Marriage counseling is challenging for spouses and therapists. People tend to get a bit on edge when working within these critical relationships in their lives. Of course, our relationships with our friends and children are essential too, but generally, the stakes are never as high as relationships with a partner. Spouses are a considerable part of our everyday life. Though our children are extremely important to us, they grow up eventually and choose to live independently.
On the other hand, we are with our spouses every day, hopefully until one of us dies. They are known as our significant others for a reason. We’d call them our others if they weren't so important in our lives.
How we relate to our romantic partners is essential. It can be terrifying when we recognize that there are significant struggles in such a critical part of our lives and that we need additional help aside from what we can do on our own. Deciding to attend individual therapy can be challenging, so seeking treatment for two separate people can be doubly hard. There are plenty of frustrations and fears that people have about counseling. Experts offer these frustrations and fears from couples undergoing marriage or couples counseling.
From an expert point of view, this is likely the biggest fear in attending couples counseling. There is always a risk of divorce or separation when you attend marriage counseling sessions, but that risk remains the same when you don't choose to get professional help. Unfortunately, couples often wait until problems are so big that they are considering divorce before reaching out for professional help, and this gives couple’s counseling a lousy reputation. The odds of separation and divorce are high at this point, though resolution is not impossible, as many couples have healed their relationships when they were on the brink of disaster. Things only get better, though, because the couple chooses for things to get better.
There is very little a marriage counselor in Orlando can do if a relationship is truly over in the heart of one or both spouses. Therapists cannot just wave a magic wand and change someone's heart. Instead, they exist to help couples align their minds and lives with their values and compassion.
The fear that things will return to how they previously were once therapy is ended is also high on the list of frustrations and fears. This is a prominent fear for good reason because it is possible. People often revert to natural ways when they don't put consistent effort towards new behaviors for two years or more because we are creatures of habit. It literally takes two years or more of constant efforts to create a more positive, connected, and better relationship. A few short months of therapy are not meant to fix years of problems within a relationship. That being said, those few months of treatment partnered with consistent effort, willingness, and openness can bring about the change you want to see.
Couples often long for change so desperately that they can end up fearing the experience or process of making changes. Many people wonder what will happen when they no longer recognize their spouse because everything has changed. They wonder if they will no longer love their partner or their spouse will no longer love them. They often fear that the new relationship will not be the relationship they want. They wonder if they will ever be able to return to the relationship they had when they first met. A marriage consists of an imperfect human being making an effort to create a life path with a separate flawed human being. Change can be unknown, scary, and often painful, but when you are genuinely committed and want to spend your life with your spouse, you will learn to love whoever they become and make strong efforts to adjust to changes together and continue growing. It is vital for your partner to feel the same way.
Therapists cannot guarantee that your relationship will go back to the way it was when you first fell in love. However, they can almost guarantee that it won't. If you and your spouse are genuinely committed to having a life together, it is possible to create a renewed and improved relationship despite any fears.
Spouses often worry that counselors will believe everything their partner is saying, they will become the bad guy, and counseling will lead to trying to fix them. In some situations, people want the counselor to take sides as long as they take their side and not their partner’s. Nobody in the relationship wants to be a bad person. Problems in a relationship are hardly ever based on one person's issues. Even when one spouse has committed the ultimate betrayal, the other partner has been a participant in their relationship coming to the place it is. Though it is not always an even split, it is often pretty close. Therapists do not take an approach to be on one party side or the other but the side of the relationship. Marriage therapy is never about who is right. A relationship will suffer more when conversations focus on right or wrong. A marriage counselor in Orlando will make it a point to identify what is best for the couple as a whole.
Though this is not an exhaustive list of people's frustrations and fears about marriage counseling, it is a good starting point. Marriage counseling is valuable for every couple, and overcoming these fears and frustrations will help spouses see a professional and work toward a better partnership.
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.