To most people, marriage represents a lifelong endeavor. It’s something they expect to enjoy with their spouse for the rest of their days. But if data from the U.S. Census Bureau is to be believed, nearly half of married couples eventually split and go their separate ways.
Many couples are willing to go to great lengths in an attempt to save their marriages. One option is to attend marriage counseling, sometimes referred to as couples’ therapy. It’s worth noting that the success rate of such counseling is relatively low. However, this may be due to the fact that troubled couples tend to seek therapy as a last resort. At that point, the issues that have driven a wedge between them have oftentimes grown too large to resolve.
If both parties agree to set aside their differences and refrain from insulting each other, couples’ therapy can be effective. At the very least, it can help them to better understand each other. That is often the first step toward reaching an acceptable compromise.
Common Marital Problems Addressed In Couples’ Therapy
A lot of couples decide to see a marriage counselor without having first pinpointed the issues that are bothering them. They realize there is anger, bitterness, and resentment on the surface, but have yet to identify the causes of these emotions. One of the goals of couples’ therapy is to uncover the issues that have triggered the hostile feelings.
Many couples experience problems due to improper communication. For example, one partner may fail to share important details with the other on a regular basis. Or, one partner may resist opening up to the other, remaining emotionally detached.
Some couples become combative toward one another because of financial problems. For instance, there may not be enough money to pay bills due to the spendthrift habits of one spouse. Or, the spouses might disagree entirely on how to spend their limited funds.
A common issue that surfaces during marriage counseling is infidelity. One partner maintains an illicit relationship with another individual outside the marriage. The relationship may be sexual, emotional, or both.
There are many other marital problems that come up during couples’ therapy. Alcohol and drug abuse, disagreements regarding how to raise children, and even the relationships maintained by the spouses with their respective in-laws can cause major conflicts. Discussing these issues with a marriage counselor can be therapeutic while opening the door to practical solutions.
What To Expect During The Counseling Sessions
Sessions are usually 50 to 60 minutes, though the duration depends on the counselor and the couple undergoing therapy. Couples usually attend weekly sessions for two to three months. At that point, they should possess the necessary skills to either resolve their differences or determine that doing so is impossible. If the latter is true, the couple might then decide to seek a divorce.
The marriage counselor will fill the role of mediator as the spouses air their respective grievances. Some marriage partners discuss their differences amiably while others argue about them. Sometimes, both partners are willing to talk about their problems while soliciting advice from the therapist. Other times, one or both partners are resistant to talking, and even seethe when the therapist offers suggestions.
Throughout this period, the counselor tries to bridge gaps that exist between the spouses. Doing so helps them to see things from the other person’s perspective, which can be invaluable to resolving the underlying issues.
The Cost Of Trying To Avoid A Divorce
It may seem counterintuitive to assign a value to your marriage. But it is important to be prepared for the cost of couples’ therapy. The sessions can be expensive, which should provide additional motivation for both spouses to get as much as possible out of the therapy.
Most counselors charge by the hour or by the session. Rates are determined by numerous factors, including the counselor’s experience, the duration of the sessions, and the type of treatment provided.
The city in which you live will also play a role.
Marriage counseling can cost as little as $50 a session or as much as $300 a session. If you plan to attend weekly for three months, you can expect to pay up to $3,600. Rarely is couples’ therapy covered by health insurance, though people suffering from some types of mental illness may be able to recoup a portion of the cost.
If you decide to attend marriage counseling, make a commitment to openly discussing your frustrations. Also, be receptive to the advice offered by the therapist. You may find that the counseling sessions are useful in repairing the relationship you share with your spouse. If not, you can decide to end the marriage. In that case, you’ll be seeking a divorce using an experienced divorce attorney with the peace of mind that you tried every available option to avoid it.