The 6 Aspects Of Marriage Counseling And Why They Work

Updated November 1, 2023by MyTherapist Editorial Team

Marriage counseling is not just for couples having trouble in or nearing the end of their marriage. Counseling or couples therapy can help those with minor problems in their marriage or who want to prevent miscommunications. This post will look at marriage counseling, why it works, and the different aspects.

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Marriage counseling is designed to help couples compromise their conflicts or maintain a stable relationship. As such, a counselor may employ various couples therapy techniques, such as:

  1. Narrative Therapy

For many couples, their life is a story, and narrative therapy allows each spouse to tell their story. In narrative therapy, a counselor will ask you to list your problems as if they were a story. In other words, in narrative form. Once you list your problems, the counselor will ask you to eliminate the story's negative aspects. Suddenly, the problem isn't from a bad person but something a person possesses. You can control your story and look at your past to find negatives, putting your problems into a new frame of reference, and thus you can find solutions to these issues.

  1. The Gottman Method

The Gottman Method has been around for over three decades, and it’s designed to make the couple come closer to each other by teaching them how to manage, not end, conflict. Conflict is normal and necessary in relationships, but what's not normal is antagonizing one another during disagreements. The Gottman method helps couples discuss issues to reach a compromise instead of being right.

This method also teaches couples about love maps, where you try to map your partner's joys, dreams, hopes, history, worries, and more. Once you realize each other's perspective, you can express your needs more.

  1. Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy

This form of therapy can be used for couples, families, and anyone else in a relationship. First developed by Dr. Susan Johnson, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy is used in many practices and clinics. It's said that emotionally focused couple's therapy can work in almost any situation, and it works wonders if depression is the cause of the couple's relationship problems.

Emotionally focused couple's therapy is a short-term solution divided into three goals in mind these goals are:

  • Expanding and reorganizing emotional responses. Many couples respond to emotions in the wrong way, making their relationship worse. Emotionally focused couples therapy teaches couples how to respond to their various issues.
  • Assuring a better bond. The two of you need to have an unbreakable bond, but many couples do not have that. So a counselor may work with the couple to find solutions to fix their bonds.
  • Improving interactions. When the two of you have interactions, you already have a stance that can affect the outcome. This form of couple's therapy fixes the problem by changing perspectives to be less hostile.

Emotionally focused couple therapy is quite effective in improving the relationship between couples. Even couples who don't fight that often can improve their relationships.

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  1. Positive Psychology

One way to improve your life, regardless of your issues, is by thinking and acting more positively. However, we know that it is sometimes harder to think positively, especially in a relationship when emotions are high. Positive psychology looks at the positive side of a relationship. It talks about the positive emotions many feel when they are with their partner. The couple looks at each other's strengths rather than their weaknesses. The couple can look at all the joyous moments in their life rather than the times they fought and argued. Then, they can learn how to solve issues positively and not negatively.

  1. Imago Relationship Therapy

This form of therapy combines the East and the West and reveals why you picked the partner you did. Imago relationship therapy can help you and your partner relate more, and you can take a different approach to therapy. Instead of looking at conflict as a dilemma, it should be a way to find the solution that benefits you and allows you to continue forward.

Imago relationship therapy also deals with how we cope with comfort whenever we have problems in a relationship. Some people may turn to a person outside the relationship or vent online. By figuring out how the two of you deal with your issues, you can learn how you and your partner can improve yourselves. One way to do this is by looking at how the two of you communicate. Many couples would like to believe they are on the same wavelength. However, this is usually not the case. Everyone communicates differently, and finding how you communicate is up to you.

  1. Communication Analysis

Even before you become husband and wife, pre-marriage counseling emphasizes the value of communication. When you cannot communicate with your partner, you may worsen the problem. You may think you explained everything to your partner, but then you didn't, and a fight arises because of that. Miscommunications are the biggest reason why people in a relationship fight. Body language, the tone of voice, and even words can all be misinterpreted. A counselor can examine how the two communicate and determine why the communication breakdown is happening. You can learn how to communicate in a way where both parties understand and can find solutions with this new, unique way of communicating.

Finding The Root Of A Problem

Many marriages have problems. Often, there is a reason for those problems buried deep in the unconscious. There are feelings, emotions, and motivations that aren't noticeable to the conscious, yet they control everything we do. It's like an iceberg, where the biggest part is what you can't see. A counselor can help you dive into the unconscious and find the root of the problem.

When a pattern is happening, and it's irrational, there may be an unconscious reason. The biggest culprit seems to occur in childhood. How you were treated as a child can shape your behavior as an adult, even if you don't realize it. For example, if your parents were strict and had unreasonable expectations, you may project that onto your partner.

Sometimes, the unconscious reason can be in the present. For example, your partner did something to you that made you mad, but instead of handling it, you forgot about it. Instead of forgetting, it slips into the unconscious and controls your feelings.

A couples therapist can help you dive into your past and find the unconscious motivations. Once they are found, you can learn how to cope with them and handle problems with a clearer head instead of someone motivated by what they can't see.

Intimacy Enhancement

Sometimes, couples end their relationship because of distance. There are many reasons for this: work, a lack of communication, and personality changes. You can grow distant for many reasons, but it doesn't need to be that way. One way you can improve intimacy issues where the two of you have a strong bond is by talking to a counselor. Your counselor can give you a couple of activities that combine the best of both worlds to build intimacy and prove that the intimate bond is still there.

Intimacy enhancement can work for any couple, regardless of their issues. Some couples feel close but would like to be even closer, and they may seek therapy to improve themselves. You don't need to be far apart to want to be closer, nor should you wait until you drift apart.

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Individual Vs. Couple

When you think of relationship counseling, you imagine the couple together. But sometimes, only one person in the relationship may be in therapy. It could be because one person doesn't want to go to couples counseling. If neither party is willing to participate, couple's counseling may not be successful. 

Even if both are going, individual therapy may be a good solution if both people want to process the relationship individually.

Seek Help!

If you're having marital difficulties, don't wait until the divorce papers are nearly signed. Seek help now and see how your relationship can improve.

If you or your partner are considering talking to a specialist, consider online therapy. When you sign up, you’re matched with someone that can start helping you right away, and you don’t need to worry about being on a waiting list. With online treatment, you attend sessions from the comfort of home, or anywhere you have an internet connection, making it easy and convenient. Online therapy is effective, too. One study found that most couples felt connected with their therapist and that video chat sessions were positive and beneficial. If you want to learn more, sign up here to take the next step.

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