The average couple waits six years after the start of serious problems to seek relationship counseling. Like a physical injury that becomes more difficult to heal over time without being treated, relationships and marriages are the same. Being proactive can prevent more lengthy, potentially painful, and costly treatment later. When couples hit what is close to rock bottom, both members often agree that counseling is needed if there is any chance of saving the relationship.
Pre-Marriage Counseling Can Be Even Better
Some couples come for pre-marriage counseling because they have second thoughts or wonder if they can work out their differences. Most of these couples can, but some jointly decide. Perhaps they aren’t ready for marriage yet or have too many differences to reconcile. Other couples seem to not have a care in the world but want to be proactive and talk about issues that likely come up later in marriage (and it may become a great marriage, but won’t be happily ever after). Convincing an engaged partner to try a few counseling sessions is a great way to show that you are committed to doing whatever it takes to have a healthy marriage.
Put the Importance in Perspective
Indeed, marriage counseling isn’t a quick fix or inexpensive like buying a self-help book. If all your relationship needs is a self-help book for $20 on Amazon, by all means, give it a shot. Most couples find that they need a mediator and leader, however, and the book either doesn’t get the job done or collects dust on a shelf. Many women are more comfortable investing in their wellness and happiness than men. In Columbus, Ohio, marriage counseling isn’t a tangible item like new tires for your car. For even the happiest couples, though, if you have occasional uncomfortable conflict, what is it worth trying to fix the situation? The cost is substantially less for those thinking about divorce than going through that process. When most people are asked what is most important to them in life, they will say their partner or family, but actions often don’t match that statement.
Suggesting marriage counseling at the first sign of problems as a preventative measure may make the prospect more appealing. In that state, it’s not that you *have* to go, but that you *want* to go. However, most couples will wait but can still agree to take the best step to resolve their issues. Sometimes it takes telling a partner that they need to go to counseling together if they want to stay together (assuming it has come to that and you genuinely mean it). Some couples way outgrow a relationship and need to rekindle the spark.
Overcoming Couple’s Counseling Anxiety
Most couples new to counseling admit to feeling stress or anxiety. One reason is that they aren’t sure if they are willing to discuss personal issues with a stranger. It is important to find someone you are comfortable talking to and who won’t judge you, or if they do, it is only to help the relationship and its goals. Counselors expect you to be nervous at first and think nothing ill of it. Many couples think they are the worst off or that a new counselor won’t possibly believe how bad they have it. There is an excellent chance that no matter what situation you are in, what has happened, or where you are in your relationship, your counseling has seen it before.
Some fear that they will be told to get a divorce. That is not the philosophy of Cardinal Point Counseling. If your goal is to discover if you should stay together, we will help you make that decision. If divorce is off the table, we will work with you to help make your marriage as rewarding as possible.