I get this question often.
The big answer is, it depends.
I’m sure you’re not surprised by that answer. There are so many factors to consider in marriage counseling. Your personal relationship, AND your spouse’s frame of mind are two big issues. It makes that question almost impossible to answer.
The reality is counseling works for some people but not for others. There are a lot of reasons for this. Too many reasons to even list.
So what I want to do in this article is cover a few key Concepts I believe are important.
In This Article
- How to choose the right counselor.
- Five things to know if you do go to counseling
- An alternative that may suit you well
- Closing comments
Here’s what will cover:
1. How to choose the right counselor.
2. Five things to know if you do go to counseling.
3. And alternative that may suit you well.
Before we get started, I write about marriage restoration and relationship issues, If you want to get my latest articles, click the link and join the list to get the most up-to-date information and research on building great relationships. Join here.
So let’s dig in…
How to choose the right counselor.
Here are a few things you should consider when choosing a marriage counselor.
1) Their Temperament.
Let’s face it. There are some personality types that fit better with our temperament and personality than others. The last thing we want to have is a conflict with our counselor. We should be able to easily get along with the one who is giving us Council and advice.
Some counselors are direct and almost brutally to the point. This works well for those who like directness. It’s okay for those ‘no frill’ people who l want to be told straight up what to do.
For others this doesn’t work. The abrasiveness is a turn off.
Some counselors have an approach more like therapy. They want to draw things out of you. This means they spend a lot of time asking questions and listening for your response.
For many people this works perfect. They like the fact that they’re heard. They are listened to. But for others this doesn’t work. They don’t like the long-drawn-out process. They prefer the more direct approach.
It really comes down to what are you looking for in a marriage counselor.
This has more to do with the counselors method and approach to counseling. We’ll get into that in a moment.
2) Their Philosophy of Counseling.
Counseling is a lot like religion. It comes in many shapes forms sizes And ideologies.
For example, if you come from a Christian background, you are well aware that there are many denominations. These represent the various approaches of Christianity. People practice their religion in different ways.. You have Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and various Protestant denominations.
Even within the Protestant denomination you have a multitude of options and methods. There are Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Pentecostal denominations. Even those who consider themselves non denominational or even interdenominational.
My point is that within every field of study, whether it’s psychology or theology, there are many ideas and approaches to the subject.
What does this mean for you?
It means you must do your research and study to make sure the person who is giving you counseling advice is in sync with your beliefs and needs.
For example, if you are a Christian you probably want to seek someone who holds your religious beliefs. This will help you stay true to your religious convictions. Its will keep you from experiencing inner conflict. It will help ensure your counselor doesn’t encourage you to do something that is not congruent with your religious beliefs.
Quick example: Years ago I knew a Pastor who went to see a marriage counselor. He and his wife were having trouble because of stress in ministry. The counselor advised him to masturbate by looking at pornography. This, he said, would help him relieve stress.
As you can imagine, this pastor had conflict with this advice. It contradicted everything he believed about fidelity in marriage.This is why this point is so important. Do your homework.
3) Their method of counseling.
We’ve already talked about this briefly. Methodology simply means how the counselor approaches the subject of marriage counseling?
It has to do, as the term implies, with the method they use. It’s the ‘how they do it’ part of counseling.
This is important. It determines their approach to the whole issue of marriage and marriage restoration.
I mentioned earlier that temperament and personality bleeds over into method. But method is much bigger then the counselor’s temperament. Method determines their entire approach to the subject.
Five things to know if you do go to counseling
If you choose to go the marriage counseling route here’s some things you should remember
1. Approach the subject with hope.
Your mindset plays a huge factor in the outcomes you get. We know this is true and every area of life. It’s no less true about your marriage and getting Council to help you work through issues.
If you want to read more about getting hope, check out our page on ‘Save the Marriage.’
2. Be open-minded.
A lot of times we go into situations wanting to hear what we want to hear. We only want to say what we think needs to be said. But when working with a good counselor they will take you on a journey of self-discovery. So don’t be closed. Don’t have eeconceived ideas about what you think needs to be done. After all they are the professional. So go with an open mind.
3. Know what you want to accomplish.
This may seem like it contradicts the previous point but stay with me and I’ll explain.
It’s probably best To frame this with a few questions.
Are you seeking counsel to help you get over a disappointment. For example an affair or infidelity of some type?
Are you seeking counsel To help you work through your childhood issues that are affecting your relationship?
Are you seeking counsel to learn how To better relate to your spouse because you feel disconnected?
I could go on with the questions but I think you get the point.
For example, if your spouse has had an affair, you are looking for a certain type of counsel. You are probably looking for someone to help you work through your hurt, anger, disappointment, and wounds. This is quite different from Council you need to know how to communicate effectively. Do you see the difference?
So while it may seem to contradict the previous point, they actually work hand-in-hand.
4. Be prepared.
What do I mean by this?
First, you need to be prepared to be honest. Don’t waste time Avoiding the real issues that are causing you pain.
Next, you need to be prepared to listen. We often get caught up in the cycle of just talking about the problem over and over and over. There is a time to do that, but we also need to be prepared to stop and to listen to what council is being given to us.
Finally, you need to be prepared to do some homework. Rarely is counseling merely about getting something off your chest. To really work through the issues you need to be prepared to do some homework.
That may mean really doing an evaluation of your life and the real core issues that are causing you problems.
It also may mean homework in the llense of the word. Your counselor may give you some things to do in order to move forward in the healing process.
This could include Reading, Writing in a journal, confronting yourself or someone else, or a myriad of other things. The point is, Most of the time working through issues to repair your marriage and yourself requires us to do some work.
So be prepared to do the work.
5. Be committed once you begin.
One of the biggest problems I’ve seen with people in counseling is that they abandoned the process to soon. So if you’re going to do it, do it.
Don’t abandon the work just because it gets tough. Getting better sometimes Means facing things head-on and that can be painful. But stick to it.
I always advise people that if they’re going to do counseling, they need to commit to a certain number of sessions. Many times the counselor will have a certain number of sessions recommends. So work with him or her to figure this out. But be committed to it once you start the process.
An alternative that may suit you well
A few statistics you might want to consider when considering counseling.
Dr. Lee baucom States that marriage therapy is only successful in about 20% of cases. That’s not a very good track record.
Another issue has to do with method. Most marriage counselors are NOT trained in the ‘couples therapy.’ They usually only address the individual.
Here’s a short video that explains what I’m talking about.
So is there an alternative?
I believe there is. In fact one of our recommendations is the ‘Save The Marriage System‘ by Dr Baucom. You can read more about that here.
The ‘Save The Marriage System’ is a program that has four modules in eBook form. We like this because you have instant access To the material.
It also includes several bonuses in audio format. They are also instant downloads so you can listen immediately after purchasing the program.
But the biggest reason we recommend this program is that Dr. Baucom also offers consultation. There is a cost to this but program is worth it.
Before you set up your counseling or consultation with Dr. Baucom read through the material. This will help you understand his approach. You can immediately begin to put in his steps into practice. This will give you a jump start on repairing your marriage.
His website has several testimonials from people who have been on the verge of divorce, yet they’ve seen their marriage restored.
I believe your marriage can be saved. I know that’s a bold statement, but it’s a fundamental belief I hold in my heart.
The steps you take in this process of getting help to repair your marriage is vital. The truth is doing the wrong thing Can put your marriage in further jeopardy.
That’s the one big reason counseling can help. When you don’t know what to do, you need to seek help from someone else. Someone who does know what to do.
Use the criteria above to find a counselor that fits you. Seek out help that can get your head straight so you can make the right decisions.
Our life Is the result and consequences of the decisions and thoughts that we hold.
Read that statement again. It holds a key to moving forward in restoring your marriage and cultivating the kind of marriage you’ve always dreamed about.
This is an important Next Step…
Get your hands on resources that can help you understand where you are, how you got there, and the right steps to take To get you to where you want to be.
There are many great books that can give you insight And help you understand the dynamics of marriage relationships.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the best places to begin is with Dr Baucom’s resources on Save the Marriage System.
I want to be upfront with you, I am an affiliate for Save the marriage system. All that means is I get a small commission if you purchase the material through this link. The cost of the resource doesn’t go up because you buy it here. I just believe in this material so much I wanted to partner with Dr. Baucom to get the message out.
I also have a few books I recommend. If you want a list of those books check out our marriage toolkit.
One final thought…
I believe if you put the work in and take the right steps you can not only repair your marriage but you can have the marriage of your dreams.
What’s been your experience with marriage counseling? I would love to hear your story.
Did it help? Hurt?