Your first couples counseling experience may get you a bit jittery. And right now, you might be thinking about when is the best time to go for counseling and what you are likely to expect.
One important thing to note is that marriage therapists are there to fix relationship problems.
So, if you are currently not having a fulfilling and healthy union with your partner, you should book a session immediately.
Couples counseling can be beneficial to all marriages. However, some troubled relationships will need it more than others.
If you experience any of these issues in your marriage, then you need time with the counselor.
1. It’s a Case of Indifference
If either of you has become indifferent about the direction of the marriage.
This includes not caring whether your spouse is upset or not, not caring about your sex life, rolling issues over instead of tackling them, not knowing where your spouse goes and not being bothered, being unbothered about infidelity, and living separate lives.
2. Communication Breakdown
Is every communication with your partner either negative or causes fights?
Are both of you are having a severe communication breakdown when you no longer find little things enjoyable about each other?
While there are things you shouldn’t say to your significant other if your communication is constantly on a negative cycle, it is either one or both partners being defensive, overly sensitive, or deeply hurt when it is an extreme issue.
When one party lies consistently or keeps secrets, it can wreak hell for a relationship. So much can go wrong if both partners refuse to be completely open to each other.
So, marriage counseling may be necessary when either of you starts seeing the need to keep secrets.
4. Lack of Intimacy
With a lot of relationships, the sparks have gone out.
So, if the two of you no longer find each other attractive or you struggle to maintain some level of physical intimacy after a few years together, you had better schedule a time with a marriage counselor.
5. Issues with Cheating
With a lot of relationships, you or your partner may have had a case of infidelity. Unfortunately, infidelity can be quite hard for many married people to get over.
In addition, infidelity is a breach of trust which may never be earned back. So, if either of you has been caught cheating, you’ll need a quick ride for a couple’s therapy.
6. Financial Infidelity
If it’s a case of financial infidelity, then you should see a therapist.
Many younger relationships believe that once joint bills have been sorted, either party can do whatever they like with their money.
But in the case of a joint bank account, it is financial infidelity for a party to take out credit cards, make secret purchases, open bank accounts, and apply for loans without the other person being aware.
7. Build a Stronger Relationship
But then, counseling is not all about crises. You may want to start a new relationship and want to start on a solid foundation, or you already have a working relationship that you’ll love to keep soaring.
Now, if you have any lingering issues listed here in your marriage, then plan to visit a counselor.
Several other marriage issues may not have been highlighted. However, you should know that the situation in the home is beyond your capacity.
Finding the Right Counselor
When choosing a suitable counselor, you might want to consider your race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and years of experience with the specialist.
Look for a couples therapist that you feel best meets you and your partner’s needs. Many of them also offer online sessions as well, if that is something that suits you better.
You might also want to talk to people around you for recommendations. However, always feel free to ask important questions of your prospective counselor to ensure they suit your expectations.
After finding an appropriate counselor, here are things to expect from a session with them.
What To Expect During a Couples Counseling
Couple Introductory Session
After deciding on a counselor and booking an appointment, you and your partner should prepare for your first visit.
Your prospective counselor may need you to do some paperwork to get you acquainted with the policies, legalities, and ethics of your relationship with your therapist.
Once concluded, the counselor will spend the remaining time asking questions about you and getting to know you and your spouse better.
Different couples have various reasons for seeing a marriage therapist.
For example, they may need foundational strengthening for their relationship, be trying to recover from a devastating issue such as infidelity, or want to improve their healthy relationship.
This first session will position your counseling in the direction you should expect going forward.
It will also prepare the two of you where you can be encouraged to communicate your feelings and experiences together.
Discuss Relationship History
In this session, you will also discuss the relationship history, the significant challenges faced, and the reason behind your frustrations in the marriage.
Some other aspects to discuss will include intimacy challenges, parenting conflicts, communication frictions, and other issues.
The therapist will work together with you to improve the areas in crisis.
However, if you were untruthful with your answers, it would be difficult for the counselor to offer you workable solutions.
The challenges at hand will determine the number of sessions to expect. While some begin to see improvement after three days, others may require up to three months.
Also, set goals for your expectations.
For example, you may expect your partner to become more honest or show more empathy – whatever your goals are, put them and share them with your partner.
Remember that not all marriage counseling will involve only you and your partner. Most marital therapies allow one-on-one sessions with your therapist to help you unburden frustrations and resentments.
And since everyone else in the household may be affected when a couple is facing marital issues, a family therapy session may be needed if you have children and other members of your family that may be affected.
Couples Counseling: Ready for an Appointment?
The divorce rate in the US is pretty alarming, so unless you want to join the statistics, you had better make the right move to save your marriage.
Skilled and experienced therapists know how best to help you achieve your relationship expectations.
You’ll also learn better ways to communicate and manage stress. Aside from marriage, these skills will equally be helpful in other aspects of your life.
In addition, being vulnerable and brutally honest with the process will create the groundwork for a long-lasting solution.