“Can relationship counseling really help?”
It’s a question I hear often and it’s certainly a legitimate one to ask when you’re thinking of investing in marriage counseling. After all, it would be great to have that assurance before investing your time and money into counseling.
And the answer is… YES. Absolutely, Definitely… but, not always.
Okay, I’m a relationship and marriage counselor, so you can only expect that you’d get a biased opinion from me. If I didn’t believe marriage counseling was beneficial, I wouldn’t have formed Asheville Marriage Counseling and committed my practice to providing it.
But, I understand what’s really being asked is…
“Will marriage counseling work for us?”
And of course, I cannot promise any specific couple that counseling will “work for them”… meaning it will result in the specific outcomes they desire.
I wish I could give every couple an absolute 100% guarantee their counseling will do that. But, in reality there are simply too many factors involved for any counselor to make such a promise to any client, especially before counseling has even started.
We humans are incredibly complex when it comes to how we make choices, develop our preferences, experience satisfaction, or pleasure, or disharmony.
We’re also quite complex in what attracts us to another, what makes us feel connected, and how we love another. So, when two incredibly complex humans are blending and merging their lives together, well… you can get ‘extra-super incredibly complex‘.
Marriage Counseling Helps Simplify the Complexity
But, don’t be discouraged, because we humans are also able to be incredibly adaptive, creative, inspired, motivated, focused, and resilient. We also have a strong natural urge for partnering, which gives us a built in desire and motivation to make our relationship work.
And fortunately, you don’t need to fully understand all that complexity for marriage counseling to offer some specific changes that can work to create positive change in your marriage. Oftentimes some minor adjustments or a new perspective can bring about dramatic changes that restore affection and ease the tensions in your marriage.
Part of my role as a couples’ counselor is to help you to sort through all those complications and zero in on the specific issues most critical to your immediate struggles. Then we can focus on the concerns most likely to quickly ease tensions and improve interactions between you and your partner. As your marriage starts regaining strength and connection, we’re then better able to address any difficulties requiring a little more time and practice to establish durable solutions.
Most couples I see at Asheville Marriage Counseling report feeling encouraged and more prepared for taking care of both their relationship and in their personal well-being. They develop confidence in their ability to manage the challenges and conflicts that are a part of being married or any long term relationship.
They also expand their understanding and appreciation for their partner, have more connection and intimacy, and even a greater tolerance for those little annoying quirks in their spouse that probably aren’t ever going to change.
So while I can’t guarantee how useful marriage counseling will be for a specific couple, it does prove to be helpful for a lot of them.
Now with all that being said, there are some traits I’ve observed that give some general indications of how easily – and how quickly – marriage counseling will help a couple to create or reclaim a relationship they find truly fulfilling.
- Know they love or genuinely care for each other (despite the difficulties)
- Are open to new possibilities and willing to reconsider their conclusions
- Receptive to a different understanding of their partner’s actions or intentions
- Prepared to invest some effort and experiment with doing things differently
- Understand reliable and lasting changes may be gradual and take some time
- Accept they’ll both probably make some mistakes or have some set backs
- Willing at some point to put aside past mistakes – and mostly look forward
- Are more invested in finding solutions, than in ‘being right’ or blaming
- They’ve not waited too long and developed too much animosity, hurt, or distrust
Now, don’t worry if you’re not 100% solid in each of those areas, because very few couples do. You don’t need to have all of those traits in full bloom for counseling to be effective. Part of my responsibility as a marriage therapist is helping you develop and build up such traits and see how they help strengthen the foundation for a stable and intimate relationship.
To discuss how Asheville Marriage Counseling can help with your situation, give me a call to schedule a free consultation.