Marriage Counseling – Q & A

Marriage Counseling 

Marriage counseling is a form of talk-therapy. Marriage counseling can often help partners identify and resolve conflicts and improve their relationship. However, the goal of marriage counseling is not necessarily to save the marriage, but rather to help facilitate a process by which the partners can make informed and thoughtful decisions concerning whether to invest in rebuilding their relationship or whether to aimically end their relationship with each choosing to go their own way.

Why do couples seek counseling?

Partners often seek counseling when they feel misunderstood, frustrated or deeply hurt. Others seek counseling when they feel a profound sense of sadness in their relationships. Often these feelings are not new, but have been stewing for years. This is why couples that enter counseling early stand a better chance of saving their marriages.

Is it wrong to want happiness from a marriage?

It’s not wrong; it’s just not realistic to think it will be that way all the time. The first step to saving or restoring a marriage requires both partners to confront reality. There is no such thing as eternal marital bliss. Marriage requires work. It requires commitment. It is a conscious choice by both partners to suspend their respective egos in favor of the marriage. Quite often this means agreeing to give up having to be “right” in the relationship. Without such agreement, counseling can be futile.

Therapy when the partners insist on divorce

For those that choose divorce, therapy is also available. However, contrary to common belief, dissolution rarely ends the relationship. This is especially true when children are involved. Rather, dissolution is often a long and painful process involving individual growth. Couples that are committed to create a new relationship as friends and co-parents will find their transformation less painful and more constructive for all concerned.

How therapy helps when the couple wants a divorce

Dissolution often begins with pain. For many there is a quite sense of sadness and a sense of helplessness. These feelings can be caused by the onset of physical and emotional separation. For most couples, the pain and sadness can reach extraordinary levels. Dissolution often starts with a period of mourning. Sadness can be accompanied by guilt and anger. Therapy can help transition through this difficult period by allowing the full range of emotions to be expressed.

Can therapy help protect children of divorce?

Yes. Therapy emphatically discourages vindictive behavior. Tolling more emotional damage is always counterproductive, especially to children. When children are involved, a therapist will work hard to remind the parents that their focus should be on reassuring the children that the parents’ sadness was not in any way brought on by them. Moreover parents must reassure them that what the parent is going through will not impact their relationship with either parent.

Can therapy help with depression and loneliness?

Yes. Once the sadness and pain of dissolution begins to leave there is often an “identity” transition that follows. A two-person identity becomes a single identity. This transition often means relinquishing the emotional dependency in favor of establishing a new identity as a single person. This is often a painful process of self-discovery. It may involve living in a new home, exploring new interests and activities, and making new friends. During this time it is a good idea to call on trusted friends and relatives for support and encouragement.

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