Do you want to save your marriage, but don’t know where to start? Consider marriage counseling, which will allow you and your partner to recommit to the healthy, fulfilling marriage you both deserve – or decide to part ways peacefully, knowing that you tried everything you could to save your marriage. Here’s what marriage counseling can – and cannot – do for you.
Why do couples seek counseling?
Partners often seek marriage counseling when they feel misunderstood, frustrated, or deeply hurt. Others seek counseling when they feel a profound sense of sadness in their relationships. Often, these feelings are not new, but have been stewing for years. This is why couples that enter counseling early stand a better chance of saving their marriages.
Is it wrong to want happiness from a marriage?
It’s not wrong; it’s just not realistic to think it will be that way all the time. The first step to saving or restoring a marriage requires both partners to confront reality. There is no such thing as eternal marital bliss. Marriage requires work. It requires commitment. It is a conscious choice by both partners to suspend their respective egos in favor of the marriage. Quite often, this means agreeing to give up having to be “right” in the relationship. Without such agreement, counseling can be futile.
Marriage counseling when one or both partners want a divorce
For those that choose divorce, therapy is also available. However, contrary to common belief, dissolution rarely ends the relationship. This is especially true when children are involved. Rather, dissolution is often a long and painful process involving individual growth. Couples that commit to creating a new relationship as friends and co-parents will find their transformation less painful and more constructive for all concerned.
How marriage counseling helps when the couple wants a divorce
Dissolution often begins with pain. For many, there is a quiet sense of sadness and a sense of helplessness. These feelings can be caused by the onset of physical and emotional separation. For most couples, the pain and sadness can reach extraordinary levels. Dissolution often starts with a period of mourning. Sadness can be accompanied by guilt and anger. Therapy can help you transition through this difficult period by allowing you to express the full range of emotions.
Can therapy help protect children of divorce?
Yes. Therapy emphatically discourages vindictive behavior. Tolling more emotional damage is always counterproductive, especially to children. When children are involved, a therapist will work hard to remind the parents that their focus should be on reassuring the children that the parents’ sadness was not in any way brought on by them. Moreover parents must reassure their children that what the parent is going through will not impact their relationship with either parent.
Can therapy help with depression and loneliness?
Yes. Once the sadness and pain of dissolution begins to leave, there is often an “identity” transition that follows. A two-person identity becomes a single identity. This transition often means relinquishing the emotional dependency in favor of establishing a new identity as a single person. This is often a painful process of self-discovery. It may involve living in a new home, exploring new interests and activities, and making new friends. During this time, it is a good idea to call on trusted friends and relatives for support and encouragement.
Henry Dahut is an attorney, author, educator, and brand-marketing strategis who works with the leadership of some of the largest and most profitable law firms in the world. He is also a special advisor to the State Bar of California, Law Practice Management and Technology Committee, and the author of Marketing the Legal Mind and Law Firms 2020 – Firms of the Future.