Many couples find themselves in need of a tune up from time to time. Whether you have been together 6 months or 60 years, fights and growing pains are perfectly normal and natural to experience as you both grow together.
Sometimes that growth occurs in perfect harmony and unison, while at other times you might look around and realize that that “growth” is headed in opposite directions, pulling at and straining the relationship in different ways.
Perhaps the relationship received an injury in the form of a particularly nasty fight, a hidden secret, or infidelity. Sometimes injuries don’t occur in one sudden instance, instead forming around a long-term, low-level stress that was never resolved.
No matter what has occurred, relationships can always benefit from marriage or couples counseling.
How Does Marriage Counseling Work?
Now you might be wondering, How does marriage counseling work? Many people feel intimidated by coming in for marriage counseling, especially if they have never been in any sort of marriage or individual counseling or therapy before.
Well, from here on out I will attempt to outline what you might expect when coming into marriage counseling with me or any other therapist. I will outline some of my own approach, which is lar...
The Bliss of Being in Love
I remember the feeling of “being in love” when I first started dating my wife. What a thrilling experience! As I floated through each day, the world seemed like such a marvelous place. Everything beautiful reminded me of her. I would fall asleep grinning and wake up to the joyful anticipation of getting to see her or talk to her.
My heart would melt when our eyes met and she smiled. Her laughter was music. Her words were poetry. I would get flustered just talking about her. I believed all the best things about my beloved, and wanted to show her only the best parts of myself.
We would stay up all hours of the night (even if we had to work the next morning) just to spend more time together, and being together was all we needed. I had found the woman my heart longed for all my life, and I felt an exhilarating sense of fulfillment.
I could relate to the words of Dr. Seuss when he wrote: “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
Flash forward five years to the present, and I have learned that marriage in all its fullness and beauty is more demanding that the simple experience of “being in love.” As it turns out, my wife and I have countless differences that s...
Your wedding day represented a beautiful union between you and another person. A happy event with lots of celebration. Life as newlyweds seemed wonderful as you and your spouse continued to celebrate each day with each other.
Then, one day, something felt different. Maybe you couldn't name the feeling or the moment you started noticing something wasn’t right, but you do know that outside help might be needed.
As you start to look for a counselor, you might be wondering what happens in marriage counseling.
Hopefully these 7 frequently asked questions can be helpful as you make your decision.
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7 Frequently Asked Questions about What Happens in Marriage Counseling
1) How Does Marriage Counseling Work?
Every therapist is different and they each have their own unique way of working with married couples. However, some things are usually the same regardless, so we will look at what is typical. After you reach out to a therapist about counseling, you decide on a time that works for your schedule, then you and your spouse have an initial session with the therapist.
There will be a disclosure that you and y...
Codependency is an unhealthy, excessive reliance on another person. It is a learned behavior and can stem from many factors such as low self-esteem, poor boundaries, addiction, illness of a partner, or insecurity.
Codependency prevents a person from having a healthy, balanced, satisfying relationship with another person. Codependents don’t realize that there needs to be ‘space’ in a relationship. Instead, they become so enmeshed in another person that they lose their own identity.
Cоdереndеnсу сhаrасtеrіѕtісѕ аbоund, but соmmоn ones include:
- people рlеаѕіng
- hаvіng low ѕеlf-wоrth
- difficulty setting аnd kееріng bоundаrіеѕ
It'ѕ nоt easy tо lооk at уоurѕеlf іn thе mіrrоr аnd admit thаt уоu'vе bееn harboring such аttіtudеѕ аnd behaviors.
Every аrеа of hеаlіng within соdереndеnсу ѕtаrtѕ with аwаrеnеѕѕ. Acknowledge thаt people аrе not асtіng in a wау thаt is ассерtаblе tо you. You nееd tо оwn уоur fееlіngѕ and learn hоw tо be emotionally honest wіth уоurѕеlf. Onlу when уоu аrе able to be honest with уоurѕеlf, wіll о...
You are engaged. Now comes the time of planning. You have a wedding to plan, and more importantly a marriage to prepare for. Many couples can easily get caught up in the stress, detail, joy, and chaos of planning a wedding and neglect the opportunity to further examine one another’s beliefs, expectations, and realities regarding what marriage will actually look like.
This time of engagement can be full of joy and excitement in anticipation for your big day, while simultaneously be a large point of stress and conflict as you plan. With all of the organization, planning, and time spent on details for the wedding, it can be easy to slip into a pattern of decreased intentionality in pursuing intimacy.
Pre-marital counseling can help with this. The purpose is to improve your relationship to be stronger, increase intimacy, as well as to shine light on topics or issues that you, as a couple, can benefit from with intentional conversations.
Pre-Marriage Counseling Topics to Increase Intimacy
There are several pre-marriage counseling topics that will help increase intimacy in the relationship and assist in becoming more prepared for what marriage has in store. Here are four of them:
Couples may struggle with communication and therefo...
If you’ve found yourself here, something’s probably not going as planned. Where did it go wrong? Why can’t he just listen to me? Why can’t she understand? How could he have done that to me? Perhaps these are some of the questions you might be asking yourself.
You’ve opened up your computer or phone and have started searching for answers to these questions. You’re looking to make sense of what’s happened in the last six months or six years.
Let me first say, just by looking for some understanding you’re taking great first steps toward growth in your marriage. Acknowledging the invasion of marital pain and stress shows great potential for you to grow both personally and as a couple.
Often, such as in this very moment, we tend to look for help on the internet – but why is that? Hopefully by reading this article you’ll find some comfort and hope; I desire that for you. However, we can gain so much more from interpersonal interaction.
If you were learning to play the rules of a new game with your partner, such as a sport or board game, would you rather read about it online or get into it and learn through experience? I would guess the latter. Why then, when the stakes are so much higher, do we seek help through the online world?
There’s the obviou...
Choosing to see a marriage counselor can be an unnerving proposition. We want our relationship to improve, but then it always begins with our having to be vulnerable with a stranger. The good news is that most counselors are used to this discomfort and skilled at helping new clients through the process. Having said that, we do not have to go in to marriage counseling unprepared.
6 Marriage Counseling Questions to Ask Yourself
Below are 6 marriage counseling questions you can answer for yourself as you begin this process to allay some of the mystery.
1. What do I want?
This may seem like a silly question at first. If we have gotten to the point of wanting to see a counselor, there are serious issues that are likely pretty obvious. It will help, however, if we can express what we want without generalities. We can decrease our discomfort with the transition into counseling by having specific, realistic expectations about what is possible and how long it will take. Recovery takes time and we have to be willing to be in it for the long haul.
Here are a few more and less useful examples of answers to this question:
“I want my spouse to stop treating me like the enemy.”
This is a great short-term, specific, and realistic g...