You fall in love, engage in a nuptial bond, and you live happily ever after. That sounds like something right out of a storybook or romcom movie. But real life ain’t a fairytale, is it? While this convention of “happily ever after” might work for many couples, for some it’s the exact opposite.
Many couples admit that falling for someone isn’t taxing, but maintaining a marriage for years surely is. Life undergoes a number of changes after marriage; you not only change from ‘I’ to ‘we,’ but you also struggle with finances, raising children, balancing career and personal life, and many other difficult tasks.
Often, learning this course of navigating the ups and down of life together, takes a toll on the relationship. This is the very reason why more than 50% of marriages end in divorce.
While it’s okay to believe that maybe you two weren’t meant to be together, many marriages simply end because couples don’t believe in the concept of ‘Marriage Counselling’. If you too have wondered what this is, allow us to give you a little peek.
What is Marriage Counselling?
‘Marital therapy’, ‘marriage counseling’, or ‘couples therapy’ is a form of psychotherapy that focuses specifically on marriages and relationships. It’s provided by Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) who are licensed counselors with graduate or postgraduate degrees and are trained to help couples diagnose their problems as well as work on solutions. Typically, this includes both the partners, but sometimes things are different depending on the situation. Contrary to what some may believe, it isn’t about blaming each other but is a safe place for couples to hash things out.
Is it only for heterogeneous married couples?
Nope, not at all! That’s an absolute misconception.
Though it’s referred to as “marriage counseling,” it has nothing to do with the status of your relationship. So, if you are in a live-in relationship, you can still seek marriage counseling. Moreover, it has nothing to do with the couple’s orientation as well. Regardless of whether you’re a straight or a gay couple, marriage counseling is open to everyone, beyond preference or race. Even couples who are in long-distance or open marriages; married but not living together; just starting out, or married for 40 years, marriage counseling is for all.
Why is it necessary?
Usually, couples seek this therapy to improve an already troubled relationship. Some of the specific issues are:
- Communication problems
- Intimacy issues
- Conflicts about child rearing or blended families
- Substance abuse
However, some couples also seek this therapy to gain a better understanding of each other. Marriage counseling might also help do away with domestic abuse. But if the violence reaches the extremum, you should contact the police to look into this.
How does this work?
Initially, the therapist prepares the soil by trying to know you individually; your interests, passions, and things like that.
They might continue this for a few days or weeks and then delve into your relationship. But rest assured, in the initial stage, they won’t ask questions that you find ‘embarrassing’ or ‘hard to deal with’. They’ll simply try to interpret each of your feelings and how you’re each affecting the other.
Then, as they slowly come to know the root cause of your ‘fights’, they ask you to come up with ideas of doing things differently at home. Slowly, you will start to experiment with new ways of doing things. You might even leave the session with “homework,” to bring in the required change.
To wrap it up
Opening up about your marital problems isn’t easy, but remember, seeking help isn’t bad. It’s just as Dave Meurer correctly points out, an awesome marriage doesn’t happen when the ‘perfect couple’ unites. It happens when an imperfect couple accepts and enjoys each other’s differences. It’s always advisable to seek a marriage counselor and know which path your marriage is going on!