Can counseling fix a marriage? It can’t hurt to try, right? Getting the help of a therapist might be just what you need to repair your marriage. You may be wondering if it’s worth it or not, so let’s take a look at 6 myths about marriage counseling that are holding people back from getting the help they need.
Myth #1 – Marriage counseling is only for couples with serious problems.
It’s true that marriage counseling may be more effective for couples with serious problems. But, if your relationship is not at a breaking point, don’t neglect the potential benefits of individual and couple therapy sessions to help you both grow in different ways as individuals and enhance the intimacy between you.
You see, the real goal isn’t to fix anything – couples therapy is about increasing closeness and friendship behaviors, addressing conflict productively, and building a life of shared meaning together.
Working with a marriage counselor is for every marriage. It’s not a magic bullet that will fix your problems overnight. It takes consistent work, especially when it comes to overcoming relationship issues. But counseling can help. It could be just what you need to make some sweeping changes in how you approach conflict and intimacy with each other.
Myth #2 – My spouse will never change.
If you’re in a marriage where one or both spouses feels their spouse will never change, it’s important to understand that the only person who can make changes is yourself. You don’t have control over how they’ll behave and why they won’t listen to you when you say something hurts. All of these behaviors are outside of your control.
When you learn mutual respect and affection and remove the barriers of communication your health as a couple who can communicate effective will exponential increase. Couples counseling isn’t about changing your partner. It’s about recognizing where there are roadblocks and addressing those roadblocks.
Once you realize that you have the power to change how you react you can create space to understand why your partner reacts the way they do. This type of problem solving and emotional intelligence isn’t taught to couples anywhere growing up.
Myth #3 – I don’t have time to go to therapy because of work and kids.
If your marriage is in trouble, the first thing to do is make time for it. What are you waiting for?
People often put up with a bad situation because they don’t want to invest the time or money in therapy. Some people may feel like they’re too busy and have no mental space left over after work and parenting. You may be thinking, “I have to work on the house and take care of the kids.” But marriage takes a lot more than just functioning in separate parts.
You both deserve time for your relationship. Put it first and make room for each other by being intentional with how you spend money or allocate time after hours. Don’t let anything get in the way of one another.
Myth #4 – Talking about my feelings will just make them worse.
This is not the case. Talking about your feelings will give you a sense of relief and clarity that, in turn, can help make things better for both you as an individual and for your relationship.
Talking with someone who specializes in relationships like marriage counseling may be what it takes to get back on track or help salvage a negative situation.
Couples therapy isn’t just about talking about feelings – of course they play a role but don’t expect that to be the only piece of the puzzle.
Friendship, conflict management, and creation of shared meaning are important components of relationship therapy. Your therapist will help you learn to replace negative conflict patterns with positive interaction. In couples therapy you will help repair past hurts. Couples counseling with a skilled counselor like those at our marriage counseling in Tampa, FL will help increase closeness and intimacy and improve friendship, deepen emotional connection, and create changes which enhances the couples shared goals.
Myth #5 – Therapy can fix everything wrong in a marriage.
The goal of working with a marriage counselor and going to couples counseling isn’t to fix everything wrong in a marriage. It’s not about fixing the couple.
That being said, there are always things that can be improved upon and therapy is a great way to work on those aspects of your marriage in a safe space while also improving communication skills or resolving past issues such as trust.
But it takes both partners to make progress; one person cannot do this on their own. The therapist will help you make progress together and that is a process both partners need to be invested in equally.
This myth may come from the idea of what marriage counseling has traditionally been, which was all about fixing problems within the couple (i.e., having someone else tell the couple how to fix their relationship). This isn’t the case at our marriage counseling office in Tampa.
This myth may also come from the idea that talking about feelings will make them worse, but as you already learned this is not true. You can use your session with a therapist to talk about how communication patterns affect your relationship and open up dialogue so things don’t get worse or become unaddressed issues.
Arguments will happen. Infidelity will happen. Financial struggles will happen. The benefit of taking the step and seeking help from in couples therapy can help to create a more intimate, connected partnership and help you avoid divorce.
A marriage counselor isn’t a magician who will fix your relationship overnight. That being said, there are ways to work on the things that might need improvement and having someone trained in relationships makes it easier than trying to do it alone or with family members as often conflicts come up when discussing these issues together.
Myth#6- If one partner goes, the other has to go too.
This myth is false. One partner does not have to go if the other chooses to attend therapy.
The therapist may encourage you both try couples counseling at different times in order for each of your individual feelings and needs to be met, but it’s ultimately up to you both whether one or both partners will participate.
It might seem like a no-brainer that one partner would go to therapy if the other does, but there are many valid reasons why a person wouldn’t.
Some people may feel like they don’t need help and their spouse doesn’t want them going for more personal or work related commitments. Others might choose not to be involved in couples counseling because it will trigger difficult emotions or memories.
If you do not want to go, the therapist will work hard at encouraging you and trying to figure out what is preventing this from happening. Sometimes it’s just taking a step back in order to get some perspective on the situation which can be helpful for all parties involved.
In these cases, your marriage counselor may also suggest individual therapy or more time to consider the decision.
Couples counseling with a skilled counselor like those at our marriage counseling in Tampa, FL will help increase closeness and intimacy and improve friendship, deepen emotional connection, and create changes which enhances the couples shared goals. This is accomplished by learning how to manage daily stressors as well as relationship stressors – what we call the 4 horsemen. These are the 4 issues that cause roadblocks to a relationship.
The good news that many couples may benefit from working with a marriage counselor to help improve the health of their relationship.
The benefits of marriage counseling can help you work on the things that might need improvement and having someone trained in relationships makes it easier than trying to do it alone or with family members. Couples therapy will provide personal growth as well as better communication, more intimacy and understanding which may lead to a healthier, happier relationship.
The Next Step
Now that you know the myths about couple’s counseling, it should be easier to understand how this can help your relationship. If you would like more information on couples therapy in Tampa or have decided it is time for some help with your marriage, please contact our office today!