It is estimated that 40-50% of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. Some people choose to stay silent in an unhappy marriage until their distress and resentment build to a point where they feel divorce is unavoidable. Other couples may try hard to make their marriage successful, but after they feel like they’ve tried everything, they too may feel as if divorce is the only option left. Very few couples consider marriage counseling when trying to resolve their issues.
Approximately 75% of couples who try marriage counseling believe they benefited from the experience. This is a very impressive statistic, especially when you consider the fact that one partner may be unmotivated in the first few sessions because he or she was opposed to seeking marriage counseling in the first place. Marriage counseling has helped thousands of couples to work through complex challenges involving:
- Communication issues
- Lack of intimacy
- Trust issues
- Financial issues
- Sexual issues
- Conflicts in parenting style
- Relationships issues with relatives
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If you and your partner are having relationship problems, marriage counseling may be able to help. Working with a licensed marriage and family therapist can help you to:
1. Re-Open the lines of communication – Every marriage has problems. However a guaranteed way to make them worse is to give each other the silent treatment. Marriage counseling provides a neutral setting where you and your partner can lower your defenses and re-establish those essential lines of communication. This is crucial in helping all parties to identify the underlying issues that need to be addressed.
2. Learn new communication skills – When conflict is in a marriage, communication may be reduced to shouting and/or stonewalling. In a marriage counseling session, you and your partner will learn how to communicate in a way that expresses your opinions clearly without causing offense.
3. Learn how to deal with any painful emotions you and your spouse may have – Intense emotions may cause you or your spouse to attack each other verbally or physically. Marriage counseling can help you to control your emotions better and respond to outbursts in a healthy, positive manner.
4. Get a better understanding of your spouse’s needs – Once the lines of communication are open and you and your spouse are able to express your thoughts and feelings in a constructive way, you will have a much better idea of what you both need to make the marriage work. When these needs are clearly identified you can take the necessary steps to address them effectively.
5. Resolve long-standing conflicts – Opening up and talking in a marriage counseling session gets easier the more you do it. As your sessions continue, it will become easier for you and your partner to discuss and work on painful problems that may have been affecting your marriage for years.
6. Strengthen your emotional connection – Many marriage mates report that they have a stronger emotional bond after trying marriage counseling. In fact, it is quite common for people who have been married for years to learn new things about themselves and their spouse. When you have a strong emotional bond with your partner, it often contributes to increased intimacy.
7. Learn how to process and manage future conflicts – Couples may leave marriage counseling with a healthier relationship. However, problems will arise in the future. Marriage counseling equips you and your partner with the practical skills and strategies you need to deal with new challenges as they arise.
If you think your marriage would benefit from marriage counseling, talk with your spouse about it. There are many advantages to working with a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in resolving relationship issues. Even if you believe you are at the point where nothing can save your relationship, do not give up until you try marriage counseling. Many couples have been pleasantly surprised at how effective the approach can be.