Marriage counseling is an investment. Marriage counseling takes time, effort, emotional energy, money, etc. Now remember, I am biased because I am a counselor at Friendswood Marriage Counseling. But yes, in my professional opinion, marriage counseling is worth it. I have been working in this field for almost 10 years, and I have witnessed firsthand that marriages do recover. I see the changes that both partners have made. I see the old relationship patterns ending and the new relationship patterns starting. I know it has worked because I have seen it.
I like to think of marriage counseling as comparable to going to the gym. It can be hard going there, or it can be hard doing the actual work. But in the end, it was worth going. More than likely, you didn’t regret exercising. And more than likely, you won’t regret going to marriage counseling.
Let’s talk about the value of time…
Marriage counseling is unique in that it sets aside time for you and your partner to have real, honest, genuine conversations about your relationship. Almost like a family meeting, except just the parents. You get uninterrupted, scheduled time to focus on the relationship. You also have a trained, objective, professional counselor in the room too.
The counselor helps you stay on track, guides the conversations, identifies the healthy and unhealthy communication patterns in the relationship, and teaches the couple how to communicate more effectively.
As adults, we are really, really busy, and oftentimes we do not make the effort to sit with our partner to talk about the relationship. We don’t make the time to check in with our partner past the standard “How was your day?”. Setting aside time to work on the relationship is one part of what makes marriage counseling worth it.
But marriage counseling is not just conversation; it is also a time to find solutions.
In my practice, I like to identify and figure out long term solutions. For most couples, they argue, maybe take some space, then make up. Making up is good, but sometimes you have not actually identified a solution and game plan for the future. Marriage counseling, at least in my practice, is solution-based. I work with couples that have the same fight over and over again, and seem to get nowhere. I help couples identify solutions and compromises.
Let’s talk about the value of a counselor…
Sometimes the counselor acts as a translator or an interpreter.
For example: A wife may say “He’s the worst driver; he’s always on the phone!” but what she really means is “I love you, and I don’t want you to get in a car wreck.” The marriage counselor can be that translator. And the counselor, in this example, can figure out other ways for the wife to communicate her anxieties. The counselor, can also, translate to the husband what his wife actually means.
So yes, you are getting a “translator” that can help you both understand each other. You are getting a “teacher” because the counselor teaches both of you healthy communication skills. Those communication skills can be applied to your home life, and you can start getting your relationship to a healthier place.
You are also getting the value of a “professional”.
I spent 4 years at the University of Texas at Austin studying psychology. I received my Bachelor’s degree in 2006 from UT, and then, I went to the University of Houston for graduate school. In 2009, I graduated with my Master’s Degree in Counseling from UH. I got my intern hours, became a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), and I have been working in this field since 2010. As a marriage counselor, I am trained in relationships, communication dynamics, psychology, people, and mental health. I have studied the Gottman Method, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused therapy, and so many more. You are getting a trained professional when you are choosing marriage counseling.
In school, we have the basics of math, science, history. Much rarer are any classes on communication skills, healthy relationship classes, and how to stay connected to your partner. They don’t teach how to prevent divorce in high school. In my professional opinion, communication is the most important part of the relationship with your partner, and most people have limited healthy communication skills.
Healthy communication is a skill that needs to be taught and practiced.
Let’s talk about the value of confidentiality
It is pretty simple here. Everything discussed in marriage counseling is confidential. The only exceptions are if you disclose child abuse, elderly abuse, if you have a plan to kill yourself or a plan to kill someone else. Your personal information is private, and marriage counselors strictly adhere to confidentiality.
Let’s talk about the financial value
Divorces are expensive. Divorces are emotionally, physically, and financially draining.
Marriage counseling can help prevent divorce.
There is a wide range of costs for marriage counseling. (Here are my fees.) Fees can range from $30 to $200+ for some counselors out there. Fees will, of course, vary based on location. Marriage counseling can be free or reduced cost depending on your insurance, out of network benefits or even EAP benefits as well. There are options like Open Path Collective that can get you more affordable counselors as well. So, you do have options.
If cost is a barrier for my clients, I am open to scheduling every other week or once a month if that is better for your budget.
I think it also important to be mindful that counseling is not forever. For example, you will not be paying $140 every single week for the rest of your life. Some clients that I work with come for 3 sessions only. And some couples come for 10 sessions. If your marriage or relationship needs help, then spending some money can help increase the quality of the relationship. I work to prevent divorce.
And what about those intangibles that you can’t put a money value to? If you are in an unhealthy relationship, it may physically affect you as well. For some people, they may have unhealthy coping skills, poor sleep, inability to concentrate at work, addictions, anxiety, depression or even stress ulcers. From this perspective, marriage counseling and focusing on your relationship is well worth it for the physical benefits.
There you have it! These are my personal and professional opinions about marriage counseling. Please note, information in this post is not a substitute for therapy. Information expressed in this post is made based on my own personal opinions. If you need a therapist, you should seek one.
Friendswood Marriage Counseling is a local counseling center specializing in relationships located in Friendswood, TX 77546, close to Pearland, Clear Lake, Webster and League City areas. Contact me directly at Shelly@FriendswoodMarriageCounseling.com to set up an appointment or to schedule a free initial consultation.