If you’re thinking about going to marriage therapy there are a few things your counselor wants you to know before you begin. The reason your future counselor wants you to learn these things is simple; knowing them will help prepare you for counseling so that you can both make the most of it. Whether a major betrayal like an affair or financial infidelity recently occurred or you both just need some guidance as you navigate these uncertain waters counseling can help you and your spouse. Know this; if you’re feeling stuck or disconnected, or notice other warning signs that mean it’s time for professional help, don’t delay therapy.
When you feel like something’s off in your relationship and you’d like some objective input to help you figure things out, you’re doing the right thing. Regardless of the reason you think it’s time for couples counseling, there are some things you should know that will help you get the most out of your investment.
We’d love it if more couples knew these four things before signing up for a marriage counseling retreat with us.
1. People Attend Couples Counseling Much More Often than You Think
It’s easy to think you’re the only couple in the world that struggles when your social media news feed is full of “picture-perfect” posts by other couples.
But here’s the toxic thing about social media; it isn’t “real”—it’s a highlight reel. In other words, every couple faces their own seasons of struggle and private challenges, no matter how idyllic their relationships appear in public.
And while you don’t need to compare your marriage to anyone else’s, you might find it reassuring to know that couples counseling is increasingly common. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 married couples seek professional couples counseling at some point in their relationship.
2. Trust Your Gut & Don’t Delay
When it comes to couples therapy, too soon is probably better than too late (assuming there is even such a thing as “too soon” for counseling!). If you or your spouse are having problems communicating, fighting about money, or you just want to have a deeper connection emotionally and physically therapy can help.
As we’ve frequently cited from our colleague, Dr. John Gottman, couples typically hold out for about six years before finally seeking help after experiencing struggles in their relationship. That’s way too long! So many things can be said and done in that time period that are preventable. Some may even lead to contempt, which is the biggest indicator of divorce one of the four horsemen of relationships.
But just like waiting too long to see a doctor about a small issue (e.g., a worrisome mole) could allow the issue to turn into a major problem (e.g., cancer that spreads), waiting too long to see a marriage counselor about your relationship could make reconnection and resolution that much more difficult.
So, don’t assume that putting off or ignoring an issue in your marriage will make it go away. If the thought of counseling has come up for either of you, take it in good faith that your insights are valid and that it’s a good time to schedule an appointment.
3. Seeking Therapy Doesn’t Mean Your Relationship is Doomed
While every couple’s experience is unique, Imago relationship therapy yields a 94% “success” rate.
In many ways you and your spouse’s willingness to seek therapy is a positive indicator because it means you are willing to put in the work to help heal your marriage.
And in case you were wondering: at the Marriage Restoration Project, we’ve achieved a 90 percent success rate thanks to our unique approach featuring Imago therapy. We measure our success by looking at the number of couples who come to us thinking about divorce but, after therapy, decide to stay together.
4. Know How to Make it Count
Deciding to attend relationship counseling together is already a major step in the right direction! If you and your spouse have already come this far, give each other some credit and a pat on the back. You’ve already proven that you’re committed and willing to put in the work.
We also invite you to prepare yourselves mentally and emotionally for therapy so you can really get the most out of your time with your counselor. We encourage couples to:
- Commit to therapy like you would any other doctor’s appointment or work function—show up on time, well-rested, and ready to focus
- Lead with curiosity and an open mind
- Be willing to work honestly on yourself as well as your marriage
- Do your homework!
- Trust that your counselor has both parties’ best interests in mind
Are You Ready to See How Couples Counseling Could Help Your Marriage?
Marriage maintenance matters. Get the support to thrive together by contacting Marriage Restoration Project today and scheduling an appointment with an experienced couples counselor.