Falling in love can be difficult, a wedding can be stressful, but the real job is the marriage. Connecting your life with another human being is a difficult task. Your finances, work hours, sex life, parenting and personal struggles are now shared with another individual. It’s no wonder why more than 40 percent of marriages end in divorce. That statistic could be much lower if more couples were willing to use the tools available through effective marriage counseling.
What is Marriage Therapy?
Marriage therapy is counseling that is specifically focused on marriage and relationships. It is a safe space for any type of couple to hash it out and is often used in conjunction with family therapy. Innovative Family Therapy in Louisville, KY is focused on conflict resolution and improving your relationship with your spouse. Marriage therapy isn’t about finding a villain, a victim, or placing blame. It’s about communication and resolution.
10 Reasons You May Need Marriage Therapy
You’re still arguing about money, sex is lackluster, and the in-law issues are getting worse. The truth is – time heals basically nothing. Unhealthy behavior and resentful feelings can become more difficult to change the longer that they continue. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, we suggest you make an appointment for marriage counseling.
- You’ve grown apart: Sometimes after years of doing life together, your spouse starts to feel more like a roommate than a partner. Over time, couples forget what brought them together in the first place and the distance can create problems.
- You clash about money: Money is always one of the biggest issues in marriage relationships. It doesn’t matter what the bank account balance is – money is often a source of conflict in couples. If you combine this with health problems, career issues, or a housing market burst, things only get worse.
- Someone has been unfaithful: Infidelity in the form of an extramarital affair, emotional betrayal, or hiding something secretive all destroy trust in a relationship. About 30 percent of couples survive an affair, but only with the help of professional marriage counseling.
- You have lots of unproductive, hurtful arguments: Fighting with your spouse may be inevitable but hurting one another in the process is optional. Understanding your conflict styles can help couples to learn how to “fight fair” and have productive discussions rather than hurtful arguments.
- You’re going through a big transition: Any type of life transition is a good time for marriage counseling. This may include things like a new baby, a big move, career change, medical illness, having parents or in-laws move in, an empty nest, retirement, etc.
- You want to avoid divorce: If you’re considering marriage counseling, chances are you’ve also considered divorce. For many couples, a messy divorce is the last thing they want – but may feel it’s inevitable. Therapy can often heal conflict and leave couples stronger than ever. On the other hand, marriage counseling may help you create a more amicable split and manage your divorce on good terms.
- Communication has become negative: If it’s difficult to have a conversation or make a decision without fighting about it, it’s time to call a marriage counselor. Communication issues are present in almost every relationship and avoiding them only makes them worse. Learn new communication styles and how to truly hear to understand rather than making every discussion an argument.
- When the partners do not know how to resolve their differences: Many times, a couple can identify the issue, but they don’t know how to fix it. This is the perfect time to make an appointment for marriage counseling. If you’re stuck without a resolution, a skilled therapist can help you move in the right direction.
- When the only resolution appears to be separation: Separation may be an option, but it’s never the only option. If a couple wants to stay together but can’t see how to make it work, marriage counseling may be the answer. Usually, a separation will only make things worse by avoiding the issue whereas counseling can deal with the issue head on and heal wounds to allow for a more optimistic future.
- When a couple is staying together for the sake of the children:If a couple feels their best option is to stay together for the kids, they are often actually creating a more toxic environment for their kids to live through. Rather than suffer through until the kids graduate, resolving issues with marriage counseling can move towards a healthy relationship and provide your kids a role model rather than a façade.
Benefits of Marriage Therapy and Counseling
According to the American Psychological Association, about 75 percent of couples who opt for therapy say it improves their relationships. It’s clear why marriage therapy is so beneficial. For many couples, it’s the only hour during the week that’s solely dedicated to focusing on each other. The numerous benefits of marriage therapy and counseling can fundamentally change your relationship.
- You get unstuck and change old patterns of thinking and behaving.
- You realize your fears and how they may be holding you back in your relationships.
- You commit to growth both on an individual level and with your spouse.
- You deepen intimacy and connection with your spouse which opens your relationship up to learning new things about one another.
- You get a personal trainer, but for your relationship – to make it stronger and more resilient.
- You learn to forgive and let go of past mistakes, heal old wounds, and move forward with optimism.
- You may understand how to deal with your and your partner’s unpleasant emotions without mirroring their behavior and letting it affect you.
- You can work with your partner to develop better parenting strategies and solve parenting issues together.
What to Expect From Your Marriage Therapy Session?
It’s normal to be nervous about starting marriage therapy. After all, if you’re having difficulty communicating with your spouse – how are you supposed to talk to a complete stranger? At Innovative Family Therapy in Louisville, KY we are here to help. All you need to do is show up with an open mind and a willing heart and we will take it from there. Each marriage is unique and so is every session of marriage counseling. However, there are some topics and tools you can expect from your marriage therapy session(s).
- Understand and discuss the history of your relationship and past issues.
- Remove the fear of incompatibility and/or address concerns about divorce.
- Understanding the importance of vulnerability and the role it plays in your relationship.
- Uncovering the real causes of distress rather than the symptoms that show up at home.
- Learning specific tools to improve closeness and connection in both everyday activities and intimacy.
- Learning how to quickly repair conflicts in the moment rather than allowing issues to fester over time.
- Finding ways to support each partner’s goals and dreams
- Resolving past incidents in the relationship that were never resolved and might be affecting the present.
- Teaching anger management
- Goals setting for your marriage and your family in the future.
What To Know Before Entering Marriage Therapy
Marriage counseling is unique to every couple. It is significantly different from individual therapy as the focus is on the relationship itself, rather than the individual. Before you begin, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- The counselor can’t save your marriage: The job of a marriage counselor is to guide you to fix your own marriage, not to do it for you. You must put in the effort to follow their suggestions and use the tools. Only then, will your marriage improve.
- Most of the work is done outside of sessions: Yes, meeting with a marriage counselor can be tremendously beneficial. But it’s what happens in between sessions that really makes the difference. It’s practicing new habits, being willing to be uncomfortable, and pushing yourself will make the biggest difference.
- It only works if you both want it to: You may be resistant to the idea of counseling, but if you want it to work and you’re willing to at least try – you’re on the right path. Some individuals have different reasons for making the marriage work, and that’s OK – but there must be some level of desire for therapy to be effective.
- It’s not a guaranteed fix: Every couple that comes to marriage counseling is unique. In some cases, your marriage therapist may help you discover that you are better off being apart. In some cases, ending the relationship is the best decision. No matter what happens, you and your partner are ultimately in charge of your own relationship.
- There needs to be open communication: Counseling at Innovative Family Therapy in Louisville, KY is not a seminar or a lecture hall. It is a safe place to be open and honest with your spouse and your therapist. It’s important to be willing to communicate with integrity, without allowing shame or embarrassment to hold you back. If you’re willing to do the tough stuff, marriage counseling can be profoundly beneficial.
Marriage Therapy and Counseling FAQs