Benefits of Marriage Counselling
by Abeer Faruqui, M.A. - Psychotherapist
I have never met a couple who has regretted marriage counselling. Despite the cultural taboos that prevent people from seeking professional help, counselling has helped many people in one of their most important human relationships. The gains achieved through marriage counselling far outweigh the taboos: Counselling not only sets the stage for marital success, but it also carves an organized process to move the relationship forward, and provides knowledge and insight in resolving relationship problems.
Stage for Marital Success
- Increased hope: Negativity can easily creep into the relationship when arguments and problems become prevalent. Counselling is a great means of renewing hope, receiving encouragement, and gaining positive motivation, whether through spiritual and religious means or through gaining perspective that the couple’s situation is normal, common and resolvable.
- Increased closeness: During hostile moments it is easy to minimize commonalities with one’s spouse and to see the spouse as ‘the other’. Counselling can assist couples to realise what they both commonly want from their relationship, thereby increasing their unity as a couple.
- Fair chance: When spouses interrupt each other, a feeling of injustice and resentment can develop, which often deters the couples from pursuing a harmonious solution. However, a counsellor can facilitate a conversation in which both spouses feel completely heard, thus minimizing the feeling of injustice and resentment.
Organized Process to Move Forward
- Road map: Couples in conflict often forget to discuss reasonable relationship goals in the midst of confronting issues. But when an official plan is developed together by the couple during counselling, it provides direction for the mutual relationship goal, and guidance on achieving it.
- Practical steps: Resolving marital problems can seem like a daunting task and it is not only done through talking things out. Marriage counselling usually engages couples in small and specific homework tasks that can produce noticeable changes.
- Accountability: Problems often persist because efforts to resolve issues are given low priority and therefore are either never implemented or rarely followed through consistently. But knowing that you have to report your progress to a marriage counsellor adds priority to resolving the relationship issues, increases a feeling of responsibility and improves participation in reaching mutually agreed upon goals.
Knowledge and Insight
- Increased Awareness: Couples in conflict are quick to attribute their own strong reactions to their spouse’s behaviours; however, they fail to recognize that rather than a direct response to their spouse, sometimes these reactions are based in their own life experiences, personality, or maybe even their parents’ marriage. A counsellor can guide individuals to gain deeper insights about themselves and their spouse in order to better understand the source of these reactions.
- Creative solutions: It is natural to feel confused about what you can do for your spouse when the issues continue to occupy your mind. Marriage counselling can provide fresh ideas and proven techniques to help re-ignite interest, motivation and happiness in a marriage.
- Gender Differences: Often times spouses get frustrated because they attempt to please each other by applying their own preferences, or conversely by avoiding things that they themselves find unfavourable. Counsellors can educate couples on the differences in male and female thinking, behaviours and needs to reduce this frustration and help them understand and appreciate each other better.
- Specialized Methods: Some issues require more complex and particular kinds of treatment, for example the methods of addictions counselling are used to effectively deal with pornography ‘addictions’. Therefore, counselling applies tried and tested techniques to bring about results in highly specific and specialized marital scenarios.