Does Marriage Counseling Work? 10 Reasons You Need It

Sometimes only experts can help you figure out what's gone amiss in your relationship.

Reviewed by Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill, Ed.S., LMFT Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill Sharon Gilchrest O’NeillEd.S., LMFT twitter_iconyoutube_icon
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Madhumati Chowdhury MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , MA Gracia Odile MA linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
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You do not need to shy away from seeking marriage counseling when you feel your relationship has hit rock bottom and you want to save it. A relationship always has both highs and lows. While a few can understand the issues and solve them without help, others may not be able to resolve things that easily. That is when marriage counseling should be considered. According to the statistics, 50% of couples use e marriage counseling, and the success rate goes up to 70% (1). The counseling sessions can help the couples understand the underlying factors affecting their bond.

If you face issues in your married life and wish to seek help, here is what to expect from such sessions and how to prepare yourself. This article will help you understand more about counseling, why you might need it, how it works, and what to expect. Keep reading.

10 Reasons You Need Marriage Counseling

1. You Are Not Having Enough Sex

Sex plays an essential part in keeping partners together and the romance alive. Intimacy has a positive impact on a couple and sparks the desire to stay together. A lack of intimate moments and sex affects a healthy relationship and creates a physical and emotional void. This can lead to speculations of being unfaithful and gives rise to self-doubts of not being attractive anymore.

Marriage counseling can help you both develop an understanding through discussions and couple’s activities and remind you why you fell in love in the first place.

protip_icon Quick tip
Add more variety and experiment with new activities, fantasies, or locations to make sexual intimacy more enjoyable, dynamic, and engaging.

2. You Are Going Through A Financial Crisis

A financial crisis can be challenging. Whether it is a temporary phase or a constant cause of concern,  it can lead to arguments with disrespectful remarks, which may or may not be intentional. Financial clashes can also cause anger, anxiety, and depression. The constant stress prevents couples from sharing and enjoying the small, good moments.

Couple’s counseling can help you both come to a rational understanding of what has been happening in the marriage and be able to develop better perspectives. It enables a couple to avoid the blame-game, be respectful, build consensus, and work together toward crisis-stabilization.

3. You Feel Unheard And Unattended To

Go for marriage counseling if you feel unheard and unattended to
Image: Shutterstock

Not talking about issues and avoiding certain topics can cause a huge communication gap and create misunderstandings. Not considering each other’s opinions and perspectives may make the other feel invisible. It might be unintentional but may lead to conflict, causing stress, and may weaken the relationship.

Counseling can help you and your partner understand each other’s need for attention and space. It may help both of you value each other’s opinions and make your spouse feel heard and understood. Marriage counseling can help couples practice being attentive and making constructive word choices while talking to their partner.

4. Your Partner Is Unfaithful

Trust is the key foundation of any relationship, and infidelity can severely affect it. Several factors may cause a partner to become infatuated with another person and begin a relationship outside of the marriage: unmet desires and loneliness to inability to communicate. It is not gender-specific and does not always lead to separation.

If both commit to working through it, couple’s counseling can help you heal. It encourages the couple to address the issue in an unbiased manner and share the emotions to understand the exact reason for such behavior. The therapy includes activities that may strengthen the relationship instead of just fixing it.

5. You Have Ideological Differences

Differences in economic and political views can also make couples grow apart. If one partner evolves faster than the other, it can cause a mental rift. It often leads to a situation where the partners rarely seem to be able to see eye to eye and do not understand why the other may or may not support their viewpoint.

Here too, a marriage counselor can work through discussions and provide activities to help partners acknowledge and think through each other’s choices and perspectives.

6. Your Partner Has Addiction Issues

Go for marriage counseling if your partner has addiction issues
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Stressful life events can lead to substance abuse. Statistics show that nearly one-third of the adults in the US experience alcohol use disorder (AUD) at some point in their lives (2). Over 23 million adults struggle with drug abuse (3).

If your partner has been through a traumatic life event(s), stress and anxiety can make them resort to quick fixes like drinking, which can spiral into addiction (4). Marriage counseling can help you understand each other’s needs and how to work with your partner in developing better coping mechanisms.

7. Your Partner Is Ungrateful

It is human to seek approval and appreciation from the people that matter the most to you. Not receiving it can make your partner seem ungrateful and unappreciative.

Marriage counseling provides a neutral space to talk about these feelings, and not be labeled as needy. On the other hand, your partner will also have the opportunity to learn about the behaviors of gratitude, and possibly bring forward issues that may have remained unresolved. This often helps develop a sense of appreciation and care by each partner within the relationship.

8. Your Partner Keeps Secrets And Lies

Secrets and lies weaken even the strongest relationships, especially when your partner has developed compulsive lying behaviors, and is in their own little world. It can make you feel left out, alone, and deceived. Starting discussions that then become fights will usually, more often than not, only make matters worse.

A marriage counselor will use therapy sessions to help your partner acknowledge the condition, determine the reasons for lying, and suggest behavior modification strategies. You will also need therapy to rebuild trust and improve the dynamics of your relationship. Some of this work will be done with the two of you together, some will be individual sessions.

9. You Fight Often

Go for marriage counseling if you fight often
Image: Shutterstock

Does every communication and interaction with your partner end up in a fight? Do you hold grudges and resentment toward your partner? Are you not able to forgive your partner for a past issue? Frequent fights cause stress and depression, which can pull you apart.

Seeking marriage counseling can help bridge the gap through proper therapy sessions, find better ways to deal with conflicts, and learn defusing tactics.

10. You Seldom Have Good Family Time

Family time helps strengthen the emotional bond between the members on a deeper level. But unaddressed issues can cause resentment, leading to defensive or aggressive arguments. Passive acts like the silent treatment or indifferent behavior affect family time and your bond with the kids who are caught in the crossfire.

protip_icon Pro tip
Shared experiences contribute to positive family memories. Create a family bucket list, read a storybook to each other, and create new family traditions during holidays and festivities.

Marriage counseling can help address the issues and reduce the simmering stress between couples and bring your family closer.

These are 10 important reasons for seeking out marriage counseling. Differently trained therapists have different approaches, and it is important to find one you can work with. But how do you know whom to approach? Find out in the following section.

How To Choose A Marriage Counselor (Video)

If you have decided to go for marriage counseling, great! Choose a counselor who knows best which treatment will work for you. Here’s a video to help you understand how to choose a marriage counselor. Take a look.

If you are new to marriage counseling, you might want to know what goes on in a counseling session. Scroll down to get an idea.

If you are new to marriage counseling, you might want to know what goes on in a counseling session. Scroll down to get an idea.

What Happens During A Marriage Counseling Session?

Both partners have to attend the counseling session. You will be seated beside each other opposite the therapist and talk openly about your problems and why you seek counseling. Your therapist may also ask for individual sessions to help you or your partner open up.

Throughout the session, your therapist will listen to both of you carefully and suggest activities that will help you reconnect with your partner. You will have to attend multiple sessions, answer marriage counseling questions, and participate in discussions to resolve the issues.

Of course, you want results. The therapist will help you set realistic goals that you will work on in sessions and at home. Scroll down to the next section to know what to expect from marriage counseling.

What To Expect From Marriage Counseling?

  • Improved flow of communication between you and your partner.
  • Understanding their side of the story.
  • How to be heard.
  • How to discuss without fights.
  • Solving an issue instead of sweeping it under the carpet.
  • Developing techniques to empathize with your partner’s
  • Understanding yourself better.
  • Regaining your confidence.
  • Slowly rebuilding trust with the help of your partner.
  • Appreciating each other.

But does it work? Find out in the following section.

Does Marriage Counseling Work?

Yes, marriage counseling works for most partners. But you must also understand that counseling is a two-way street. The more you are open about your problems with your partner and confront your issues, the better your therapist will be able to guide you. You must also understand that both of you have to put in equal efforts to make the marriage work.

However, sometimes, having the best intentions are not enough. If the path to resolution is causing stress, anger, and feelings that you even more so are knowing that the relationship is over, it is unfortunately, time to move the discussions into how to part ways with your partner amicably, if at all possible.

Marriage counseling can be a long process, requiring multiple sessions. This is why you need to figure out your budget before you take it up, especially if you have some financial restraints. Read the next section to learn how much it may cost.

How Much Does Marriage Counseling Cost?

Marriage counseling costs can vary based on factors like location, therapist credentials, and session frequency. On average, individual counseling sessions range from $100 to $200 or more per hour, with couples counseling falling within a similar range. Group counseling or workshops might offer more affordable options. During the initial consultation, it is important to discuss fees, payment options, and potential financial concerns openly with the therapist to ensure transparency and find a suitable arrangement for both parties.

In A Nutshell

Many couples seek counseling, as early as pre-marriage. At any timeframe, it provides a neutral platform to voice your emotions and listen to your partner’s thoughts/issues. Marriage counseling can provide a path or direction that will help both of you regain trust and understanding. This often helps bring couples closer together.

If you think your marriage has hit a few bumps in the road, it is a good time to address the issues and move past them. If not, marriage counseling can help decide if it’s time to part amicably. Seek the help you need, and you will emerge stronger and better.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can marriage counseling make things worse?

No. As long as you have chosen an experienced counselor who works with you in an objective, unbiased way, and as long as you trust in your relationship and the counseling process, marriage counseling will only be beneficial for you as a couple.

What not to say in couples counseling?

The point of counseling is to be absolutely honest in communicating your issues, guilt, needs, expectations, and intentions. Holding back in a couples counseling session will only obstruct your path to recovery as an individual and as well as a couple. Therefore, if you have chosen to take the counseling route, try to cooperate and do not hold back.

What is the difference between marriage counseling and couples therapy?

Although many people use these terms interchangeably, there is a significant difference between them. Marriage counseling is about helping married couples deal with their day-to-day problems. When you are married, you socially function as a single unit. Marriage counseling also treats you as a unit and helps you function as one. Meanwhile, couples therapy digs deep into your relationship history as well as your own personal life to find the root cause of the present problems in your relationship. It treats you individually.

Key Takeaways

  • A communication gap, financial crisis, lack of sex or intimacy and infidelity are common reasons why married couples opt for marriage counseling.
  • Marriage counseling can help to heal and strengthen the relationship as it enables the couple to address the issue(s) in an unbiased manner and take part in various activities that can make the bond grow stronger if both are committed to working on it.
  • It is important to understand that marriage counseling is a two-way street, so you need to have realistic expectations and practice open and honest communication for it to work.

In marriage counseling, not all problems are equal. When there’s denial and blame-shifting, progress is tough. The video below covers how to identify underlying issues, often addressing individual concerns like emotional abuse or addiction. Check it out!

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Research on the Treatment of Couple Distress
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1752-0606.2011.00249.x
  2. Advances in the science and treatment of alcohol use disorder
    https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/9/eaax4043
  3. 10 percent of US adults have drug use disorder at some point in their lives
    https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/10-percent-us-adults-have-drug-use-disorder-some-point-their-lives
  4. DSM-IV Alcohol Dependence and Marital Dissolution: Evidence From the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4002864/
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Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill
Sharon Gilchrest O’NeillLicensed Marriage & Family Therapist
Sharon Gilchrest O'Neill is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Family Business Consultant with over 30 years of experience. She holds degrees in Marriage & Family Therapy, Organizational Psychology, and Developmental Psychology.

Read full bio of Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill