My husband and I have been together for 22 years. We knew each other for 7 years before marriage. We have 2 beautiful children and I thought we were happy. 1 month earlier he confessed he has been in a relationship with his colleague for the past 7 months.
Where do couples go wrong?
According to research by Gottman Institute, a couple waits for an average of 6 years of being unhappy before seeking help to resolve their issues.Imagine, waiting for things to get worse before you seek marriage counseling. Marriage Counselling helps a couple understand each other in a better light, with different perspectives than what existed earlier.
A marriage counsellor works as an unbiased mediator, who rationally understands your personal traits, background, personality, expectations and how both of you function together with your inherent differences. According to The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists - 98% of couple cases have positive outcomes and hence marriage counselling is recommended when there is visible or unsaid struggle with your partner. The success of couples counseling and other factors contribute to decreasing divorce rates over time.
Marriage counselling can help you with the below aspects:
Physical or emotional abuse can be corrosive to a marriage as it snatches away a partner’s sense of physical and emotional safety. It can infuse fear and resentment in the relationship and lead to a breakdown if it occurs on multiple occasions. Marriage Counseling might help in bringing that safety net back in place.
Infidelity in a relationship is a personal affront to the commitment and trust of the partner. Every couple has their own rules about what constitutes cheating. For some, it could be watching porn, sex chats, emotional cheating, or sexual infidelity. A betrayal leads to anger, grudge-holding, and verbal attacks. It's a challenging but possible road to recovery of trust with the help of marriage counseling.
Sometimes the bitterness might not be coming from within the relationship but from external dynamics due to clashes, unjust behaviour, differences in opinions and ideas, and misunderstandings that start impacting the marital bond. People do seek marriage counseling in these circumstances as well because be it an external agent, it is disturbing the marital relationship.
Financial struggles can create a cycle of stress and negative interactions, disconnect, and arguments and that strain the bond partners share. Through marriage counseling, couples can try and be more expressive and inclusive in these matters.
If a couple gets stuck in destructive cycles of criticism, defensiveness, blame games, and contempt then it slowly erodes the fondness, intimacy, and warmth they have for each other. Marriage Counselling attempts to contain the warmth intimacy and fondness by bringing better conflict management systems in place.
In an online marriage counselling setup, the marriage therapist might take individual sessions with the clients to understand their perspective and then proceed with a joint couple session (if required) to integrate that information to help the couple understand how it shapes their couple dynamics and resolves their challenges. If the online marriage counsellor does not feel the need to, marriage counseling might not involve couples and can continue with individual counseling for marriage. Individual sessions are conducted to understand the partners separately and their take on the relationship, their partners, concerns, origin, triggers, maintaining factors, past relationship history, and patterns in relationships are identified and discussed in detail.
A marriage counsellor will give instant solutions: Getting instant solutions is what a therapist hears quite often but, imagine something that has developed over years and gotten so strong that it is hampering the relationship. Can it be resolved instantly? There are no instant solutions to these long-standing issues, it takes time, and quite some effort.
Divorce/Separation: It is often believed that only when you have reached a point where you are thinking along the lines of divorce/separation is when you should opt for marriage counseling.
Taking sides: Another very common belief is that the marriage counsellor will take sides and blame the other partner. No, that is not the objective of marriage counseling.
Past wounds: One of the most common myths about marriage counselling is that past wounds would be brought up which makes no sense. But, the whole idea to bring up the past (if at all the therapist decides to do so) is to help you walk through and heal those wounds to not affect you later in the relationship.
Marriage counselling helps couple understand each other from a different perspective. It is much more than resolving conflicts. The online therapist provides tools to communicate better, understand each other. The therapist helps pinpointing the sources of conflict and try resolving it. The sessions help in getting idea about solidifying the relationship. In some cases, such as mental illness or substance abuse, your marriage counsellor may work with your other health care professionals to provide a complete spectrum of treatment.
The key to a long term, healthy relationship is trust, patience, love and adjustments. When there are two people involved in a commitment, disagreements, differences and fights are inevitable. Marriage counselling provides the couple to look into their issue from a different perspective, empathize with the partner, enhance communication thus resolving issues in a healthier way. A marriage therapist will help recognise the dysfunctional patterns which come as a hindrance to genuine interaction and a healthy debate.
Marriage counselling takes hard work, dedication and a well drafted strategy for which a marriage counsellor is required. The counsellor would typically start with an individual journey and then move onto couple sessions. Your marriage counsellor would create individual and couple goals based on multiple factors including your personal traits as well as your joint chemistry. Hence the duration of this journey is defined by the couple and the marriage counsellor together.
Marriage counselling can be sought at any point of time. It is a misconception that counselling is required only if there are issues. In fact a significant number of couples consult a marriage counsellor so they can work on different aspects of themselves as well as relationship like effective communications, adapting to the new life, parenting, stress etc. However, there are few signs that couples can consider in general: Indifference towards partner or relationship / Fights- When you notice that every communication is ending up with a disagreement, it is likely that there will be no productive outcome from it / Unfaithful- Infidelity in a relationship can be a major hurdle. It is actually a blow to the trust which is difficult to get back. / Lies and secrets- Some white lies are accepted in any kind of relationship. However, when these lies or secrets are about some significant topics, it means the foundation of trust has to be rechecked. These are some signs which can be considered before marriage counselling. There is no shame in working hard for something one cares for.
Disclaimer: Please note that we are not a crisis intervention helpline. Should you have severe symptoms or have thought about harming yourself, please seek immediate medical help or call suicide prevention helplines such as
Aasra 24x7 Helpline: 91-22-27546669