Marriage Counselling – An Overview

Most married couples will experience a rift in their relationship at some stage. Perhaps they are having trouble dealing with a specific problem which has arisen, or perhaps their individual goals and desires in life have grown out of sync. Perhaps the usual stresses of life are taking a toll and they are arguing all the time, or perhaps the couple have grown apart and are hardly talking.

It can be a great shock to a married couple to realise that the honeymoon period is over and to feel that they may have lost what they once had. When old communication techniques no longer working for a married couple, conflict is bound to occur. Anger, mistrust, boredom, resentment, repeated arguments and lost intimacy can creep into a marriage until there is very little left of the love and respect that brought you together in the first place.

Marriage counselling can provide a safe and secure atmosphere where open and honest communication between spouses can occur. A marriage counsellor will help couples find better and more effective ways of communicating and help them learn techniques to resolve current conflicts and avoid future ones. Marriage counselling can help restore lost intimacy and help couples to avoid the pitfalls of recurring arguments and unspoken resentments.

Why Do People Come to Marriage Counselling?

There are a wide variety of reasons why a married couple might decide to try marriage counselling. In some cases, they are going through a difficult personal or relationship phase or are feeling as if they are drifting apart from each other. In other cases, differences in sexual desire, interests or needs have arisen. Sometimes a couple finds that they are just arguing all the time and are angry and frustrated at each other over minor things. These are just a few of the many reasons why a couple might come in for a session of marriage or couples counselling.

Other common reasons include:-

  • Infidelity and/or Lack of Trust
  • Conflict caused by Financial Stress
  • Conflict associated with childrearing
  • Conflict associated with a particular decision, like where to live or whether to have another baby

How does Marriage Counselling Work?

Marriage Counselling seeks to help couples who are stuck in negative patterns of communication or conflict. Marriage Counselling aims to help couples resolve their problems by learning better ways to communicate and better ways to acknowledge and respect each other’s needs.

A session of marriage counselling will typically begin by the therapist or psychologist seeking background information from the couple about their history, their relationship and what they perceive to be their problems. A marriage counsellor will ensure that each person in the marriage has time to speak and be heard, and will encourage and teach active listening skills. The marriage counsellor will also observe the couples’ current communication techniques and resolution processes at work and point out any misunderstandings which might be occurring. The marriage counsellor might also suggest alternative ways of communicating to enhance empathy and understanding, and to aid conflict resolution.

In short, marriage counselling offers a safe and calm environment in which marital issues can be discussed, and provides a sort of mediator for the married couple. Couples often come away from a series of marriage counselling session reporting improved communication, less arguments, renewed intimacy, and revitalised feelings of respect for one another. Marriage counsellors are unlikely to tell you what to do or whether to break up or stay together. Rather they will help the couple to find their own answers. (This article is electronically protected – Copyright © Associated Relationship & Marriage Counsellors Sydney PTY LTD)

Marriage Counsellors & Sex Therapists

Sexual difficulty (including lack of sexual intimacy or a disparity in sexual desire) is a common issue for married couples. Sex Therapists work specifically with couples to address issues associated with sex and the bedroom. Often these issues are associated with lack of emotional intimacy or communication difficulties, and couples often find that sexual issues are resolved once these broader issues are addressed. An experienced marriage counsellor or psychologist can help with these issues but might refer you to a specialised sex therapist if required.

Pre-Marriage Counselling

The time leading up to marriage can be fraught with emotions. In addition to the love and excitement, there can be a great deal of stress as you plan a wedding, allow for the needs of your family, learn about your in-laws and generally prepare for a married life. Pre-Marriage Counselling helps couples to be cognizant of their differences and develop good communication techniques and resolution policies right from the start. Pre-marriage counselling can be an excellent way to start a marriage.

Divorce Counselling

Sometimes marriage counselling helps couples realise that the marriage is not working and the couple decide that they should no longer be together. In this scenario, marriage counselling can be an excellent resource for ensuring that a divorce is amicable and that the decisions surrounding divorce are calmly thought out and agreed to. This is of course essential when children are involved.

If you think your relationship might benefit from the help of a qualified marriage counsellor or psychologist, please contact us for more information and advice.