The ideal time to get marriage counseling is when things are still good between two partners in a relationship. Realistically, that happens about 0% of the time. The reasoning seems to be something like "Why fix it if it's not broken." Yet, marriage counseling is about giving couples the tools they need to survive the onslaught of never-ending threats from both within and outside of the marriage. Therefore, the best time to attend couple's counseling would be when everything is going well. This way, when hard times come (as they inevitably will), the couple is equipped and prepared to get through the tough times without damaging their marriage or ruining it unnecessarily.
Unfortunately, most married couples seek counseling only when their relationship is on the verge of falling apart or when the marriage has already fallen apart, and they're trying put it back together. By this point, as marriage counselors, we've got our work cut for us.
The Way We Provide Counseling for Spouses
One of the things we like to do is to meet with couples together and individually. We meet individually with both partners first. This gives us counselors an opportunity to engage each person first-hand. We hear their version of events, their complaints, and get a sense of what they expect and hope for from attending marriage counseling sessions. After meeting alone with both partners, we'll meet with both of them together. We'll lay some ground rules, such as no interrupting while the other one is talking, no yelling, and so forth.
A lot of people are surprised to learn that we don't take sides. Many people assume we avoid taking sides because we must remain neutral as counselors or that it's on our financial interests not to take sides. Truthfully, we don't take sides for the best interests of the couple. If you've ever had a dispute with your partner, and your partner brings their friends or family into the quarrel, you already know how it feels to be teamed up on. This can lead to one of the partners abandoning the counseling sessions permanently.
What Couple's Counseling is All About
The main reason we don't take sides is that it doesn't matter who's right or who's wrong. In fact, so long as one or both of the partners remain hung up on stubborn pride, the relationship is never going to get better. Having a successful marriage doesn't mean that your partner does what you want them to do or even what they should do. A successful marriage is established on open and free forgiveness, respectful communication, and understanding that your partner is an imperfect human being prone to making mistakes and bad decisions just like you.
In that sense, it doesn't matter who's right and who's wrong! It matters who is the bigger person and doesn't try to get even when they're hurt or offended and who's willing to overlook the other's transgressions. You'd be surprised that by changing your attitude and behaviors instead of trying to get your partner to change theirs, your partner may see the change in you and eventually follow suit. One of you has to be the responsible adult and not rub it in the other one's face. That's what marriage counseling is all about.
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St. Charles Counseling has been providing counseling services in the Fox Valley area since 2004. Every therapist at St. Charles Counseling have each been a licensed therapist for 20 years or more and have a combined experience of over 75 years in the counseling field. We offer individual, adolescent, marriage and family counseling to clients from the Fox Valley and surrounding areas, including West Chicago, Campton Hills, South Elgin, Geneva, and Batavia.
We feel strongly that therapy is not a place people come once they have failed. Rather, it’s what they do once they have decided to face life’s challenges head on and have chosen to succeed at overcoming them. You can do it. We can help.