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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

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    Sarah White

    Freelance Writer, Editor, Professional Crafter

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    Last Updated on December 3, 2019

    10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

    10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

    There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

    Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

    1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

    Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

    There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

    Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

    2. Pace Yourself

    Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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    Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

    Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

    3. You Can’t Please Everyone

    “I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

    You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

    Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

    4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

    Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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    We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

    Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

    5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

    “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

    No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

    We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

    6. It’s Not All About You

    You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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    It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

    7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

    No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

    We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

    Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

    8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

    That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

    Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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    Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

    9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

    Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

    The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

    10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

    We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

    When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

    Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

    This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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    Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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