How to Get the Most Out of Marriage Counseling
Admitting something is wrong, that something needs to change, or I need help, is never easy. Having to face those problems head on is difficult and may be uncomfortable for you and your spouse to talk about with a counselor.
To reap the benefits of relationship counseling, you must be able to speak openly and honestly about your relationship and your feelings, and your spouse should be prepared to do the same.
You must also make an effort to let go of those pesky little issues that pop up and focus on the bigger picture. The big picture is your goals for your relationship and where you want to be with your significant other.
Before each counseling session you attend, take a little time to reflect on those goals and the next steps you may need to take to achieve them. In addition:
• Have an open and welcome attitude toward change. If you are resistant to change, then you are going to have problems in solving your marital issues. Both parties to the marriage must be willing to come together and change the relationship so that it can flourish and grow.
• Focus on what you can change in yourself instead of your spouse. Save your energy for the things in yourself that you can change and make better. Nobody can make real change happen in other people; they must do that for themselves. If you go into counseling with the sole purpose of changing your spouse, you are in for a disappointment.
• Be prepared to ask—and answer—difficult questions. Openness and honesty is the key to a good relationship and to getting the most out of your marriage counseling. Some of the questions that must be asked and answered may be painful, but if you can get through them, you will be rewarded with a happy marriage.
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 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 be ineffective.
• Reflect on your short-term and long-term objectives. It’s always easier to reach your goals when you have 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.
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