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5 Steps To Take Before Trying Marital Counseling

Even the best and strongest of marriages have their difficulties. Over the course of time, it is not uncommon for couples to feel distant from one another, to bicker, experience hardships, and go through a period of misunderstanding and miscommunication. To strengthen the marital bond, one of the most marriage-enhancing experiences that a couple can undertake is faith-based marital counseling. This type of counseling engages, inspires, transforms, encourages, and equips couples with the tools that they need to succeed in their marriage and to stay true to their faith and their vows. However, before taking the courageous step to see a counselor, there are five recommended steps that couples should take.

Understanding One's Role in the Conflict

When a conflict arises between a couple, each partner is responsible for a taking a certain approach. Due to personalities, reactions to conflict situations are different. For example, perhaps one partner is more vocal, engaging, and negative than the other or one is unwilling to compromise and forgive. To resolve conflict and for marriage counseling to be as useful as possible, it is vital for each partner to understand their role in the conflict and how it affects the relationship. This way, when counseling does arise, both partners can address their differences and approach the situation in a better manner.

In addition, according to this website, understanding one's role also can mitigate blaming, anger, and resentment in the relationship and create a greater willingness to fix any problems that exist. This occurs because there is a mutual understanding in the situation and both are able to engage in counseling in a healthy manner.

Being Aware of the Marital Commitment

Couple's counseling is meant to strengthen a marriage to make it a healthier and stronger experience. However, if each member within the union does not understand or is not open to the fixing any issues that exist, then marriage counseling may not be as useful as expected. Therefore, before marriage counseling, one recommendation is to talk about the commitment to one another and how each feels about the union and addressing the problems that exist.

Being aware of one's own feelings to the marriage including the partner's feeling can help make counseling a more rewarding process. For example, if each member is aware that their partner wants to fix the marriage, then they will be more willing themselves to work hard and make the most out of counseling. Therefore, both must understand the marital commitment to one another and be clear about the other's position regarding counseling.

Talking About Goals

A marriage with no direction is not a very healthy marriage. Marriages that have goals are able to work towards those goals with a strengthened commitment. Therefore, before entering couple's counseling, according to this website, it is necessary for a couple to discuss their goals for their marriage. These goals to discuss with one another include things like what is wanted in life and out of marriage, how to speak about one another in a positive manner, what can be done to prevent and ease grudges, when and how to pray for one another, financial goals, attending church with one another, and talk to one another about major issues and feelings that occur. By being clear about these goals and understanding that they are mutually important, couples can attend counseling in a more open and healthy mindset.

Be Prepared for Change

Therapy is life-changing. It alters a couple and the marriage itself. Couples must change the way they interact with one another, how they address problems, and they must also let go of familiar patterns that were unhealthy for the marriage. For a couple to fully benefit from couple's therapy, it is necessary for the couple to recognize that the therapy is going to lead to change and the couple must also be open to that change. Thus, before entering therapy, talk to one another about the concept of change within marriage and how the change will be handled in the long term and how each member can prevent from reverting to old ways once the therapy comes to an end.

Also, another note to keep in mind is that change is difficult and it may take a lot of time before each partner institutes the needed changes to make the marriage healthier. Because it is so challenging to change an accustomed to personality, there should be no hard feelings and anger as long as effort is put in on the behalf of each member of the marriage.

Choose the Right Marital Counseling for the Marriage

Lastly, marital counseling is time consuming, difficult, challenging, and it puts a couple out of their usual comfort zone and implores the couple to lead a different way of life within the marriage. For this reason, it is necessary to discuss with one another what the right marital counseling place is. For instance, if faith-based counseling is important then choosing an institute like Christian Counseling of Western Pennsylvania is an excellent option. Faith-based institutes approach marriage counseling by utilizing the bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ to help couple's engage, encourage, transform, equip, and empower their marriage to the fullest. So, if considering marital counseling, keep in mind that the place that the counseling will occur at is in line with beliefs and standards that each partner has.

About the author:

Aly Sweet has a few friends who recently went into Christian couples counseling to maintain and strangthen their marriage. She wants to share what she learned from her friends.


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Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

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Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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