Marriage counseling is an important part of our counseling practice, offering help in one of the most central relationships in people’s lives. Whether the idea of marriage counseling is familiar to you or something brand new, it is important to understand what to expect.

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Marriage counseling provides help and support from professional counselors for your marriage. It is a space to work through problem areas with the goal of improving your relationship.

This type of counseling is often short-term, ranging from a few sessions to a longer block of time to help you and your spouse navigate your situation with the help of a trained person, often a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). This person is trained to look at the unique characteristics and trouble areas typically associated with marriage as you identify and address the things making the marriage unsatisfactory for one or both partners.

Going through marriage counseling can help you move toward a more satisfying marriage that is healthy and enjoyable for both of you as you grow together.

The relationship you have with your spouse can be one of the most important, intimate, and long-lasting relationships you have in your life. While this sounds wonderful when everything is going well, there are things we face in that close relationship that feel challenging and sometimes even impossible to overcome without help.

Marriage counseling offers the help you need when you face struggles.

With a trained outside person, you can work through issues in a safe, guided environment. Instead of dealing with your problems between the two of you where you may already be facing struggles, marriage counseling offers the chance to work through your problems with the help of someone who can offer help, resources, and solutions.

Joint therapy is the most central part of marriage counseling. It brings both spouses together to work through their issues with a therapist.

Both partners will have the opportunity to pinpoint areas of struggle, how they feel, and their expectations moving forward. While the ideal is to be able to talk through these things, these types of conversations can be challenging with reactions ranging from silence to anger to tears. All of these are okay responses. The therapist is there to guide both of you as you experience these things.

The therapist is neutral and there to support both parties. There are no sides or preferential treatments, only support and guidance for a common goal.

Talking through issues and solutions is the most common part of therapy, although additional things may include activities to help couples open up, find solutions, and learn new strategies. There is often a homework component that requires couples to do something between sessions. This can be a variety of things such as date night, thinking of one thing they love about their partner, or taking time to process the discussion.

Sometimes, additional support from health care professionals or programs will be utilized to navigate physical or mental health concerns or addiction issues.

It is common to have one-hour sessions weekly for a period of time ranging from a few weeks to months as you work together to navigate problems and solutions for a healthier relationship.

There is a wide range of issues for which couples seek help for in marriage counseling. Some couples come to counseling with a specific issue in mind while others just feel like they need help. It is not uncommon for one partner to feel more strongly about going to counseling than the other. The therapist will help navigate that so both people can be part of growing a deeper connection, no matter what issues are causing their struggles.

People come to counseling in a variety of ways. The truly amazing part is that you can show up just as you are with whatever you are struggling.

Marriage is such a beautifully complex relationship, and there are endless ways we can find ourselves looking for support. Additional ideas of things marriage counseling can address include:

  • Specific disagreements regarding lifestyle, parenting, finances, or something else
  • Addressing addictions such as alcohol, drug use, pornography, gambling or other areas
  • Intimacy and sexual issues
  • Unequal household or family responsibilities
  • Communication issues including arguing and disengaging
  • Life transitions such as moving, new job, empty-nest, or new parting
  • Loss and grief
  • Traumatic events
  • Opposing values or faith opinions
  • Repeated conflicts that the couple can’t seem to move past
  • Jealousy
  • Mistrust of the partner or a general mistrust
  • Financial changes or issues
  • Secret habits

Marriage counseling is a broad term that sometimes feels hard to connect to our own lives. It can be challenging to see how taking time for counseling can really help with the things we face.

Here are a few examples of struggles and how marriage counseling can help:

Big Issues

When couples face a big issue like a loss or infidelity, or something hard that feels immovable and insurmountable, it’s easy to get stuck. Counseling can help look at the big issue, take it apart into more manageable pieces and find ways to move from that stuck place.

Constantly Disagreeing

There are times when couples just can’t agree. No matter how hard they try they keep having the same arguments over and over again. It could be about money or parenting, faith, or household responsibilities. Counseling can help understand the core issue and find common ground as well as strategies for overcoming the argument loop.

Lacking Intimacy

Missing time together, true connection, or intimacy is a real concern for many couples. This can be the intimacy of quality time together or sexual intimacy. Counseling can help partners understand one another’s needs and develop a plan that meets the needs of both people.

Something Is Off

There are times when something just feels off. Sometimes they don’t know what it is or how to pinpoint it but they know there is a disconnect. Counseling can help the couple identify what is causing the disconnect and find ways to draw closer.

Past Issues

When past issues keep coming up it can wear on a relationship. Things from the past can keep bringing up feelings like jealousy, mistrust, or fear. Counseling can help the couple look at those things and develop strategies to deal with those emotions so you can move beyond them.

Next Steps in Marriage Counseling

Understanding marriage counseling is the first step. Deciding what to do comes next. You don’t need to fully understand or define the issue you are having before you get started with your journey in marriage counseling. Instead, you can move forward with help.

Think About Marriage Counseling (But Don’t Overthink It)

Take a little time to think about why you may seek marriage counseling. Consider what you are looking for and why. Sometimes it helps to pursue individual counseling first and then move forward with marriage counseling. Just don’t spend too much time trying to figure it all out. Too many people talk themselves out of counseling by thinking about it and never moving forward.

Begin Looking for Counselors

Do some research to see what counselors with whom you may feel comfortable. Talk to people you trust to find recommendations. Consider the kind of counselor with whom your spouse may feel comfortable. Look at formats like in-person or online as well as schedules to make sure you connect with someone who fits. Remember, if the first person isn’t a good fit, you can seek someone who is.

Talk to Your Partner

This may feel challenging, but both of you need to at least be willing to talk to a therapist. Choose a time when you are both calm and explain to your partner why you want to go. Mention that you can both look for a counselor. If your spouse is not interested in finding someone, go with one of the people you found. If your spouse is not interested in going at all, consider going to individual counseling to get started.

Just Start

Sometimes getting started is the hardest step. But the hardest steps can also be the most rewarding. Make an appointment with one of our counselors and start on the journey toward a healthier marriage today.

Get connected with a Christian Counselor
Please contact our reception team at
(469) 333-6163