What to Expect From Marriage Therapy

Bayo Ajibola

Marriages go through many ups and downs even after being together for several years. Some couples continue to have a lot of friction and are unable to find solutions to their problems on their own. Depending on the couple’s willingness to solve issues, involving a third party could be what they need to begin seeing things in a different light.

In theory this sounds like a great idea but the thought of someone else listening to you airing your dirty laundry and baring your weaknesses can be terrifying. It becomes worse if the third party is someone who knows both of you and could easily use all that information against you or simply spread it around. There’s nothing as embarrassing as hearing something you said in confidence being repeated by someone you didn’t tell and to someone you didn’t plan on telling!

At that point a professional counselor looks like a much better option. It however brings into play another dynamic; the misplaced notion amongst many people that therapy is only for crazy people. But then again, only a crazy person would not try to find a solution for their ailing marriage yet they expect the marriage to flourish somehow, right?

Therapy does work as long as you choose the right therapist. Not every counselor is a marriage counselor and you need to look at this carefully because it could make or break your experience and possibly your marriage. Look for one who is a certified marriage counselor because they will know how best to handle a married couple.

Be open and receptive

It may be a little unnerving at first but both parties need to realize that the counselor is there to help them through the rough patch and not to take sides. None should at any point feel or assume that they are being shamed for their actions instead of being helped to better deal with the situation at home.

The goal

Ideally the purpose of counseling is to help couples learn to function better together. You will therefore have to give a history about previous experiences so as to give the therapist an idea of what your relationship is like. From there they will be able to tell where the problem is and will use different techniques to help you find ways to understand each other and relate to each other. After all, it is difficult to have a relationship with someone you can’t relate to.

It will involve a lot of learning to listen to each other as well as learning to express yourselves appropriately to each other. Any dysfunctional behavior patterns will not be left unattended either and the counselor will suggest and ask you to practice different things to change them. Whether the sessions focus on past issues that remain unresolved or finding solutions to problems instead of looking at the problems will be determined by what the therapist sees in your behavior as a couple.

Introspection and self-assessment

Many times couples don’t appreciate the fact that they contribute to each other’s problems in the marriage. Therapy will get both of you looking inward so as to genuinely assess your reactions to different situations and how they affected the other party. This in itself can reduce very many issues in marriages because when someone doesn’t realize that their behavior is aggravating a situation they can easily continue, thus causing more damage.

The idea, as mentioned above, is to get you to function better as a team. It will therefore involve a lot of soul-searching and a lot of cooperation as well. Both of you have issues and so none of you should look at it as a place to bash your spouse. Take it as a learning opportunity and definitely a chance to better your marriage.

With the right therapist and the right attitude, you can look forward to better days in your marriage. There definitely is hope for a rocky marriage with the right help.


Bayo Ajibola

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