Seeking marriage counselling, whether it’s for the first time or the hundredth, can be a daunting prospect, but it doesn’t have to be. Although every session is unique, there are a few cornerstones of counselling that tend to be most productive and helpful in dealing with emotional blocks. Let’s explore a few of the things you should expect to come up in marriage counselling sessions.
Enter with an open heart
Rebuilding a positive relationship with your partner through marriage counselling is a process, and the first step is to explore where things have been going wrong. It can be challenging to take ownership of your mistakes and actions that hurt your partner, but without this openness and willingness, the process will be far less likely to succeed. The four things that kill intimacy in most relationships are criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling, so be willing to examine your role in creating any of these things.
Work individually and collaboratively
Mending a tear in your relationship with your husband or wife is a team effort, but marriage counselling isn’t all about the couple. It’s also about exploring how each of you has grown and changed as an individual and learning to communicate those individual needs in a constructive way. If you go into counselling expecting to examine yourself as well as your relationship with your partner, you’ll likely enjoy a far more constructive process.
Focus on the simple things
While every relationship is intrinsically different, the problems that prompt couples to seek marriage counselling are often quite similar. Even if you feel like there are big rifts in your marriage, you might discover that something small like a shift in your communication strategies is enough to get you back on track.
Embody your experience
In a marriage (or any long-term relationship), your partner’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours heavily influence your own, sometimes unconsciously. In these cases, role play, role modeling, and any other activities that allow you to physically work through your frustrations can be very helpful. Marriage counselling sessions are the perfect opportunity to explore the effect of these practices.
Prepare for deep conversations
Sometimes, the issues that come up during marriage counselling sessions are much deeper than the behaviours actively surfacing in your relationship. Your marriage counselor may go all the way back to your childhood or family history to uncover the root causes of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, especially those you hold in your subconscious.
Consider your goals
Just as there’s no one way to relate to your spouse, there is no singular way to “succeed” in a marriage counselling situation. Together, you can consciously decide what you want to get out of the session and work towards that outcome. Then, you can use those techniques to carry on growing, developing, and improving your relationship together.
If you’re confronting marital difficulties with your spouse, making the decision to start marriage counselling is the first step towards rekindling your connection. When you’re ready to begin that journey together, contact us and see how we can support you.