Marriage counseling is often viewed as a last resort for couples whose relationships are on the brink of collapse. It's seen as a sign of weakness, a failure to make a marriage work on one's own. But the truth is, seeking help from a marriage counselor is a sign of strength. It takes courage and humility to acknowledge that a relationship needs work and then take the necessary steps to improve it.
Many couples find themselves in a marriage counselors office well into a downward spiral in their relationship. My heart hurts for them as many avoided seeing a marriage counselor due to the stigmas of seeking marriage counseling. These stigmas keep some couples out of a marriage counselor’s office altogether.
Successful couples swear by the benefits of marriage counseling. Many relationships experience improved communication, strengthened emotional bonds, and a deeper understanding of each other. These are just a few of the positive outcomes. So why is there still such a stigma attached to seeking help from a marriage counselor? In this article, we'll break down those stigmas and explore why seeing a marriage counselor is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Common misconceptions about marriage counseling
One of the biggest misconceptions about marriage counseling is that it's only for couples who are on the brink of divorce. Many people think that seeking help from a professional means that their relationship is doomed. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. Marriage counseling is for anyone who wants to improve their relationship. The goal can be anywhere from addressing small issues before they become big problems to working through major challenges threatening the marriage. Another common misconception is that marriage counseling is solely focused on communication. While communication is a crucial part of any relationship, marriage counseling is about much more than that. Bad communication is often resolved through working on the relationship bond itself. Marriage counseling is about learning to understand your needs, your partner’s needs, and building a stronger emotional connection in the process.
Some people believe that seeing a marriage counselor means that they have failed to make their marriage work. This couldn't be further from the truth. Seeking help from a marriage counselor is a sign of strength, not weakness. It takes courage and humility to acknowledge that a relationship needs work and to take the necessary steps to improve it. I often ask couples how many couples do they know that have a great marriage. Their response is usually not many to none. A great marriage takes work and can be experienced through proactive steps toward building a healthier and happier relationship.
Don’t let common misconceptions about marriage counseling keep you from healing your relationship and experiencing it in a close, connected and fulfilling way.
Benefits of marriage counseling
There are numerous benefits to seeking help from a marriage counselor. One of the most significant benefits is a stronger bond in your relationship. As you work through challenges together, you'll likely find that you become closer and more connected. This can help build a deeper level of trust and intimacy, leading to a more fulfilling relationship. Couples that experience this type of connection experience a secure bond in their marriage, but also tend to experience other positive benefits related to mental health. A relationship that is experienced as a safe haven and secure base is often a resource for resolving other mental health challenges. It also serves as a protective factor that improves resiliency and stability providing emotional balance in other areas of life.
Improved communication is also a benefit of marriage counseling and a product of a strong bond. It is not unusual for couples to struggle to communicate effectively. This leads to misunderstanding, hurt, and disconnection. A marriage counselor can help you connect in an authentic and genuine way. This connection can facilitate communicate in a way that is both effective and respectful, allowing you to understand each other's perspectives and needs.
Marriage counseling can also help you learn to manage conflict in a healthy way. Conflicts are a natural part of any relationship, but it's how you handle those conflicts that can make or break a relationship. A marriage counselor can help you learn to resolve conflicts in a way that is fair and respectful, without resorting to blame, criticism, or shutting down during conflict. Couples that experience managing conflict in a health way learn conflict is not something to be avoided at all costs, but a common experience is all relationships that does not need to be disastrous.
Research and statistics supporting marriage counseling
Research has shown that marriage counseling is an effective way to improve relationships. According to the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), 98% of couples who have undergone marriage counseling report that they received good or excellent therapy, and 97% of couples said that they got the help they needed. Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy found that couples who received marriage counseling reported significantly greater improvements in relationship satisfaction compared to couples who did not receive counseling.
Signs that indicate it's time to see a marriage counselor
It's important to know when it's time to seek help from a marriage counselor. While every couple is different, there are several signs that may indicate that it's time to seek help. These include:
Communication breakdown: If you find that you and your partner are struggling to communicate effectively, or if you feel like your partner doesn't understand you, it may be time to seek help.
Consistent conflict: If you find that you and your partner are constantly arguing or fighting, it may be a sign that there are underlying issues that need to be addressed.
Lack of intimacy: If you feel like you and your partner have lost the spark in your relationship, or if you're struggling to connect on an emotional or physical level, it may be time to seek help.
Infidelity: If one or both partners have been unfaithful, it can be an extremely difficult issue to work through. A marriage counselor can help you navigate this challenging time and work towards rebuilding trust.
Finding the right marriage counselor for you and your partner
Finding the right marriage counselor is crucial to the success of your therapy. It's important to find someone who is trained and experienced in working with couples, and who you feel comfortable talking to. There are several ways to find a marriage counselor, including:
Referrals from friends or family members who have undergone marriage counseling
Online directories such as Psychology Today or "find a therapist" pages on couples therapy websites
Counselors who only see individuals often have great recommendations for marriage counselors
It's important to do your research and find a counselor who is the right fit for you and your partner.
What to expect during a marriage counseling session
Marriage counseling sessions typically last around 50 minutes to an hour. During your first session, your counselor will likely ask you and your partner to talk about your relationship and the issues that you're currently facing. They may also ask questions about your individual backgrounds and family histories, as well as your goals for therapy. Throughout your sessions, your counselor will work with you to identify patterns in your relationship, improve communication, and develop strategies for resolving conflicts.
Success stories of couples who have benefitted from marriage counseling
There are countless success stories of couples who have benefitted from marriage counseling. These stories often involve couples who were on the brink of divorce but were able to turn their relationship around with the help of a skilled therapist. By learning to communicate effectively, manage conflict, and understand each other's needs, these couples were able to build stronger, healthier relationships.
Encouraging others to seek help and break down stigmas surrounding marriage counseling.
The bottom line to all of this is help from a marriage counselor is a sign of strength, not weakness. By addressing issues early on and taking proactive steps to improve your relationship, you can build a stronger, healthier, and more fulfilling relationship with your partner. It's important to break down the stigmas surrounding marriage counseling and encourage couples to seek help when they need it. Don’t be that couple that avoids marriage counseling due to stigmas and find yourself in a marriage counselors office well into a downward spiral in your relationship. These stigmas keep some couples out of a marriage counselor’s office altogether. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Services at Valiant Couples Therapy and Marriage Counseling
Our team in our Fuquay Varina counseling clinic specializes in couples & marriage counseling throughout North Carolina and Florida. Couples & marriage counseling is not the only service we offer. Valiant Couples Therapy and Marriage Counseling provides individual therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, couples intensives, Christian marriage counseling, online therapy, and couples workshops. Request an appointment and let us know how we can help honor your valiant steps toward renewal.