart, counseling can be a great way to get on the same page and work with a mediator to solve these issues. In this article written by a marriage counselor, Huffpost writes that there are some traits you and your partner can look for to see if marriage counseling can be successful for you. Most of these traits amount to a willingness to work on your relationship and marriage and attend couples counseling to begin with. If you and your spouse are willing to commit to seeing a therapist, your marriage may be able to be saved.
Something else to consider is therapy before any problems even arise. For example, say that you don’t feel your relationship is in trouble, but you know there are high stakes. Perhaps you and your partner work together, or there is a conflict between your families, or maybe you love each other and want to see the relationship work out. In this case, you could go to counseling to better learn how to manage issues when they do come up. You could also try counseling before a major landmark. For example, there is pre-engagement counseling and pre-marriage counseling. The point is, you don’t need to be in trouble to seek out counseling from a relationship expert. Counseling is effective for all stages of a relationship and all types of people.
What is the success rate of marriage counseling?
About 70-90% of couples report improvements in their relationships after attending marriage counseling. According to an American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy study, 98% of families have said that their therapy services were good or excellent. This demonstrates that many couples are making marriage work through marriage therapy.
Having the right mindset when going in can also drastically improve the success rate. For example, when couples decide to attend therapy together, it proves that they are already willing to work on their marriage. Couples that think they have a broken marriage that cannot ever be helped through marriage counseling usually never even find out if their years of marriage could be saved successfully. Therefore, it is important to have a good attitude; you only get what you bring to counseling.
Also, remember that counseling is not one simple panacea. When you start counseling, that is not when the hard work ends. Counseling will require attention, dedication, and even homework. But suppose both people in the relationship genuinely want to save their union. In that case, the hard work will pay off, and you will most likely find that you both overcome past emotional trauma and grow together in marriage. If you are thinking, “I need to save my marriage,” try attending marriage therapy at ReGain as soon as today.
When should you seek marriage counseling?
Many couples choose to book their first marriage counseling appointment when things seem so bad that the only other option is divorce. This is certainly not a bad time to go to marriage therapy. Still, it could also benefit your relationship to seek out treatment with marriage counselors if you notice any of these signs:
There are also other forms of counseling designed to stop problems before they even start. In that case, counseling might be useful for you if:
If any of these apply, you may choose to make a marriage counseling appointment. It doesn’t have to be a dire issue to bring to counseling; in fact, the sooner you realize something you would like help working through, the more likely you are to save your relationship.
Can therapy hurt your marriage?
It is possible that with an untrained therapist or one that is not adept at working with couples, a married couple could end up in a worse place than they started. If you are speaking with a licensed therapist, and both parties genuinely want to go to therapy and save the marriage, then therapy should help, not hurt, your relationship.
The good news is that you can always switch therapists if one isn’t working out. Always research your possible options beforehand and make sure to ask lots of questions before choosing one. You and your partner should decide what factors are important to you, such as the therapist’s age, gender, experience with certain issues, and qualifications. Since therapy is supposed to be helpful rather than hurtful, don’t stay in a harmful situation longer than necessary. Couples therapy is ultimately about you and your spouse’s happiness, not the therapist.
Most therapists are certified and qualified, especially at ReGain. At ReGain, we only hire licensed therapists who specialize in marriage and couples. We want what is best for your relationship and will work with you and your partner to guide you in the best direction. If you have taken steps to attend couple therapy with or without your partner, it is clear that you want your marriage to succeed, and therefore we will always do our best to help you find the ways to this success.
Is my marriage worth saving?
If you are thinking thoughts like, “how can I save my marriage,” and “is my marriage even worth saving,” you are not alone. If you genuinely want to save your marriage, and you feel that the marriage is best for you and your partner, and you are not in an abusive relationship or anything of the sort, then your marriage is worth saving.
Remember, people are complicated. Families are especially complicated. All relationships have their bad days (or weeks), and sometimes it’s easy to hope to throw in the towel. But remember that this conflict is normal, and even despite conflict and despite your mistakes, you are a whole person deserving of love. If you and your partner both genuinely want to be married, and you still feel love for each other, then your marriage is not only worth saving, but it is also possible to save it.
Provided with tools from the therapists at ReGain, it is possible to save your marriage. If you and your partner are willing to put in the work to attend counseling, this is a great sign that your marriage can be saved. You may also find that you still feel that you love each other, but the same fight keeps getting in the way, or your busy lives keep you from being intimate. These issues are common but can be helped, especially with mediation from a licensed therapist. Your relationships are within your control, and if you want to work towards a better marriage, therapy can help.
With that being said, there are times when ending the relationship is best for both parties and their families. An ending is not always a failure- sometimes, an ending to a relationship, a marriage, a household, a way of life, etc., can be the first step to building the life you genuinely want.
Here are some things to ask yourself to know if your marriage is worth saving: