Sometime after marriage, couples start to realize that marriage isn’t as easy as they thought it would be before entering into marriage. It requires tons of hard work and commitment from both partners. Soon after the honey phase of the relationship, the couples start to realize that they are not as compatible as they previously thought they would be or might encounter concerns that they never thought would be an issue which could be due to their job or children consuming all their time. These difficulties are certainly not unusual and seeking the advice of a marriage counselor may go a long way towards strengthening and even saving the marital relationship.
Marriage has 4 pillars that are essential for a healthy marriage to stay alive. The relationship might go on trench if any of the four pillars take a hit. These pillars are:
- Finance: After marriage, couples are confronted with financial concerns that may lead to differences and conflicts in opinion. Managing daily expenses, debts, poor budgeting, and overspending can be some of the common reasons seen in couples when they come for couple counselling.
- Communication: Communication is the footing structure and essential part of any relationship. Criticizing, arguing, misunderstanding, and disrespect are some of the issues that are faced in marriage.
- Physical Intimacy: Sex and intimacy are certainly are one of the most important parts of marriage. Intimacy includes more than the mere physical act of sex like care and affection towards each other. Impotence, infidelity, and taking for granted attitude are some of the concerns in this pillar.
- Family: Marriage is more than just being a couple rather it’s the engagement with the family as well. Couples that come for counselling are often disturbed due to familial interference, cultural differences, and parenting concerns. There is an old saying as well, “You don’t just marry a person, but you marry their entire family also.”
How can Marriage counselling help couples?
Marriage counselling can only prove to be effective when both the partners are willing to take the responsibility for their problems, accept the flaws and faults of each other, and are willing to attend the counselling sessions. Tension and resentment increase between the couples due to unresolved concerns. Couples usually confide in their family and friends to seek help and advice which might seem to work for a short period but in reality, they might give you a biased opinion.
Marriage counselling is important for addressing marital concerns because:
- Counselling can help couples to take time out of their busy lives and come together to be able to focus on themselves and their growth.
- The counselor can act as a sort of mediator between the partners and facilitates effective and healthy communication which is particularly helpful when the couples are motivated to improve their relationships but are not sure on how to go about it.
- The counselor can help in analyzing behavioral patterns of the partners and identify those that lead to conflicts. Once such patterns are identified the couple can work on modifying those undesirable behaviors with the help of the counselor.
- Effective communication is an essential aspect of any relationship; however, it is not uncommon for couples to reach an impasse and lose their ability to share their needs and feelings.
- Counselling gives the couples the tool to start improving their relationship, for example by eliminating bad habits such as speaking too much, constantly interrupting the other partner, and not giving the other partner a chance to respond. In addition, the process of counselling serves as a platform where their issues can finally be confronted.
There is another important way marriage/couple counselling can help strengthen the relationship are:
- It helps the partners to create a more realistic picture of who each partner is rather than who the other partner wants her or him to be. This can lead to misunderstandings in the relationship and avoid miscommunications.
- It also offers the couples a way to stay accountable to each other and help them to learn new tools that will help them to work on their relationship effectively. Counselors will often assign homework to the couples to create patterns that stand the test of their time.
When is marriage counselling effective?
As shared before, both partners must be willing to undergo the process of marriage counselling. Ideally, they must have decided for themselves that, instead of neglecting the concern, they wish to work on the marriage and address the concerns that are there. Furthermore, the spouses must have realistic expectations about the process of counselling. The couples should understand that the counselling process isn’t an overnight process and will take a couple of sessions to get into the couple’s dynamics and initiate the process of change.
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