What can be done to make marriage therapy worth your time and money? Many couples going into therapy are on the verge of a breakup, and yet some of them (the truly honest ones) believe thereís still hope. In order to make marriage counseling work, it is important to go to a skilled therapist. But then again, if you and your husband are not willing to fix your marriage, not even the best therapist in the world will convince you itís best to stay together.
Here are seven amazing tips to help married couples get better at marriage counseling and save their relationship.
1. Value yourself more. Yes, you wish your spouse would make a significant change; otherwise you wouldnít be in therapy. But valuing yourself more in the presence of your partner is actually a more efficient way to improve your married life. Nothing will change if youíre constantly pressuring your spouse to change. Recall expectations from the start of your marriage and visualize what you want. What was (and still is) your ideal marriage scenario? Now take a look at the present and assess your current situation. What stops you from being happy? What are your weaknesses? When did you start losing track of the love and began focusing too much on flaws, nagging and whining?
2. Dig deeper and get in touch with your deepest emotions. This can actually save you months of marriage counseling. Find a way to reach the feeling hiding behind the feelings. Obvious marriage conflicts arise from anger, judgment, annoyance, and resentment. But why are you feeling like this? What is the root cause? Stop resisting your emotions and let your thoughts speak. Talk about what bothers you, and let your spouse see your vulnerabilities. Thereís no shame in that. In fact, vulnerabilities can make the other finally understand the real you. If you donít want to feel controlled, tell them; if thereís something you donít agree with, speak and state your point of view.
3. Spend time together in between therapy sessions. Marriage therapy is demanding and time intensive. The more serious the conflict, the more time a couple may need to recover. However, the time spent in therapy is just as important as the time spent in between sessions. Just be together and avoid distractions. Find a safe environment and start a conversation. Go for a walk in the park and remember the good times; and donít let anything interfere with your positive emotions. Avoid talks related to your current issues and stay focused on the positive things that brought you together in the first place.
4. Stop making baseless assumptions. Married life is all about trustóthatís why it is important to give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. Stop making baseless assumptions and have more trust. Be honest about the things you want to say, and avoid checking his/her every move. Instead of stocking their actions all day long, become more curious about their feelings and emotions.
5. Value your independence. Many couples donít stay married for a very long time because they end up depending on each other. The relationship becomes suffocating, and we werenít born to live like this. Itís not healthy, itís not comfortable, and itís not satisfying either. This whole scenario makes us overthink things and we end up seeing only the negative traits of our loved one. Strive to preserve your independence, and keep things interesting.
“Instead of stocking their actions all day long, become more curious about their feelings and emotions.”
6. Avoid talking about a divorce. Even though you believe thereís little hope for your marriage right now, just avoid talking about a divorce. Marriage counseling should be about saving your relationship; mentioning divorce will instantly make the other worry that youíre not willing to fix anything. Itís tough to instill hope in a dying marriage. However, that doesnít mean there's nothing you can do to save it. Commit to having a conversation about what can be done to make things better, and focus on the positive aspects of your relationship.
7. Ditch the past. Letting go of everything bad that happened in the past is tough. You must learn to deal with the relationship in the present. Thereís no use in remembering what your spouse did months ago. Itís already done, itís in the past, it doesnít matter anymore. Move on and ditch all those negative feelings that used to poison your relationship and focus on actions you can take right now to improve it. Marriage counselors are experts at helping couples overcome obstacles. However, they canít be much of a help if the husband and the wife are not open to their suggestions.
Therapy can help save your marriage. A marriage counselor has the expertise to make couples see beyond their marital issues. If thereís genuine love still burning inside your soul, then there is a chance you can be happy again.
Malini Bhatia is the founder of†Marriage.com, a website dedicated to providing value in every marriage. Marriage.com provides resources, information and a community that supports healthy, happy marriages. Malini has global experience in international management and communications, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband of 11 years and two daughters.