Saving Your Relationship: Does Marriage Counseling Really Work?
The divorce rate in America right now is just 0.29%, which seems pretty small! It’s also true that the rates of divorces in the U.S. are falling, which is good news for any nation.
One of the reasons why these numbers are looking so good is that people may be more willing to get help when their relationships are looking bleak and hard to cope with.
In this guide, we want to focus on the idea of saving your relationship. We’ll focus on asking the question, does marriage counseling really work? If you’re feeling open-minded and willing to see if there are answers to the hardships you’re going through with your relationship, read on.
How to Save Your Marriage
We’ll begin by running through some quickfire tips that you can try to implement right away to help save your marriage. You can try out some or all of these tips before you approach the idea of marriage counseling.
The tips are:
- Work on developing a more relaxed atmosphere
- Maintain your personal goals
- Support each other’s passions
- Avoid trying to blame each other
- Understand that change takes time
As you can see, some of these tips are much easier said than done. However, these are the sorts of things you should be doing to change your negative routines with each other.
Develop a Relaxed Atmosphere
Developing a more relaxed atmosphere is the first step you can make to create the basis for change. If you and your partner are always heated and stressed in your interactions, there’s no hope of making any progress toward a better marriage.
To keep your cool, try not to react so much to the triggers that your partner gives you to flare up. Instead, try meditation techniques such as counting to ten or going on a short walk to calm yourself can work wonders.
Maintain Personal Goals and Support Each Other’s Passions
Don’t sell out on your personal goals in a relationship. If you do, you’ll just get bitter about it down the line.
Instead, try to make some compromises where you and your partner feel happy enough to move forward with your goals and your relationship. Keep in mind, this might take some time and effort through discussion.
As much as you allow each other to have personal goals, try to be supportive of them too. It takes little effort to compliment your partner on the efforts they are making with their passions.
Stop With the Blame Game
As much as you feel like something is your partner’s fault, it’s not going to help in the grand scheme of things. All that ends up happening is another argument and no progress on the matter.
Try to hold back from blaming. A better way to go about it is to talk about why the issue in question is not a positive one for both of you, regardless of who has done it.
Change Takes Time
When you have negative relationship habits in place, it’s going to take time to change the dynamic between yourself and your partner. Respect that you’re both going to make mistakes, and it’s OK.
Patience will play a big part in your change. If you can start being more patient with your partner and positive in your mood with them, it may just rub off on them!
Does Marriage Counseling Work?
If you’ve tried some of the tips above or not, and things are still looking very rocky in your relationship, the big question is: does marriage counseling work? The answer, of course, is not black and white.
The best and shortest answer we can give is yes if you and your partner are both willing to commit and put in long-term effort to save your marriage. It also helps if you have a lot to lose from separating (this refers mostly to children in the relationship). Plus, getting the best therapists you can make a difference.
But how does marriage counseling work? Well, you should be aware that there are different types of marriage counseling options available. Here we will briefly explain a couple of these options:
EFT Marriage Counseling
EFT (emotionally focused therapy) counseling is by far the most common type of marriage counseling available these days. Dr. Sue Johnson developed it in the 80s, and it’s concerned with organizing emotions.
It’s a short-term approach that will suit many couples who want quicker results. The average number of sessions can be anywhere between 10 and 20. The main goal is to help you and your partner bond better emotionally by making more sense of each other’s emotions.
The Gottman Method for Marriage Counseling
The Gottman method says there are “Four Horsemen” that can trouble a marriage. These “Horsemen” are defensiveness, criticism, stonewalling, and contempt.
On the flip side, the Gottman method says there are nine elements to a healthy marital relationship. They are in random order:
- Conflict management
- Making your dreams a reality
- Having shared meaning
- Developing love maps
- Sharing admiration and fondness
- Turning toward each other
- Having a positive perspective
The Gottman method is a popular one that’s worked well for many couples. It was Gottman and his wife who created it, and they did 40 years of research to come up with the concepts we have just mentioned.
People also consider this approach great for problems at any stage of a relationship. The reason for this is that the method allows you to identify what’s already positive and what your relationship is lacking.
The Age Old Does Marriage Counseling Really Work Question
The number of couples that must have asked the question, “does marriage counseling really work” must be staggeringly huge. It’s because, whether we like it or not, relationships are difficult at times for everyone. It’s what we do to change things in our relationships that counts.
You can start by following the tips we mentioned at the beginning of the article. Then, if you feel you need some help, we recommend you go get marriage counseling and choose a method that appeals to you both.
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