The short answer is - it depends! So, why does marriage counseling seem to help some people and not others?
Marriage Counseling is not a miracle cure for a bad relationship. Most people do benefit from counseling, but there are couples who just don’t seem to benefit from marriage counseling.
So what’s the difference between a couple who experiences success in counseling and a couple who leaves counseling with no hope? Here are a few factors that can affect the success of marriage counseling:
Entering Marriage Counseling with an Open or Closed Mind
Many couples enter marriage counseling seemingly looking for 'permission' to get divorced. They come in because they want to be able to tell their kids they tried everything they could..but really, they aren't even there to try. Marriage counseling just seems to end up as a check on the list of things they need to do before they divorce. As you can probably imagine, things won't improve for this couple.
Others enter counseling thinking they have already tried and they just can't get along. They are looking for a counselor to sort of 'let them off the hook' because they've already given up. Obviously, this will not reap any positive results.
If you enter into counseling with an open mind about your marriage, it will go a long way. A marriage counselor is there to try to help you meet your goals. Think about what your goals are before hand and enter into counseling with a positive mindset and you will have a likely chance of making a real change in your marriage for the better.
Using Your Time in Marriage Counseling Sessions to Prove Your Spouse is Wrong
If your goal is to get your spouse to change, it just won’t be work or be helpful. Unfortunately, many people seem to think that going to counseling will get their SO to change habits, personality, etc. but that just isn't the case. Coming into your first marriage counseling session ready to share all the things their spouse does ' wrong' will not bring you any positive results. Marriage counseling will only help when YOU are ready and willing to make change for yourself.
Speaking of Which, Unwillingness to Change Will Get You Nowhere with Marriage Counseling
I cannot stress it enough - marriage counseling requires an open mind. In order to benefit from counseling, you need to be open to hearing suggestions, feedback (whether positive or negative) and ideas. If you aren’t willing to change, you will not make progress and the same problems will continue.
It must be acknowledged that creating change requires hard work and a true commitment. If you aren’t ready to make the effort to change, counseling will not get you there. You must also exhibit patience because change will not happen overnight or even in a week. But over time, you can develop new habits that can positively bring change to your relationship with not only your spouse but also yourself.
If Your Marriage Counselor Give You Homework - Do It!
What happens during a 30-90 minute counseling appointment won’t change your life. It is what you do after your appointment is when change can take place, when effort is given. Your willingness to complete your homework assignments given by your counselor will make a big difference in whether or not you will make any progress. Come to your next session prepared and ready to discuss your homework so you can all learn what works and what doesn't so you can improve throughout the process.
Making Counseling a Real Priority in Your Life
Counseling will not work if it isn’t a high priority in your life. Just like with anything, you get what you put into it. If you want to get the most from counseling, you need to make the effort and take it seriously.
Make sure you are in the right frame of mind, you listen intently and with and open mind, and you keep up with your homework and marriage counseling really can help! If you are ready to take the step into marriage counseling in the Columbus, OH area, get in touch with me through my contact page and I'll be happy to help!