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Why Marriage Counseling is More Important than the Wedding Vow

Why Marriage Counseling is More Important than the Wedding Vow

Most couples have a 50 percent chance of getting divorced, and marriages after the first are even more likely to break up.

    When people get married, they usually aren't thinking about their potential for divorce or the need for marriage counseling in the future. But maybe they should spend less time thinking about their wedding vows and more time considering what they will do when things get rocky in the future.

    This is why marriage counseling is something that couples should consider seriously.

    Premarital counseling helps you to foresee the relationship's future.

    Marriage counseling can actually begin before the wedding. Some churches may require marriage preparation classes that include premarital counseling as a condition of performing the ceremony.

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    This counseling might include talking about the couple's individual family histories and the family they plan to build together, including the possibility of children, whether they will be raised in the church and how you might deal with conflict.

    You can also go to a marriage or family counselor with your intended for premarital counseling, which should help you to start your marriage with a clean slate.

    It can be a way to clear up any resentment or fear of marriage and give you a safe place to talk about things like if, when and how many children you want, how you might deal with money issues or other stressors on your relationship and to make sure you have similar values and goals for your relationship, your family and your life together.

    Taking the time to do premarital counseling also sets you up to be more willing to engage in marriage counseling later on if you should need it.

    It isn't just about fixing things, but building stronger roots.

    The most common reasons couples choose to go to marriage counseling include lack of communication within the relationship, lack of emotional support or engagement and worries that they might be headed toward divorce.

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    Other issues that often send couples to therapy include fighting or specific relationship issues like infidelity.

    Other people simply want to make their marriages stronger and look to professionals to help.

    Before trying a counseling, be clear about what you want from it.

    Most couples engage in marriage counseling after issues have been simmering for months, or even years, and the longer you wait to seek help the harder it is to work through the issues. Some experts say the average couple waits six years longer than they should to start counseling.

    Know what you want from counseling from the beginning. Are you and your partner all in, fully committed to saving the marriage, no matter how much work it takes? Or are one or both of you pretty sure you want to break up? Knowing the answer will help define what a success looks like, but either way, you should maintain an open mind about the process.

    Learn all you can about the counselor you are going to see. A license is a baseline, but what kind of training do they have in marriage counseling? What's their success rate at keeping marriages together? What is their style? Do you feel comfortable spilling intimate details of your life to them? Take the time to find someone who feels right to you both.

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    Research and find what's best for you and your partner is a must.

    Now that you understand that marriage counseling can be so important to a marriage, you maybe thinking about how it's really like and whether there're things you should take good care of before trying it. Let's take a look at some of the things you should know before going to a marriage counseling.

    What marriage counseling is like?

    Some counselors will see each person in the couple separately, then bring them together for sessions where they can work through issues as a group. Meeting together or separately can sometimes lead to resentment because a member of the couple might feel their partner is getting more attention or that the counselor is taking their side.

    A popular and effective form of couple's counseling is Emotionally Focused Therapy, or EFT. The idea behind this approach is that emotional responses are tied to our individual needs, and that changing emotions can lead to changes in attitude and approach within a couple.

    The aim is to rebuild the attachment bond by focusing on the emotional needs of each partner and changing their interactions based on the other person's needs. The EFT process involves stages that take a varying amount of time to work though, depending on the issues the couple has.

    How much does it cost usually?

    For 90% of professional marriage counselors, one session equals one hour. Couples are usually recommended to have one weekly session of counseling for at least 12 weeks.

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    Most marriage counselors charge between $75 and $150 an hour on average.[1]

    Marriage counseling doesn't guarantee a happily-ever-after marriage, but it does improve relationships.

    Research into the effects of counseling find that most people who have been through couple's therapy are satisfied with the result. The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists has found that 98% of people surveyed said they received good or excellent therapy, while 97% said they got the help they needed.

    That doesn't mean all those couples stayed together, of course. About a quarter of couples that receive counseling will get divorced within two years, and about 38% will break up within four years.

    But going to marriage counseling can be just the thing to turn a troubled relationship around, and is certainly better than not trying to fix things that aren't working in a relationship.

    Chart credit: The Single Father's Guide

    Featured photo credit: Flaticon via flaticon.com

    Reference

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    Sarah White

    Freelance Writer, Editor, Professional Crafter

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    Last Updated on August 12, 2020

    When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

    When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

    Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

    In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

    How to Listen to Your Gut

    The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

    Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

    1. Tune Into Your Body

    Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

    However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

    Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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    Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

    In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

    2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

    Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

    There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

    3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

    Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

    As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

    This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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    4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

    As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

    Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

    5. Challenge Your Assumptions

    When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

    In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

    A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

    6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

    Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

    There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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    Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

    Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

    Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

    We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

    The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

    We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

    7. Trust Yourself

    It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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    Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

    If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

    The Bottom Line

    The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

    Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

    More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

    Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
    [2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
    [3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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