Going into a counseling session by yourself can be intimidating. The idea of opening up to someone you have never met seems to be a little scary. When you add another person to the session—especially the person you are in the midst of trial with, your guard can be at an utmost high.
If you’re both at the point where you’re willing to step into a therapist’s office for couple’s counseling, most likely, you want your marriage to work. But it will take effort! Trust me, I know from personal experience. But, in going through counseling, I’ve discovered some helpful questions to ask yourself…
1. Does the counselor take sides?
Many times, when we go into marriage or couple’s counseling, we are in a season of our relationship where emotions have built up, causing us to be raw, defensive, and feeling as though we’re on a one person team. When you walk into a counseling session for the first time in this state, the reaction of the counselor can make all of the difference.
A good counselor will make sure each person is able to share their thoughts, feelings, and insecurities. A good counselor will give each person the ability to have their time of expressing anger, frustration, and sadness—respectfully. A good counselor will not allow one person to feel like the victim, and the other person to feel like the enemy.
2. Are you ready to hear the truth?
Sometimes the people we go to the most when we’re hurt do more damage than good. Our moms, sisters, brothers, and good friends think they are helping us when they tell us how great we are. However, many times, doing so creates the opposite effect. We are left living in denial, feeling we have done nothing wrong.
A good counselor will allow each person to have a voice to communicate with our spouse so that the real issue can be found. This can give us a deeper look into our relationship, discovering what’s hiding underneath the top layer (which is often all that we see).
If you’re both at the point where you’re willing to step into a therapist’s office for couple’s counseling, most likely, you want your marriage to work. But it will take effort!
3. When should you start?
Don’t wait. Starting the counseling when you feel it’s needed can make a difference. If you’ve been tearing each other apart for 10 years, there’s probably a lot of damage that has been done. Be willing to give it time and effort, and remember, nothing will improve if you don’t try!
4. Are you both motivated?
Just like any team, every member must play their part. Each of you must be motivated for the counseling to truly work. If one person is doing the communication and the other one is sitting back, that person can feel resentment—as if they are not being heard. If one person is taking home the assignments and doing their part and the other person is not, the person doing the work can feel hopeless and as if there is no point in continuing the process.
5. Is your heart open?
The truth is, a counselor cannot work any magic if you are not willing to put in some work (processing through your feelings and emotions). Sometimes you may need to speak with the therapist in a separate session alone to best express yourself.
Knowing where your heart stands can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of your marriage. Counseling can help you put a voice to those thoughts and feelings, and it can help your partner do the same!
You’ll need a lot of grit and grace, but you can do this!
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Are you ready for couple’s counseling? Ask yourself these 5 questions to find out.