Counseling for Couples and Marriages
Marriage counseling, or couples counseling, has as it ultimate goal the healing, strengthening and development of healthy marriages. Marriage therapy can be for any couple that may be going through a difficult season and needs some help to work out their problems. It is also for those couples who marriage is overall doing well, it could just use a tune-up or some enrichment. Couples counseling is also for those who are preparing for marriage and want to lay a strong foundation.
The Goals of Marriage Counseling
To recognize God’s use of the marriage relationship to create growth in us as individuals
To recognize and change vicious cycles and patterns
To identify patterns that may be related to family of origin issues
To give couples tools to use at home so that therapy is not needed in the future
To increase intimacy and heart connection in the marriage
What Can I Expect?
Typically, the first sessions are considered the assessment phase. This is when the therapist will attempt to get the “big picture” of how the couple is functioning in various aspects of their relationship and what patterns are in place. The therapist will then discuss his or her findings with the couple and negotiate which areas to address first. Therapists may also meet with the husband or wife alone at times. Work may focus on communication, conflict resolution, past & current family relationships, confessing sins, time management, sexual intimacy, renewing fun in the relationship, etc. Though wrongs are addressed, the goal is not to create a list of wrongs judging who is right. We will assume that both partners have contributed to marriage problems and that spouses have both good and bad qualities they have brought into the marriage.
Not all marriages need therapy. Enrichment is for couples who want to find ways to improve
a generally good marriage. We recommend marriage retreats which serve as boosters to
infuse new energy into the marriage. We provide individualized enrichment sessions as well.
We can do a general marriage assessment to identify areas of improvement, teach better
communication, and guide couples in deepening their pursuit of intimacy. We also work
with couples to improve sexual intimacy.
We also offer in depth premarital counseling. Considering that marriage is one of the most important and challenging aspects of our lives, it is amazing how we expect to thrive without
study or training. We offer a thorough premarital assessment, identify strengths and possible
problem areas, and help the couple work through their expectations. Since we work with
troubled couples, we are sensitized to look for trouble spots and work hard to help couples
prevent problems. Sometimes a couple in premarital counseling will decide to postpone
marriage to work through important issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is Couples Therapy Needed
Couples usually try to resolve their issues themselves and sometimes seek the help of their friends, family, and church. Often they wait too long or make decisions on the basis of bad advice. Counseling requires courage and does not reflect inadequacy. Simply put, any married couple can benefit from marriage counseling. Ideally, it is better to develop the skills and understanding before significant problems arise. When trouble surfaces, the sooner it can be addressed the better.
What if I Feel Like My Marriage is Hopeless?
When hurts have accrued over time, it is not unusual for you to feel this way. With increasing hurt, love feelings decline. The mistake many make is to assume their love is dead. We believe that the deeper love of commitment can see a couple through the hard work of change. When the vicious cycle is arrested, forgiveness can occur, new patterns of kindness and responsibility are established, and couples report renewed love feelings. We have found that there is hope in situations that appear hopeless.
What if My Partner Will Not Come to Counseling?
This is another common problem. It is harder to make progress without cooperation; however, an individual can learn to identify vicious cycles and make unilateral changes that can change effectively a marriage relationship and family system.
Why Do Marriages Fail?
There are many reasons people give including money conflicts, personality incompatibility, sexual problems, pressure from parents, infidelity, substance abuse, etc. Most frequently, we see the accrual of negative experiences and hurts. This results over time in a decline in marriage satisfaction, trust, respect, appreciation, and love feelings. Hurts and anger lead to escalations or withdrawal that are not resolved. Vicious cycles develop leading to a corrosion of the marriage foundation. People start to feel numb toward one another. The wounding tends to accelerate over time leading to hopelessness. Stopping such a vicious cycle requires powerful intervention