What is Marriage Counseling?

You and your spouse just got through another dreaded fight, one in which neither of you could agree and you both ended up with hurt feelings. You’ve thought several times of ways you could try to fix your marriage- ways to help your partner understand you better, what you can say for them to actually listen and do what you need. Yet nothing seems to last.

Now you’re really giving thought to the idea of marriage counseling. And you’re ready to tackle these issues head-on.

When you decide to start counseling, it’s a big, intentional step in improving your marriage. So first, take time to inform yourself of what to expect in marriage counseling. As a couples therapist, I’ve recognized 10 core myths that couples frequently believe. I see these myths often holding couples back from starting therapy and even from reaching their goals in therapy.

Here are the 10 basic myths of marriage counseling:

Myth 1: It’s just going to be me and my partner saying how we feel a lot.

Counseling is so much more than that. The therapist pays close attention to how you and your partner communicate, and helps you both work together to become aware of and change the pattern you get stuck in, and plan for how to handle future issues that may arise. Learn more about couples therapy HERE.

Myth 2: All therapists are the same. I’ve even been to therapy and it didn’t help.

Counseling is different for everyone, and all therapists are different. When looking for a couples therapist, seek out someone who speaks to your needs and is specialized in working with couples. Do your research and find a therapist who is a good fit for you.

Myth 3: The therapist will take my partner’s side.

Marriage counseling is about finding balance and giving each partner space to share and grow. Marriage and family therapists have extensive training in working with more than one person at a time. An effective therapist will help each of you recognize points of change and will maintain balance to see both sides equally.

Myth 4: We can get all of our problems resolved in just a couple of sessions.

Oftentimes, couples may come into therapy with emotional baggage that has built up over time. It can sometimes take 3-4 months of consistent sessions for both you and your spouse to work through everything. Know that that is normal, and just because it can take you some time, doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed.

Myth 5: We’ll be in marriage counseling forever.

On the other hand from the previous myth, therapy also does not last forever. Some couples are able to experience lasting change in just a few sessions. An effective therapist is mindful of your investment through time and finances, and will help you both work hard in session to efficiently create new and improved ways of communicating.

Myth 6: Older is better.

There’s the old idea of your therapist being a gray-haired man with glasses sitting in his desk chair and having all the secrets to life. That is not often the case. Research even shows that after about a year of practice, a therapist’s effectiveness is not determined by the length of experience. Instead of looking for the classic idea of someone who has lived far more experiences than you, find a therapist who you can relate to and who speaks to your specific needs.

Myth 7: My insurance covers marriage counseling.

Insurance companies do not often cover couples therapy. Many couples therapists now do not accept insurance, so that they are able to provide more flexibility and privacy to the couple. Learn more about the benefits of not using insurance HERE.

Myth 8: Therapy costs too much.

Therapy can look expensive at first, especially without using insurance, but it is also time-limited. As discussed earlier, you’re not going to be in therapy forever, and it often lasts less than a few months. When you invest in therapy, look for a therapist who has the skills to effectively help you. It may be more of an investment upfront, but it can save your marriage thousands when compared to a divorce.

Myth 9: I think I just need individual therapy first.

While there are some issues that may benefit best from individual work, couples counseling can often be the front line for personal issues you each may be experiencing. You don’t live in an isolated bubble, so your partner is affected by and can support you through other issues as well. Talk with the therapist before starting counseling to determine which approach may be best suited to you and your spouse.

Myth 10: Marriage counseling is just for those couples who are probably going to divorce. We would be weak if we needed help.

Going to counseling to help your marriage can definitely be a step in vulnerability, but it certainly does not mean you are weak. By addressing issues head-on, you’re gaining strength to work for your marriage and to prevent divorce.

Now that we’ve busted all the myths of marriage counseling, talk with your spouse about taking a step toward repairing your marriage.

Couples counseling is a great step to take when you want more for your relationship. Whether it’s smaller issues that you want to work through now to prevent more damage in the future, or if it’s intense, hurtful experiences your relationship has suffered over time, you and your partner can benefit from seeking help and investing in your marriage.

If you’re in Greenville, Simpsonville, or surrounding areas in South Carolina, reach out HERE today to schedule a free consultation and discuss how couples counseling can help improve your marriage.