What Are The Benefits Of Marriage Therapy?

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated April 26, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Marriage therapy can strengthen your relationship

The benefits of marriage therapy for spouses as a pair can include developing a closer marriage, healing old wounds, feeling heard, managing both partners’ difficult emotions, learning to resolve conflicts, and creating beneficial patterns of interaction. Additional advantages can include setting goals and priorities together, becoming more supportive of each other, developing better parenting strategies, and managing life transitions more effectively. Meanwhile, the benefits of marriage therapy for spouses as individuals can include understanding oneself better, becoming more assertive, changing behaviors that may hold you back, developing a healthier mindset, and learning effective communication and decision-making skills. If you’d like to try marriage therapy, you may find a suitable therapist locally or through an online therapy platform.

Benefits of marriage therapy for spouses

About 75% of people who go through marriage therapy believe they've benefitted from the experience. Couples who appreciate their time in therapy often experience positive results that can last for years afterward. Let’s take a look at some of the most widely reported benefits of marriage counseling.

Develop a closer marriage

Often, when couples enter marital therapy, it’s because they've drifted apart. They may not feel the closeness they felt when they first got married. In fact, going to couples therapy may be the first thing they've done together in a long time.

As they listen and learn from each other, they may begin to feel like a team again. If their therapist suggests they spend more time enjoying each other's company, they may even begin to feel romantic again. Even if they’re not experiencing specific marital problems, couples can benefit from marriage counseling. You don’t necessarily need to wait until you see problems in the marriage before you seek counseling for your relationship!

Work toward healing old wounds

Many couples come to a point where they have trouble moving forward with their marriage due to the old wounds they've caused each other. Perhaps one of them has been unfaithful, and the other still feels hurt. The one who cheated may feel that they'll pay for their mistake for the rest of their life. Rather than healing over time, the wounds may remain as painful as ever.

By healing these old hurts, the couple may have a chance to become closer and renew their commitment to the relationship. It may not be easy, but with a skilled therapist, they may move past their resentment and gain trust in each other again. In this way, couples can leave their unresolved issues, resentment, or anger in the past, and move forward to a healthier, happier, and more successful marriage.

Feel heard by your spouse

One of the most frustrating things that can happen in a marriage may be that you may feel like your spouse just isn't listening to you. They may stonewall you or show no signs that they understand what you're saying. They may seem to ignore your needs. Through therapy, you can learn how to listen to each other, so you both feel heard and understood. Improving your communication skills can be a great first step to communicating in a healthy manner. This, in turn, can lead to a deeper understanding between you and your spouse, which can help reduce (or even solve) some of your marital problems.

Manage both partners’ difficult emotions

Life is often full of emotional challenges. It can be easy to hide your feelings out in the world, but when you get home, you generally want to be able to be yourself. Constantly unloading on your spouse can eventually drive you apart.

Your spouse may not have any more idea of how to manage your intense emotions than you do, and you may not know how to cope with theirs. When you're in marriage counseling, you can develop strategies for handling each other's difficult emotions and helping each other accept and move past them.

Learn to resolve conflicts as they happen

Conflict resolution can be both a form of science and art. Marriage therapists are typically very skilled at helping you learn to resolve conflicts in your marriage. Waiting until differences become insurmountable obstacles to your happiness as a couple can end your marriage. When you learn conflict resolution techniques and practice them in the safe environment of marriage therapy, you can take care of problems as they happen.

Create more beneficial patterns of interaction

When people are together for a very long time, they tend to develop patterns of interaction, often without even realizing it. Our spouse may comment, and we may have a standard reply. We may have a problem, and our spouse may offer the same suggestion they always make.

In marriage therapy, you can identify patterns, and for those times when you need a shortcut, you can develop new patterns that may be more beneficial to the marriage.

Set priorities as a couple

What are you putting first in your life? What is your spouse putting first? When you examine your priorities, you may both be surprised. Having vastly different priorities can drive a wedge between you and cause an excessive amount of conflict.

Marriage therapy often gives you a chance to identify what you've prioritized and decide if you want to make different choices for that top slot. If your marriage is very low on your list, you may decide that you both should give it more time and energy, and work together to build a happy marriage.

Set goals as a couple

Many marriages roll along without much thought or planning. One or both spouses often wish for something they never get. Setting goals as a couple can inject new energy into the relationship and bring you closer. You might decide to work toward buying a home or saving money for extended travel, for example. When you accomplish your mutual goals, you can experience enormous joy and pleasure at something you've created together. This pleasure can be one of the best benefits of marriage counseling, since it may motivate you and your partner to make the marriage work.

Become more supportive of each other

It can be very common for people to have a hard time knowing how to be supportive of their spouses. Often, we feel like we're on their side and there for them whenever they need us. Sometimes, though, we may need someone who reaches out to us when we're having a hard time.

We may not be sure our spouse wants to be there for us. We may not want to lay our troubles on them. We might fear our spouse will reject us or point out our faults. Whatever the reason that keeps us from asking for support, we can overcome it. In marriage therapy, you can learn how to give helpful and loving support to your spouse and request support from them without fear.

Develop better parenting strategies

Once a married couple has a child, the family dynamics typically change forever. In general, you must now learn how to pass along your wisdom and show the parental love that you may never have experienced. What's more, you usually must develop individual parenting strategies that work together to give the child a stable home and a comprehensible framework for their development.

Parenting is usually addressed in family therapy. However, in marriage therapy, you may spend some time working out how to mesh your parenting styles positively. When you do, you can create a more peaceful home life that's beneficial to your child as well as to your marriage.

Manage life transitions more effectively

The occasion for seeking marriage therapy is often some type of life transition. You might find yourself at a crossroads where you need to think about what path to start down as a couple.

This can happen as you first start settling into marriage when you have your first child, when you have a change in employment or move to a new home when you enter the empty-nest phase of marriage, when you're experiencing a life-threatening medical issue, or anytime you’re going through something new together.

When you're making a transition, a therapist's marriage help can be very beneficial. They can help you assess your options as a couple. They can teach you the new skills you may need in this new phase of your life. Perhaps most importantly, they can facilitate the conversation between you and your partner so that you can approach the transition as a team. 

Benefits of marriage therapy for each spouse

Marriage therapy is generally designed to help couples, but you can also benefit from it as an individual. Many of the skills you'll learn in couples counseling can carry over to your life outside the marriage. 

Understand yourself better

During the process of therapy, you may learn to understand who your spouse is. You may also come to understand yourself better. You may identify what's most important to you as an individual. You may discover what makes you happy and where your greatest personal challenges lie.

Become more assertive

Unless your parents have taught you well, either directly or by example, being assertive may be an unfamiliar concept to you.

As you learn assertiveness skills, you can move away from aggression and toward a more cooperative way of getting what you want. You can stop being passive and start standing up for what you believe. You can uncover your passive-aggressive behaviors and learn to face problems directly. You can also learn new relationship skills and communication skills, in particular, how to be assertive without being offensive. This may help you communicate your needs and desires to your partner in a way that builds up the relationship instead of tearing it down. 

When you learn these lessons well and practice them in your marriage, you often become more mentally healthy and can accomplish more of what you want to do.

Change behaviors that hold you back

In marriage therapy, you'll likely face your feelings, but couples counseling isn't necessarily all about emotion. You may also learn techniques for changing behavior. In the context of the therapy situation, you may change behaviors that are a detriment to the relationship. Outside of marriage therapy, you'll likely still have these skills, and you can use them to change the behaviors that hold you back from success, health, and happiness.

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Marriage therapy can strengthen your relationship

Marriage therapy can bring up unpleasant memories and emotions. As you work through your issues together, you are both likely to become more positive. When you see that problems can indeed be resolved, you can begin to approach your life more effectively.

By facing your problems directly, you can learn to acknowledge the painful realities of life and the difficulties of the challenges you face. Then, you can move toward better solutions to life's difficulties. In this way, you can become more positive and realistic at the same time.

Learn communication skills 

One of the most important skills you'll gain in marriage counseling can be how to communicate. Some of these skills might be best suited to the intimate relationship you're trying to develop with your spouse.

However, most of what you learn about communication can serve you well wherever you go and whoever you interact with. Active listening, showing empathy, expressing your thoughts clearly, and avoiding personal attacks can make you more personable. These skills can also help you accomplish more at work and build lifelong friendships outside the marriage.

Learn individual decision-making skills

When you don't know what to do next to save your marriage, your therapist won't usually tell you what choice to make. They'll probably teach you how to improve your decision-making skills instead. Then, you can decide what's right for you.

During marriage counseling, you may decide to do anything reasonable you can do to make your relationship last. Or you might decide to put the marriage behind you and move on. Either way, you can accomplish a great deal just by facing your problems in the therapeutic environment. Either option may be a success for you.

Marriage therapy may present you with difficult challenges, but the truth is that those challenges were likely already there, disrupting your relationship and causing you pain. Although the process may take some time and effort, it can be very easy to get started.

Try marriage therapy online

It can often be challenging to find a suitable date and time for you and your spouse to attend marriage therapy together. If you have children, it can be even more difficult to set up childcare during session times. Online therapy can make it easier to schedule appointments and attend them from home.

As this study explains, online couples therapy can be a viable alternative to in-person therapy as efficacy rates are generally the same. If you feel you and your spouse would benefit from working with a marriage therapist, please don’t hesitate to reach out for the help you deserve.


Marriage therapy can have many benefits for spouses as a pair and as individuals. Benefits for individuals can include learning more effective decision-making and communication skills, developing a healthier mindset, becoming more assertive, understanding oneself more fully, and changing unhelpful behaviors. Advantages for spouses can include growing closer, feeling heard, healing past wounds, learning conflict resolution skills, and setting goals and priorities together. Additional benefits can be learning to manage both partners’ challenging emotions, creating healthy interaction patterns, becoming more supportive of each other, managing life transitions more effectively, and developing better parenting strategies. To start marriage therapy, you can find a therapist who meets your needs online or in person.

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