What To Know Before Entering Couple Therapy
Updated September 04, 2018
Couple therapy is a bit different from individual therapy. It actually involves you and your spouse doing the thing that you may be having trouble with-communicating. Even just selecting a counselor together requires a bit of teamwork. So here are some tips to help you on your way to entering couple therapy.
What To Know For Couple Therapy
Keeping the following advice in mind will help you to enter couple therapy with your best chance at repairing or improving your marriage.
It's not up to the counselor to save your marriage
You do not hire a marriage counselor to fix your marriage. That's not exactly their job. Their job is to guide you to fix your own marriage. So, you have to put in the effort to follow their suggestions and improve your marriage.
Of course, you're going to ask, "What about my partner? Shouldn't they also be putting in effort?" Of course, they should. But you don't have control over what your partner does. The only person whose actions you can control are your own. And someone has to take the first steps.
Most Of The Work Is Done Outside Of Sessions
Don't expect to leave a couple therapy session feeling like your relationship has miraculously improved. Marriage counseling provides you with guidance. You then have to leave the session and put that guidance into practice. It's all the work you and your partner do outside of the sessions that determines how well your marriage will do in the future.
It Only Works If You Both Want It To
You or your partner may be resistant to couple therapy. That's natural. But what is required for therapy to work, at a minimum, is that both of you want the marriage to work. The reason why you want it to work, however, does not have to be the same.
People can have many reasons for wanting to be married at any given time. You may want to preserve your marriage for reasons regarding family or children, for the shared financial life you've built together, because you still love this person, or for any combination of these or other reasons. You or your partner's reason for wanting to keep the marriage intact upon entering counseling may be different from the reason for getting married in the first place. And that's okay.
As long as some form of motivation is there for improving this relationship, then there is a chance that your reasons for wanting to be together, and your feelings for each other, can align in the future.
Don't Wait Too Long
If you are entering counseling because one or the other of you already wants a divorce or separation, then it is likely too late for marriage counseling to be effective at preventing separation. Many couples wait far too long to try counseling, and the initial problems or complaints have become numerous. The gap between the partners has become too wide.
Couple therapy is much more effective when you seek help as soon as you recognize a problem the two of you can't solve together without assistance. Now that you understand more about how relationship counseling works, reach out to a marriage counseling professional who can help you and your partner.