Relationship counseling gives people a chance to work out issues with their partners. This process is also referred to as couples counseling. Marriage counseling gives couples the tools to improve their relationship and to learn how to better relate to one another.
In most cases, couples only need to meet with a marriage counselor a few times to work out their problems. Couples who are having more severe problems can attend marriage counseling for several months, though. Marriage counseling usually occurs on a weekly basis.
Counseling Can Help Everyone
All couples have issues that they need to work through. Each person has different beliefs, ambitions, values and wants different things from their lives and this can cause conflict. If you learn how to work together, though, there does not have to be conflict because of your differences. Couples can learn to appreciate their partner's unique views and ways of looking at things and this can actually strengthen your relationship.
At times, though, the things that make you and your partner unique can cause problems. The habits and quirks that you found cute in the beginning of the relationship can start to drive you crazy. Relationships can start to suffer if there is a traumatic event such as one partner cheating on the other. The relationship may also suffer if the couple starts to drift apart and starts to fell like they aren't connected anymore.
Regardless of what the reason for the problems in your marriage, it is very stressful and upsetting to be dealing with them every day. A lot of people ignore their problems and think they will just get better over time. The truth is the problems will probably get worse over time and cause more distress and even depression. The people around you can feel the tension when you are having marriage problems and you can even have trouble focusing at work because of the problems.
Relationship counseling can help couples overcome a variety of problems including the following:
- A partner who has had an affair
- Talk of divorce
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Dealing with physical or mental illness
- Gay and lesbian issues
- Cultural differences
- Money issues
- Loss of a job
- Step family issues
- Trouble communicating
- Issues with your sex life
- Different opinions on raising children
- Infertility issues
- Anger management
- Major life changes like retirement
- Domestic Violence
In some cases, marriage counseling can be helpful for couples dealing with domestic violence issues. If the violence has gotten to the point where you are afraid that you or your children will be seriously hurt you should seek help from the police or an organization dealing with domestic violence like a shelter. Marriage counseling by itself may not be enough to help in a relationship with domestic violence issues.
Not all couples who enter counselling do so because they have issues that need to be dealt with. Sometimes counseling is used to strengthen a relationship and help prevent issues from arising in the future. Relationship counseling can also help couples deal with issues before they even get married. Attending counseling before getting married helps couples figure out how to work through the differences that are bound to arise in their marriage.
What Happens in Relationship Counseling?
Counseling gets both people in a relationship in the same room to talk with the counselor. The counselor attempts to help the couple understand what is causing their problems and work on ways to better deal with the problems. Both the people in the relationship get to share their views of what is going on, both good and bad, in the relationship.
Through relationship counseling, couples will learn how to work together. The counselor will teach the couple communication skills and help them learn how to disagree in a healthy way. If there are serious issues causing the problems in the marriage like drug or alcohol abuse or mental illness than other specialists might be brought in to help resolve those issues.
Talking about your problems and issues in marriage counseling is sometimes difficult. You and your partner may find yourselves sitting quietly and refusing to speak to each other because you are so angry. Or you may find yourselves having a huge argument right there in the counselor's office. The marriage counselor is there to intervene and help you calmly discuss issues without implying that either of you are right or wrong.
Relationship counseling can make a difference in your marriage in a very short time. In some cases, though, marriage counseling may make you and your partner realize that you really do not belong together.
If your spouse or partner won't consider going to marriage counseling you should think about going alone. Obviously, marriage counseling is more effective if both partners attend but if you go alone you can learn how you can make a difference in the marriage by changing some of your behaviors and thought patterns.
The decision to attend marriage counseling is not usually an easy one but it is well worth the effort. Relationship counseling is a much better way to deal with issues in your relationship intread of trying to solve the issues by yourself. Which often result in replapsing into old cycles.