Marriage therapy is a great option for people facing issues in their marriage, with the therapy being proven to be effective in 75% of the cases, according to a American Psychological Association report mentioned on Psychology Today. You might wonder what happens to the remaining 25%. Well, research says that in cases of physical, emotional or substance abuse, individual therapy works better, while couples who have already made up their mind to separate tend not to benefit as much from couples’ therapy.
If you or a loved one has been experiencing difficulties in their marriage, the first step could be to give your relationship a second chance. Here are 5 tips to get the most out of marriage therapy.
1. Have an Open Mind
You might have doubts about the effectiveness of therapy. You might think that your problems might not get solved through counseling. However, the reality is that whatever you might be experiencing, you are not alone. It is best to enter couples counseling with a commitment to give it your best shot. So, whether you get intimacy homework, communication exercises or alternative coping mechanisms to try, do them all with an open mind.
2. Put in the Time
Marital therapy usually follows a short-term approach, requiring 12 session on average, according to an article by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. The sessions are usually weekly. However, remember that your problems didn’t emerge overnight and are unlikely to find resolution in a day either. In fact, couples tend to postpone seeking help for their issues, waiting for six years on average before finally seeking help, a time during which the problems could intensify, according to Linda Charnes, a leading marriage therapist in NYC. So, don’t expect miracle cures. Put in the work.
3. Have a Common Goal
It is important that both partners share the same goal going into therapy. Unless both of you are willing to give the marriage a second chance and work on your relationship, you are unlikely to achieve the desired outcome. Actions such as threatening to file for divorce can greatly undermine the process of therapy.
4. Be Prepared to Work on Yourself
Although marriage therapy focuses on your relationship, it is also vital that you work on yourself as an individual. The process of counseling makes you introspect and think about behaviors that could be contributing to the problem. Remember, conflict isn’t one-sided, both partners have a role to play. Be prepared to accept and understand your role.
5. Expect to be Uncomfortable Sometimes
Couple therapy requires you to try to do things differently and change existing behavior patterns. Change tends to be difficult for many. You are likely to be placed outside your comfort zone. During such times, it helps to keep in mind why you opted for counseling and the goal that you aim to achieve.
With help from an experienced professional and commitment both partners, couple counseling could help save the marriage.