‘A wedding is for a day; a marriage is for a lifetime!’ Marriage is an integral institution of human life. It dictates the direction, quality, and experience of an individual’s life and can make or break their life’s journey. However, marriages are not always a bed of roses, and making a marriage work requires constant effort. Sometimes, the couple’s own experiences and advice from friends and family can help, but when it does not, there is always the option of seeking marriage counseling. But when we talk about marriage counseling what not to say or what to say to your marriage counselor matters the most.
What is Marriage Counselling?
According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, marriage counseling or couples therapy is ‘therapy in which both partners in a committed relationship are treated at the same time by the same therapist or therapists.’ Marriage counseling is meant to provide a safe space and a trained support system to help couples forge better compatibility and communication in their marriage or relationship. It aims to have positive effects on the relationship between the couple, as well as the children if any.
Marriage counseling has been practiced for a long time; however, there is still a societal stigma surrounding it, making it difficult for people to accept that they need couples therapy and go ahead and ask for it. So, we as a society must know about marriage counseling. While the onus of making a marriage work always lies with the couple, it is essential that we as a society accept the idea of marriage counseling and know what to say and what not to say to couples trying out therapy. Marriage counseling what not to say is just not an idea; it is a crucial point to seek for.
What Do You Want Out of Marriage Counseling?
Just like any other form of therapy, marriage counseling also focuses on what goals the couple would like to concentrate on. Couples in different stages of their relationship may seek marriage counseling, and each couple’s experiences vary based on the goals they set up for therapy. There is a notion that marriage counseling is only meant for couples who are on the verge of divorce or who have a questionable phase in their relationship. That could not be further from the truth. In reality, any couple who chooses to access therapy can benefit from it. While couples therapy is prescribed for couples with dilemmas, marriage counseling can also aid to enhance and enrich their relationship. It is a safe space for couples to discover their strengths and weaknesses and give direction to their relationship, all in the presence of a trained professional.
How To Prepare for Marriage Counseling?
So now you have decided that you want to seek couples therapy. But, how do you prepare for it?
1. You Both on the Same Plane
First and foremost, it is a must to know that seeking couples therapy is a choice. If anyone participant in the relationship does not feel ready for couples therapy, it might not be okay to force someone to go into it. Only when both the partners are willing to commit to therapy of their own accord will it show results. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that both of you are genuinely ready for couples therapy.
2. Discuss Your Goals
Discuss your goals with your partner. Both of you must go into therapy seeking similar aims for your relationship. Only when you have an idea about why you are getting into therapy, can you make full use of the insights it brings to you?
Also Read: Express yourself and always communicate better. Otherwise, toxic communication may lead you to disastrous and stressful life.
3. Willing to Talk
Lastly, be willing to talk about your feelings. Therapy works much better if both the participants are agreeable to be genuine and honest about their feelings. This helps the therapist gain better insight and allows you to reach your goals faster.
And finally, it is important to note that therapy works differently for everyone. Therefore, these might not be the exact ways you prepare to step into couples counseling. What is vital is for you to feel ready and prepare according to your instincts.
How Does Therapy Affect Married Life?
Marriage is not great when the perfect couple comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences. That is the precise goal of marriage therapy. It helps couples understand each other’s communication and attachment style and enables them to forge a bond that includes their individual narratives and makes space for improvement.
For married life, this could mean better communication or better understanding. Sometimes, all therapy does is offer a safe space for couples to open up about their problems and difficulties in a way society does not allow them to. In the presence of a trained professional, they can gain insight into the causes of their tussles and get to the root of certain behaviours in themselves and each other. This helps them set realistic expectations from their relationship and gives them the tools to weather the good, the bad, and the ugly that their marriage brings.
Marriage Counseling What Not to Say?
Marriage counseling comes with a lot of baggage. The couple seeking therapy might not be sure of what it is, the people around could be discouraging, or sometimes, even the therapist might not be a right fit. Here are a few things to remember about marriage counseling what not to say.
1. Honesty, Trust and Safe Space
As a couple going into therapy, it can be quite intimidating, especially if you’ve never been to therapy before. There is absolutely no harm in bringing up uncomfortable or personal topics about your relationship with the therapist. However, it is important to know that therapy is a safe space to express whatever comes to your mind. It is better to tell your therapist as much as you can and as honestly as possible. Opening up with clarity will help them assist you better.
2. Don’t Tell my Spouse
Never say this to your marriage counselors; when having one-on-one counseling, many couples share personal things and request the counselor to keep it a secret, in a nutshell, a request not to share with their respective spouse. If you don’t want your spouse to know about it, it is better not to share it with your counselor. But again, marriage is all about trust then why should your partner not know about it. And if this is concerning you so badly, you must talk to your marriage counselor to get advice on how to say it to your partner. Marriage counselors support resolving the issue by being fair to both of you, so in marriage counseling, what not to say is not designed for your ease.
3. Don’t Distrust
Sometimes people try to ignore the suggestions of their marriage counselor. Never say that you don’t believe in their therapy or they are wrong in their interpretation. At such times, you must think about why you went to your counselor in the first place, there must be some issues in your marriage which you want to fix, and that’s why you decided to seek advice from a marriage counselor. When they give you some facts or recommendations to try out, you must listen and try to work on it as it is for your own benefit. You can discuss your issues but can’t say that they are wrong or misjudging your relationship. It’s not that you blindly follow them; you can argue with your counselor but denying them is inappropriate.
Signs Of Bad Marriage Counseling
While most therapists are trained well and follow strict ethical guidelines, sometimes, some therapists may not feel alright for you. Here are some signs to check out for.
1. You Don’t Feel Comfortable with Your Therapist
A therapy survives on the therapeutic relationship. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your innermost feelings with your therapist, it might not be a right fit.
2. Your Therapist Violates Confidentiality
Confidentiality is a significant ethical obligation in therapy, and if your therapist violates confidentiality without your consent, just let go of them. Such therapy can cause you harm and bring about more damage than good.
As for your therapist, know that they may not always be the right fit for you. Therapy is not magic, and sometimes, it just does not work, and that is okay. It is not your fault or maybe not your therapist’s fault either. It is important to give your best shot to therapy and call it quits if you feel it does not work.
Support the Decision
If anyone from your friends or family is seeking marriage counseling, know that it is a personal choice to be respected. Your close ones seeking therapy is not a sign of your weakness or inadequacy. Know that therapy might just be something that helps them get better at their marriage. Couples therapy takes work and effort, and if someone has made a choice to commit to therapy, it is crucial to support them. Do not say discouraging things to them or try to take them off from the idea of seeking support. There is already a lot of stigma around seeking mental health aid. Therefore, as a society, we must empower people to make choices that allow them to seek the support they need and deserve.
Couples therapy can be a challenging road, and there are people with both good and bad experiences from it. However, it can bring more self-awareness, understanding, and value to the relationship for those who take the path sincerely. Along with the couple, we as a society need to understand more about this subject as well. So do give a thought about marriage counseling what not to say, and become a sound support system to people around you.
Also read: Marriage is an important institution, but are you living in an unhappy one? Read to find out.