Marriage Counseling Guide: How to Avoid Divorce
Does Marriage Counseling Work? Everything you need to know about Marriage Counseling including success rates, important questions and how to avoid divorce.
Even the best marriage can suffer normal wear and tear over the years. If it shows signs of breaking down and you and your spouse growing apart, professional marriage counseling is often the best next step. A good counselor can guide you toward getting the relationship back on the right track by identifying what the real issues are and then helping you to implement solutions.
It can help you find the strength to transition out of a partnership that is irrevocably broken down. Choosing the right marriage counselor or therapist is extremely important to give your marriage the best chance of success, as there are different types of counseling to address different marital situations. While cost, compatibility, and location are important elements, there are several other factors you must keep in mind when choosing a marriage counselor.
When to Seek Marriage Counseling
Every relationship is bound to experience highs and lows, and that’s normal when you’re in a relationship as close as a marriage. Determining whether your marriage is experiencing a small bump in the road or if it’s something more serious that requires professional counseling may be easier than you think.
Major life changes:
Marriages tend to change over time, especially when faced with a major transition, such as one partner going back to school, when you’re expecting your first child, or you’re suffering the loss of a family member. A good marriage counselor can help you to get through these changes so that you can find your relationship’s new normal and regain focus on each other.
Your spouse brings up counseling:
If you’re sailing through your marriage with a smile on your face and not a care in the world and your spouse suggests that your relationship might benefit from some couple therapy, take that as a good sign. You may initially feel like you’ve failed or that your spouse is considering divorce, but that’s usually not the case. The fact that your spouse is being proactive about getting counseling means that he or she wants the marriage to work and is willing to put in the effort to save your marriage from divorce.
You feel like you’re treading water:
All relationships experience rough patches every now and again, and most of these work themselves out as long as you and your spouse are committed to making things work. If you feel like you’re not making any progress or that you’re the only one working at the relationship, professional marriage counseling can help turn this around.
You’ve never experienced counseling:
Even if you feel that your marriage is in good shape, counseling may be able to make it great. Getting the perspective of an objective professional can help you to keep your relationship with your spouse running smoothly.
Divorce Statistics and Facts
- The rate of divorce is slowing down. The National Marriage Project concluded that the rate at which couples seek divorce has been decreasing since the late 1980s. Roughly 40% of marriages now end in divorce, down from 50%.
- Women seek divorce more often than men. Women seem to have found their voice, and they’re showing it by taking charge of their futures. Roughly two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by the wife and not the husband.
- Divorces cost money. While the average divorcing couple won’t experience the multimillion-dollar splits that you see on television, divorce is never free. Costs can range from as low as $1,000 for each spouse in an amicable divorce with no children and few assets to $20,000 per spouse or more.
- Cohabiting before marriage isn’t necessarily a panacea. It sounds logical that testing out a relationship by living together before tying the knot will result in a healthier marriage, but that isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, living together before you say “I do” can actually increase your chance of divorce by up to 40%.
- Money can be the root of all evil. There are many reasons why a marriage might begin to break down, but financial issues are a very common. The National Marriage Project also reports that if you and your spouse have disagreements about money at least once each week, you are 30X more likely to divorce than couples who argue about money once or twice each month or less.
How Can You Prepare for Marriage Counseling?
Too many couples enter marriage counseling with the mistaken belief that the counselor is going to “fix” things that are wrong with the other spouse so that they can live happily ever after. Marriage counseling is not a quick fix nor does it operate as individual counseling but with two people involved. The benefits of family therapy or marriage counseling can be huge if you enter into it with the right perspective.
- Think proactive rather than reactive. Always go to your counseling sessions with the big picture on your mind, and be ready to talk openly about your marriage. If you’re obsessed with the small argument you and your spouse had that morning or you just don’t have anything to say at all, your sessions will most likely be ineffective.
- Reflect on your short-term and long-term objectives. It’s always easier to reach your goals when you have actually taken the time to define them. Think about what it is you hope to get from your marriage counseling before you enter your first session.
- Prepare yourself for change. Both you and your spouse will have to make some changes and concessions in order to make your troubled marriage better. If you’re open to change, you’ll find your marriage counseling sessions are much more productive.
- Focus on yourself first. If you can’t shake the “it’s him not me” belief, you may not be ready for counseling. You cannot change your spouse, but you can change yourself. Focus on making yourself a better and stronger person, and you’ll reap all the benefits of good marriage counseling.
Tips for Nurturing a Healthy Marriage
Here’s a list of of tips for those who think their marriage may just need a little shot of intimacy or advice. One of these tips could be all your marriage requires to get back on track.
Schedule date nights. Whether you’re pursuing a budding career or raising a family, setting aside alone time with your spouse is a critical component to a marriage that is happy and healthy. Dedicated alone time with your spouse is one of the most important marriage advice tips. For couples with careers who have trouble finding the time to schedule dedicated time for each other may find a marriage counseling marriage retreat to be the best option.