It is never a conversation any married couple would think they would be asking themselves. But for those in a marriage who have been finding communication too tricky, maybe seeking guidance and wondering if marriage counselling works and is worth it.
To start with, we know how difficult it can be to not only accept one another but to go and see a therapist with whom you will then be sharing your most intimate life.
You may also be unsure if it is worth it. There is no doubt there are those who will be skeptical or have come to believe any form of therapy that deals with mental health is only for those who are weak-minded.
But do not let that discourage you, as it would be an unexpected experience you or your partner could find by taking the time to attend marriage counselling.
If you are here for yourself or finding new information on how marriage counselling works and how it may help a relationship, we hope this article can provide answers.
The Troubles of Marriage
When couples first get married, most expect to live a fairy tale "happily ever after." However, as the years go by, the harsh realities of married life often set in. Financial troubles, parenting challenges, unmet needs, poor communication, infidelity - these can all put major strains on a marriage.
Many couples find themselves arguing constantly, feeling distant and disconnected. If things spiral downward far enough, separation or divorce begin to seem like the only options.
But for many couples, there is hope before things reach that breaking point. Marriage counselling can provide the tools needed to get a relationship back on track.
What is Marriage Counselling?
Marriage counselling, also known as couples therapy or couple counselling, is a form of psychotherapy that focuses specifically on relationship issues.
The goal is to identify problems in the marriage and give couples the skills to communicate better, resolve conflicts in a healthy manner, reignite intimacy and bonding, and rediscover why they fell in love in the first place.
Counselling helps couples:
Improve communication and listening skills.
Understand each other's needs and perspectives.
Address core issues causing conflict like money, sex, parenting disagreements, etc.
Work through affairs and rebuild trust after betrayal.
Overcome traumatic events or health issues together.
Make shared decisions about the future of the relationship.
Does Marriage Counselling Actually Work?
The big question many couples have is - does marriage counselling help? Or is it a waste of time and money?
Research shows counselling can be extremely effective if certain key conditions are met:
Commitment: Both partners must be willing to make changes and invest time and effort into the process. The couple that attends therapy together has the highest success rates.
Finding the right counsellor: Having a strong rapport and comfort level with the therapist makes a huge difference. Every counsellor has a unique approach and personality - it's important to find one that is the right fit.
Early intervention: Couples who seek help early on, before problems become severe, see better outcomes. Waiting until the brink of divorce limits what can be salvaged.
Level of conflict: Therapy is very successful for couples with mild to moderate issues. High-conflict marriages face more challenges.
No abuse/addiction: Active domestic violence, substance abuse, and untreated mental illness will impede progress until addressed.
While counselling won't magically fix every relationship, studies show approximately 70-75% of couples report significant improvement after therapy. The benefits for most couples make it worth trying.
Different Counselling Approaches
There are many therapeutic frameworks marriage counsellors use. Some of the most common are:
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT): EFT sees problems as stemming from negative interaction cycles that damage emotional connection. The therapist helps couples identify these cycles and interact in more secure, bonded ways.
Gottman Method: This approach draws on 40 years of research by Drs. John and Julie Gottman into what makes marriages succeed or fail. Couples are given tailored interventions to strengthen friendships, manage conflict, and build intimacy.
Cognitive-behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT examines thought and behaviour patterns that contribute to issues. Spouses learn to challenge and replace destructive automatic thoughts with more constructive perspectives.
Is Counselling Right for You?
While marriage counselling is effective for many couples, there are certain situations where it may not be advisable, including:
Active domestic abuse
One partner is completely unwilling to participate
Both partners are set on divorce
Additionally, individual therapy for issues like addiction, mental illness, trauma, etc, may be needed before joint counselling can succeed.
The key is that both partners must voluntarily choose to try rebuilding their marriage. If that commitment exists, counselling can often transform even very troubled relationships.
Don't Wait, Get Help Early!
If you sense your relationship is heading down a bad path, don't delay getting help. Research consistently shows early intervention leads to the best chances of success.
Consider meeting with a counsellor for an initial consultation to discuss your issues and determine if therapy could benefit your partnership. With the right support, many couples find their wa y back to a loving, fulfilling marriage.
What to Expect in Counselling Sessions
The first session is largely about assessment - the counsellor will seek to understand the history of your relationship, what brought you to therapy, your goals, and the issues at hand.
In future sessions, the counsellor facilitates discussions between you and your partner, occasionally offering perspective. There is no "taking sides" - the therapist remains neutral. Some key aspects of sessions:
Discussing your relationship struggles openly and honestly
Really listening and trying to understand your partner's viewpoint
Taking responsibility for your contribution to issues
Being willing to make compromises and changes
Practicing new communication and conflict resolution skills
Doing "homework" exercises between sessions to reinforce new habits
You and your partner must play an active role - counselling works best as a collaboration between the therapist and couples. Progress requires effort both in and out of sessions.
Setting Goals and Expectations
Have realistic expectations - lasting change takes time. Don't expect deep-rooted issues to be resolved in a few sessions. View counselling as an ongoing process.
That said, you should start seeing incremental improvements. Discuss specific goals with the counsellor like:
Arguing less frequently
Improved intimacy and emotional connection
Better strategies for managing differences
Increased mutual understanding and empathy
Share any concerns openly - a good counsellor will listen, adjust their approach, and gain your trust.
When one partner resists counselling, please don't force them. Instead:
Express your worries about the relationship and desire to improve things
Share that counselling has proven benefits and is worth trying
Suggest attending just a few sessions to see if it helps
Listen to their reservations and see if compromises can be made
Consider individual therapy to work on yourself first
Patience and avoiding ultimatums is key. With time, a resistant partner may open up to the idea.
Marriage counselling helps couples enhance communication, resolve conflicts and reconnect. Research shows it is effective when approached optimally.
Success depends on the timing, motivation level, counsellor match and complexity of issues. But most couples benefit.
There are various therapeutic approaches. Any effective therapy will build relationship skills.
It may not be suitable if abuse, affairs or untreated mental illness exist. Commitment from both partners is crucial.
If you're struggling, don't delay getting help - early intervention is most likely to save a marriage.
Counselling provides a roadmap for mutual understanding and a loving, lasting relationship. For couples starting to drift apart, it offers hope and real solutions. Please don't wait until it feels too late.
Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and taking the first step toward recovery is an act of courage.
You are not alone in this journey, and with the proper support and treatment, it is possible to overcome any struggles and reclaim your life.
If you want more information about our counsellors, please visit and book a session with a therapist here at Avery Therapy Centre. Remember, you have the power to prioritize your mental health and embark on a path to a brighter future.