To maximize the value and impact of marriage counseling, it requires a serious effort and commitment from both partners. Despite being at odds or in disagreement on something, they must always consider themselves a team, the counselor as the coach, and divorce as the opposing team. If you aren’t in it to win it, what are you playing for?
Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of marriage counseling.
1. Set Clear Goals For Yourself
Before your first session, take some time to think about what you really want out of marriage counseling. Is there a specific issue that needs to be resolved? A behavior you find unacceptable, or you have been unable to change in yourself?
Write down what you feel is interfering with a healthy relationship, and what would make it better. Be specific, and realistic. The first step to solving these issues is to clearly define them. This will help effectively communicate them to your partner later.
2. Listen, And Then Listen Some More
“We have two years and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” – Epictetus
You know how you feel, you’re you. Marriage counseling is an opportunity to better understand how your partner feels. This requires more than just effective listening skills- it requires humility, empathy, and compassion. In addition, it requires body language that communicates you are listening, and that the feelings your partner is expressing are valid. Even more, these words and emotions are important to you.
3. Come Prepared To Change
Some couples enter marriage counseling with the primary goal of changing the other. Instead, they should focus on changes they can make within themselves to improve the relationship. This may mean changing your response to your partner’s actions, changing your expectations, or changing your own behavior.
4. Agree On Next Steps Together
Where do we go from here? If no one knows, it’s doubtful you’ll get there.
It is critical to establish individual and shared objectives with your marriage counselor at the end of each session to make progress outside the clinical setting. As stated above, marriage counseling requires a serious commitment from both partners to finding the middle ground. They must both agree and believe the choices they are making together will build the life and relationship that they want.
Finding the right marriage counselor is critical to successful outcomes. Dean A. Aman, LPCMH is a licensed marriage counselor in the state of Delaware. Dean specializes in helping couples create the healthy, happy relationships they desire. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.