(Closed) Marriage Counseling

posted 6 years ago in Relationships
Post # 2
2513 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Everyone I know who has had it has said it didn’t work. I’m curious to see the responses. It also always seems like one spouse is not interested.

I would think it works like non-marriage counseling. You get what you put into it. You have to think and reflect, be self-aware, and make an effort to implement the strategies discussed in counseling.

Post # 3
2762 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

It’ll depend on what you mean by “will it work?” If by “it works” you mean will it change your spouse, will they too realize that they’re mostly at fault in your discussions and long held anger and resentment, will the counselor side with you and give your spouse a metaphorical beating, will it “save” your marriage…then NO it won’t work, be worth your time or money.

Cases where I’ve personally and professionally seen it “not work”: where one spouse truly believes they are doing nothing wrong, where one spouse truly believes they are “right” all the time, where one spouse has cheated on the other and refuses to accept that it did lasting damage to the relationship, where one spouse is very abusive to the other, where one spouse simply refuses to have sex with the other spouse for a long period of time (think 7+ years), where one spouse was incredibly interested in the idea and the other one wasn’t at all, where one or both spouses are deeply religious (religious counseling works better for these couples), where one or both spouses have “checked out” of their marriage for a long time, where the spouse that was cheated on refuses individual counseling as well as couples counseling, the list goes on. And by “not work” I mean that in most cases the second individual realizes that the first is no longer “in” the marriage and they relinquish the idea of making them be there and realize they don’t have to be there either. End of the relationship. This doesn’t mean that both parties aren’t now equipped with far greater assertive communication skills, far greater self-awareness, far greater awareness of how they contribute to long-lasting patterns of behavior that damage their romantic relationships, etc. Usually everyone will ultimately use their newfound skills with a new partner and be happier overall. (If right now you thought “I’ll be damned if I fix him for a new woman!”…you’re in this category)

Cases where I’ve seen it work: where no matter what the issue was (infidelity, communication, sexual, financial, etc) both parties were honestly open to the idea of improving themselves and their relationship. At the end of their process usually both parties will agree that it was time well spent, money well invested and use their newfound sets of skills to dramatically increase their positive interactions and considerably decrease their negative interactions. (If right now you thought “yeah….a lot of times when we fight it’s my fault too…I wonder if I could learn how to change that.” AND he thinks this way too…you’re in this category.

Sometimes a “successful” outcome of couples counseling is the oh so famous conscious uncoupling, amicable or at least cordial dissolution (financial and emotional) of the marriage, preparing parents to still be able to be parents even when they’re no longer a couple. 

Sometimes a “successful” outcome is when couples break free of their past negative patterns of behavior and decide to stay together using new behavioral/mental/emotional understandings.

My .02

Post # 4
225 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

As PPs have said, if you are wanting to better your marriage, it won’t work if one of the partners truly doesn’t want to be there. Both have to want to fix the issue(s) and be able to own up to their role in the problems. I went to marriage counseling with my Ex-Husband, he did not want to be there and it did nothing to better our marriage. However, if you think it will help you, go to counseling yourself. It has helped me personally in relationships. Even when it came to my ex-h, it really helped me to approach situations in a healthier way and realize it was not a healthy relationship. 

I go to counseling now just to get things off my chest and get unbiased help/advice when issues come up with my Fiance. I guess to answer your question, for me, it is worth the time and money and it does/did help both my current relationship and my previous marriage, just not in the way I expected it to. 

Post # 5
5892 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

View original reply
karmalkween:  One of the reasons I’ve seen that marriage counseling doesn’t work is that people go on average 6 years after the initial issue began. By the time they get into counseling, it’s too late…all the damage has been done. It’s like having a small infection and waiting 6 years to get it treated. By the time you walk into the emergency room all the organ have started shutting down and you are on life support. 

The times Ive seen it work is when couples got ASAP. At that point there is still love (and possibly respect) and a willingness to fully participate. <br /><br />

If you think your relationship needs help, get it–dont wait. But if the first therapist isnt doing it for you, find another, then another until you find one that is a good fit. 

Post # 7
11522 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

My DH and I went to counseling for more than three years of our five-year marriage. 

I wanted to begin going about a month after our wedding, and he did not.  It took about 18 months into our marriage — and my parents offering to pay for the counseling — for my DH to be willing to go.

Counselng has not been in any way easy for us. There have been times when we’ve left a counseling session more upset and distant with each other than when we went there. In fact, there have been a few times when, after a counseing session, I was more angry with the counselor than I was with my husband.

However, I believe that counseling has been very good for both of us, and it has helped us individually and in our marriage.  Our counselor not only is trained in IMAGO therapy — which I’ve found to be very useful, but also shares our faith. Both of those things have been quite helpful.

View original reply
Soon2ElopeBee:  Excellent observations and analysis.

Post # 9
14 posts

If you have health insurance you can see if your company provides you with free counseling up to a certain amount of sessions. That is what we did and we mutually agreed even though I was the one who sort of begged for it. We felt it was a waste of time because our counselor would basically tell us what a stranger would. Communicate, listen, respect each other. It did not get down to the real issues at hand. Our relationship was not that rocky at the time so it did not really make or break it. We just kept hearing, your problems or tiny compared to the people who see me. Was a bit annoying.

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