Things To Keep In Mind Before Going To A Couples Counseling
People go to couples counseling before finally deciding to get a divorce and go separate ways. It’s their last resort in trying to patch up their relationship. In all fairness, it’s a well-meaning sign that there’s still hope in saving the marriage because that is the purpose of having a couples counseling. People call a counselor to set an appointment in the hope that they can at least have one last shot at making things right, maybe not to stay together but to break upon good terms.
For couples counseling to be successful, there are several important things to keep in mind. They are crucial in determining the result of the therapy, and you and the counselor are after the same goal out of your sessions – to get the best possible outcome. “[I]f we have the tools to understand, empathize, listen to and connect with our partners within and outside of conflict, we can have the fulfilling relationships that we were meant to have,” according to licensed marriage and family therapist Robyn D’Angelo.
Keep In Mind These Things Before Attending A Couples Counseling:
According to marriage counselor Gary Chapman, “Each of us speaks a different “love language,” of which there are five: words of affirmation; acts of service; receiving gifts; quality time; and physical touch.” If you still love each other and want to make it work, couples counseling can help even if it will not be easy.
- Know that it is still going to be difficult. Couples counseling does not guarantee that the battle is going to smoothen. The counselor is going to help you go through all the issues that you couldn’t fix, and that implies that those are hard ones. Don’t expect that couples counseling will be a walk in the park.
Try asking yourself your main reason for wanting to have couples counseling in the first place. Prepare your mind for all the possibilities. Remember that the fight is going to be painful. Ask yourself why you are doing it so that you can remind yourself later on.
- Make preparations of your own. Clear your head with others’ opinions because they can influence your thoughts during the therapy. They will be like silent voices whispering in your ears, so free yourself from any of these by going to a place where you can clear your head.
Find your haven and think of the steps you are taking. Remember all your burdens, so you can pour it all once the therapy starts but also remind yourself of the positive areas of your marriage.
- Never hesitate or think that it will be a waste of time. Just know that the earlier, the better. Some people try to fix their marriage on their own, but sometimes, they worked for it long enough. They had waited for the time when it already seems impossible before they decided to seek couples counseling.
However, people don’t usually call a counselor in the second year of their marriage. They ask for help because they think of it as the final lifeline, and that’s okay. It doesn’t matter when you decide to seek couples counseling. What matters is that you did because there’s a part of you that somehow hopes for the better.
- Do your research and choose the best. Find a counselor you’re both going to be comfortable with during the sessions. Remember that he is going to have a critical role to play in repairing your marriage, and it’s something to be handled with a lot of care and precaution.
Find someone who is straightforward because you need to hear the truth, but make sure that he is not biassed because that’s the last thing you need. You want a whole and clear picture of the situation, not just someone’s truth, so make sure that you can figure out that the counselor is fair.
- Don’t hold back. You are seeking a couples counseling to try and fix what you can’t on your marriage, and that mostly consists of poor communication. There’s something that the both of you could not agree on, and you need someone to mediate for you. With that said, you need to be able to tell everything that’s inside you. Don’t sugar-coat your words. Say what you mean.
Never end counseling without saying everything. You know there would be some sleepless nights if you are not able to tell all. It is better to pour everything regardless of the result. You don’t want to bein a situation where you’ll be thinking “What if I said it? What could have been the outcome?”
- Listen! You are not attending a couples counseling just to pour all your burdens. You should know that you will be there to listen as well. It doesn’t matter who caused most of the problem in your marriage. You also have a part in it, so be open to all the things that you might learn from what you did.
People are good at blaming. Somehow, it’s their way of making themselves feel better, but if you are opting for a couples counseling, don’t go pointing fingers. Acknowledge everything that the other side has to say and listen and ponder. Never go into a defense mode.
“As individuals, we benefit greatly from learning skills to manage our emotions, cope with our inner critics and become assertive. The same is true for couples: Our romantic relationships also benefit greatly when we take the time to learn and practice the skills that cultivate connection,” says Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. Seeking couples counseling is a sign that both of you still want to fix your marriage. You both believe that you could be better. It could be your last shot at saving not just your relationship but your wellbeing from falling apart, so make sure that you are prepared to give it your 101 percent.