It was like yesterday when you agreed to marry your spouse, and it all seemed beautiful. However, it is obvious that your marriage has entered a rough patch.
You haven’t discussed separation yet, but considering how things are going, it wouldn’t be a surprise if someone of you two filed for divorce.
If you are willing to work on your relationship, you can consider visiting a marriage counselor. Spouses that have never visited a professional before may be worried about what to expect from marriage counseling, which is why they should read this guide.
Do You Need Marriage Counseling?
The first thing you want to ensure is that marriage counseling is the right move. The general rule is that a professional can help with various problems in your marriage. Some of the signs that indicate it is the time to visit a counselor include:
- Low or no communication – you noticed that you hardly speak with your spouse anymore. You may even be afraid to say anything when you are around them. Communication is the basis of every relationship, and you should start worrying if something is not right in that area.
- You are constantly arguing – it is even worse than when you get in a fight for no valid reason. If you are getting in heated pointless arguments (for example, which music band is better), that may be a sign of deeper underlying problems.
- You keep secrets – it may not even be keeping secrets, but more like a lack of opportunity to share important information about your life. Everything brings us back to communication again, and you may get assistance to resolve this issue from a counselor.
- One of you had an affair – if any of the parties has confessed infidelity, marriage counseling can help you get through that rough patch. If you are the one who had an affair, perhaps visiting a counselor can help you find the right way to tell your spouse.
Can Marriage Counseling Save a Marriage?
While it is impossible with a definite yes, there is no doubt that marriage counseling can assist spouses to save their marriage.
Counselors are professionals that have years of experience under their belt. They also have the necessary qualifications and skills to help you get through a rough patch in your marriage.
Visiting a professional can help you to establish communication with your spouse. They can help you to deal with any conflict in a healthy and friendly manner.
The major benefits of counseling include knowing how to resolve issues without arguing, but also understanding your spouse better. That includes a better understanding of their personality, as well as learning about their needs and marriage expectations.
Related reading: Should You Stay Married After Infidelity?
Marriage Counseling Questions
If you are wondering what to expect from marriage counseling during your first visit, the answer is plenty of questions.
There are two types of questions – first ones will be asked by your counselor, and then you will resort to asking questions to each other. The therapist might ask you about how you see your marriage, but you also may need to answer some questions related to your life and personality.
If it is easier for you to get used to counseling, you may even schedule a session separately. However, even if each spouse visits the therapist separately, it is essential that you both agree to counseling. Also, you will need to have mutual sessions for the therapy to work.
Which Questions Should You Ask Your Partner During Counseling?
Here is an overview of questions that you may ask your spouse during therapy sessions:
- What do you see as our biggest problem? – you should both openly reveal what you identify as the biggest issues in your marriage and overall relationship.
- How long has your marriage been going through a rough patch? – the spouses may have a different view on when and how the problems started, which is why it is important that each spouse expresses their point of view.
- How can I change to improve our marriage? – There is no such thing as a perfect person, and we can all improve. You should discuss how you can change to enhance your relationship.
- What is your favorite thing about me? – you are going through a rough patch, and it couldn’t hurt to focus on the positive for a bit.
Some other topics you should discuss include sex life, how you see the future, trust issues, etc. In short, make sure to mention everything that might bother you.
Related reading: Forgiving Your Wife After An Affair
Marriage Counseling Tips
Honesty is the key to successful marriage counseling. There is no point in visiting a professional if you are not willing to be honest and emotionally engage in repairing your relationship.
The fact that you are open will also make you vulnerable, but that is the risk you should be ready to take.
Apart from that, here are some other tips that you may apply during the sessions:
- Learn to talk, but also listen – you need to be expressive and openly talk about your feelings, but you should also learn to listen. That includes listening to your spouse and their answers and taking them into consideration, as well as listening to the suggestions and insights your therapist makes.
- Expect to do some homework – your counselor will suggest on a certain course of activities that you should try between the sessions. It is vital to put in the effort to make these activities work out, and be ready to talk about them in your next session.
- Counseling is no time to pity someone – the counselor’s primary task is to act as a mediator, which means they shouldn’t side with anyone. That is why neither spouse should play the pity card.
- Learn to let go – you will discuss many things from the past during your sessions. Perhaps some of them require discussions, but you should also be ready to let go of things that happened a long time ago.
- Don’t be too hard on your spouse or yourself – the idea is to discuss any issue that appears in your relationship. That is why it is vital not to blame each other, and give your best to talk honestly.
How to Know If Marriage Counseling Works
When it comes to what to expect from marriage counseling, it is important to note that simply visiting a counselor won’t be sufficient.
It is crucial that both you and your spouse are willing to work on your issues.
The easiest way to know that counseling works is to sit down and analyze your relationship.
If you see that there is an obvious improvement in communication and other areas, it will be an obvious confirmation that you are making progress, and that is the road you should stick to in the future.