The divorce rate has been on a slow decline for the past few years. While that may sound like good news, 39% of marriages still end in divorce.
If you think your marriage is quickly heading towards a separation, you may not know how to fix it or if fixing it is even possible. However, marriage counseling is a great way to foster communication, so you and your spouse can start working through your problems.
Of course, counseling only works if you let it. By following some vital marriage counseling tips, you can bring your A-game to every session and start to regain that happy marriage you once had.
Do you want to know more? Keep reading to discover our top tips for making every marriage counseling session count.
Forget About Divorce for Now
For marriage counseling to work, both you and your partner have to be committed to making a difference.
If you’re already set on getting divorced, you won’t have the motivation to open up, be vulnerable, and make the necessary changes to save the marriage.
Instead, take divorce off the table for now. When you sign up for therapy, agree that you’ll try to solve your issues and move forward.
Keep in mind that therapy takes time to work. So, give yourself at least 6 months of regular therapy sessions before you start thinking about divorce again.
It should come as no surprise that therapy won’t work if you don’t show up. While you’re sure to have a hectic life already, it’s important to prioritize your therapy sessions and arrive on time.
Doing this gives you more time with the counselor and shows your partner that you’re serious. However, if you’re constantly showing up late or skipping sessions altogether, your partner will likely get hurt, angry, or resentful.
But showing up to therapy on time is only the start.
If you have a million things on your plate, it’s easy to tune out during your session and start thinking about what you need at the grocery store or what you can do to finish your big project at work. Of course, you won’t make much leeway during your counseling session if your mind isn’t present.
Once you walk through that door, clear your mind. Stop worrying about work and other responsibilities and focus on the task at hand: working on your marriage.
Your marriage counselor will push you to be honest and upfront with your feelings. However, this is often easier said than done.
Many people feel embarrassed or uncomfortable opening up. If you’ve been lying about something, you may be worried that telling the truth will just make things worse.
However, you can’t start to fix what’s wrong until you’re completely honest with how you feel. Try to break that wall down and really open up. Be honest about your wrongdoings and how your partner’s wrongdoings have hurt you.
Once you do this, both you and your spouse will have a better understanding of each other and what needs to be done to fix the marriage.
Hear Your Partner Out
When your spouse is opening up to you, it’s vital that you listen.
It’s all too easy to assume you know how your partner feels or jump to conclusions about their motives, but it’s important to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Throw your assumptions away, listen to what your partner is saying, and ask questions if you don’t understand something. Most importantly, believe what your partner is saying.
Set Goals for Yourself
It’s probably easy for you to pinpoint what your spouse needs to change. Maybe they need to drink less, start helping out around the house more, or learn to communicate their feelings better.
However, it’s likely that your partner isn’t the only person who needs to make changes. You’ve probably done things that were hurtful, too.
When your spouse is sharing their feelings, really listen to them and pinpoint what actions were responsible for those feelings. Maybe you spend too much time with your friends or on your phone and not enough time being alone with your partner. Or maybe you automatically blame them every time something goes wrong.
It can be hard to accept these faults in yourself. But just remember that nobody is perfect. The important thing is that you understand how your actions are affecting your spouse and that you set goals for yourself to improve.
Don’t forget to share these goals with your partner. Not only does this show that you’re serious about making the marriage work, but it’ll also hold you accountable, so you’ll stick with your goals.
Work on Things Outside of Therapy, Too
Putting your best foot forward during marriage counseling sessions is a great first step. But for any marriage to work, you need to be conscious of what you’re doing in your day-to-day life as well.
Use communication strategies you learned in therapy throughout the week and keep any promises you made. If your counselor gave you a homework assignment, make sure you do it.
It can be easy to slip back into old habits, but for your marriage to work long-term, you need to put in the effort each and every day.
Use These Marriage Counseling Tips for Better Success
Don’t give up on your marriage just yet!
Marriage counseling can make a world of difference if you and your spouse are willing to give it a go. By following the marriage counseling tips above, you can make the most out of your sessions and see your marriage grow healthier and stronger over time.
Are you ready to talk things out and improve your marriage?
Then contact me today to set up a free phone consultation or to make an appointment with a trusted and professional couples counselor in Atlanta, Georgia.