Why does marriage counseling fail?

Many couples therapies fail because the members of the couple continue to see each other as adversaries. As a result, they remain trapped in bitter struggles for dominance and persistently discredit the viewpoint and emotional reactions of others. Marriage counseling won't work when the two partners have different agendas. For example, if one partner is more committed to doing the necessary work than the other, then counseling isn't going to work.

If either partner isn't completely honest, it's not going to work either. If one partner commits to counseling with the goal of divorce, then it is doomed to failure. For things to work, both partners must participate in counseling with the mindset that this process requires the same commitment and effort from both parties to succeed. Six Reasons Why Marriage Counseling Fails Some couples use counseling as a last stop before deciding to separate or seek a divorce lawyer.

And counseling is a good stop because it can make a big difference in helping couples repair their relationships, even when things seem to be broken. Couples therapy is big business. Only about 50% of couples consider their partner's work to be effective after two years of treatment, and 25% believe they are worse off than before. Perhaps the most worrying thing is that 43% of divorced couples sought couples therapy while they were still married, but the relationship ended anyway.

These data suggest that we have work to do to improve the effectiveness of treatment for struggling couples. Recognize which of the 10 relationship patterns most influences your attitudes and actions towards others. Couples therapist Rachel Sussman said relationships often fail when a person experiences a feeling of hopelessness. “When you're in a healthy relationship, it can shed a little sunshine on everything in your life,” she told Business Insider.

On the other hand, when a couple ventures into divorce territory, Sussman said they often feel that nothing more can be done to save the relationship. Counseling for couples can be life-changing and successful. A combination of the right mindset and expectations of the client and a trained, informed and qualified couples counselor is needed. Relationships are too important to allow them to falter when there's an option that works.

That said, many couples enter therapy with the great hope that counseling will magically “fix their relationship”. Couples who are going through significant problems and don't get along believe that marriage counseling is the way to go. If you think any of these six reasons could be the reason you might think marriage counseling failed you, I would love to talk to you. Instead of investing in counseling to try to change your partner, invest in recognizing your relationship behaviors and looking at how you want to change to improve your marriage.

Marriage counseling is a healthy way to resolve problems in your marriage; you just need to want to be an active part of it. There's a good reason most marriage counseling doesn't work, because couples therapy can be the most difficult form of therapy and most therapists aren't good at it, according to an article by William Doherty in the professional journal Psychotherapy Networker. In addition to a partner's lack of trust or willingness to change in therapy, there are mistakes that counselors can make that can affect the effectiveness of marriage counseling. With their unique point of view combined with their knowledge and experience, they have become experts in knowing when even marriage counseling won't be enough.

Marriage counseling should provide a safe space for both partners to express their thoughts and feelings. Talk to people you know who have been to counseling (some couples don't mind talking about their experience with counseling, but it has to be their decision to talk about it or not). Although marriage counseling has proven to be effective for many couples, there are times when marriage counseling may not be your best option. Marriage counseling will provide you with the tools to help you communicate better, but you and your partner should also do the necessary work between sessions.

These spouses often stop attending therapy with their spouse if they feel that the counselor even hints that they both have some responsibility for marriage problems. Marriage counseling is just one tool that will help you better understand the roles that you and your partner play in the relationship. Most couples go to marriage counseling when it's too late to save their marriages, and most marriage counselors are the kiss of death for marriages. Marriage counseling won't magically erase the past or fix any problems with little or no effort on your part.

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Keith Haggan
Keith Haggan

Extreme internet nerd. Award-winning zombieaholic. Amateur bacon aficionado. Lifelong pop culture ninja. Typical travel evangelist.