Why Timing is Everything When it Comes to Marriage Counseling
Seeking help from a marriage counselor is similar to seeking help from a car mechanic…stay with me here. It makes little sense to take your car into the shop a month after it started making a horrific noise or doesn’t run anymore. By that time, too much damage may have been done and your engine may be beyond repair.
By the same token, the effectiveness of marriage counseling is directly related to the willingness and motivation of both parties to put in the effort and also the timing. The time to consider marriage counseling is not when one (or both) people have already thrown in the towel, but before problems have escalated and gone on for too long.
For instance, in some relationships, when one or both partners have already decided to end the marriage, they may use couples therapy as a “safe space” to drop the news on their spouse. This is obviously not the best timing to attempt couples counseling.
Sometimes issues are too ingrained and longstanding for counseling to be “fixed” immediately. If a couple has been building up resentment toward one another for five or more years before seeking help, it makes repairing the damage more time consuming and therefore an intensive couples therapy session may be what is needed. While counseling is a wonderful way to help couples reconnect and heal, it is not a miracle cure occurring during 50 minutes each week with a couples therapist.
When and How Marriage Counseling Can Help
It’s important that both individuals want the relationship to work. When both parties are willing to invest time and energy, marriage counseling can be the catalyst for real and lasting positive change.
It is also important that couples choose a therapist who’s a good fit. Both spouses must feel comfortable with the therapist for progress to be made.
So, how exactly can marriage counseling help? In a number of ways:
- Counselors help couples identify unproductive relationship patterns and give them tools to make adjustments.
- Each partner can gain new insights and perspective into the themselves, each other and relationship dynamics.
- Tools help couples resolve conflicts with grace and respect so escalation and damage can be avoided.
- Partners can begin to build trust and improve communication.
If you and your spouse decide to try marriage counseling, here are some tips for success:
- Take it seriously. Commit to the work and do it.
- Be open. Hopefully you feel free and safe to discuss your true feelings and needs in therapy. Don’t hold back but be kind. In order for therapy to work, both people have to have the courage to be vulnerable in therapy.
- Avoid the blame game. Each person must take responsibility for their part.
- Be realistic about how long it will take before real change begins. While you can begin using tools immediately, healing won’t happen overnight.
If you and your partner are experiencing marital problems, don’t wait to get help. The sooner you do, the more likely your issues can be resolved.
If you or a loved one is interested in exploring a couples accelerated intensive retreat, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I can help improve your relationship dynamics. [email protected]