What is Marriage Counselling?
Marriage counselling, often known as couples therapy, improves communication and interpersonal dynamics between married or committed partners. It provides a confidential environment for couples to discuss difficulties, resolve differences, and develop their relationship.
Marriage counselling aims to improve partner communication. Poor communication makes many spouses feel unheard or invalidated. Couples can develop good communication and active listening skills with a counsellor or couples therapist.
Marriage counselling can also assist couples identify relationship issues. Emotional trauma, unresolved disputes, and mental health difficulties may affect the partnership. Couples can heal and develop a better future by addressing these issues in counselling.
Marriage counselling is a great resource for couples seeking assistance and direction through long-term relationship issues. It teaches communication skills and addresses fundamental issues that may be preventing partner growth. Self-reflection and honest communication with a skilled therapist can help couples deepen their relationship and make permanent changes.
Table of Contents
Popular Types of Marriage Counselling
The Gottman Method
The Gottman Method is a widely recognised and respected approach to marriage counselling that focuses on building strong, lasting relationships. Developed by Drs. John and Julie Gottman, this method combines research-based techniques with practical exercises to assist couples improve their communication, resolve differences, and deepen their emotional connection.
One of the unique aspects of the Gottman Method is its emphasis on understanding the underlying friendship between partners. According to Drs. John and Julie Gottman’s research, strong friendships serve as a foundation for happy marriages. By prioritising things like fondness and admiration for each other, shared interests, and active listening skills, couples can strengthen their bond and enhance intimacy.
Furthermore, the Gottman Method provides couples with valuable tools for managing conflicts in a healthy way. Instead of avoiding or sweeping issues under the rug, this approach encourages open communication about needs, emotions, and expectations. Couples learn how to express themselves calmly while actively listening to their partner’s perspective without judgement or defensiveness.
Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a popular marriage counselling method that links thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. This treatment strategy assumes that our thoughts drive our feelings and actions; therefore, modifying our thought patterns can improve relationship behaviour.
CBT focuses on detecting and challenging cognitive distortions, or negative thought habits. These distortions cause partners to misinterpret each other’s words and actions, producing marriage difficulties. By unravelling these distortions and replacing them with more correct and rational views, couples can better comprehend their partner’s goals and motives.
CBT also gives couples techniques to strengthen their communication. Interrupting, not listening, and timing discussions cause many relationship problems. Couples can improve their polite and empathic communication through role-playing and therapist feedback.
Discernment counselling, a specialised form of therapy, has gained popularity in recent years as couples facing uncertainty about their relationship seek guidance. Unlike traditional marriage counselling, which focuses on resolving conflicts and improving communication, discernment counselling aims to help couples gain clarity and make a decision about the future of their partnership.
This type of counselling emphasises neutrality and tolerating ambivalence in dysfunctional relationships. Discernment counselling accepts that some couples may want divorce or separation rather than reconciliation. Couples can discuss their alternatives without feeling rushed to decide.
The goal of discernment counselling is not necessarily to salvage the marriage but rather to assist each individual in gaining insight and understanding into themselves and their relationship dynamics. It gives couples a safe area to discuss their thoughts and worries, helping them decide whether to reconcile or separate respectfully.
Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT)
Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) has become popular in marriage counselling because it helps couples navigate their complex emotional lives. EFT addresses the emotions that cause disputes and helps couples identify and express them in a safe and empathic atmosphere, unlike other therapies. EFT seeks to strengthen relationships by affirming each partner’s emotions.
EFT’s premise that emotions are crucial information is intriguing. EFT views emotions as guides that might disclose unmet needs or prior scars affecting the couple’s interactions. EFT creates an environment of vulnerability where couples can discuss deeper difficulties without criticism.
EFT emphasises new emotional response patterns, another intriguing aspect. An experienced therapist helps couples understand their own and their partner’s feelings, enabling them to respond with empathy rather than defensiveness or judgement. As couples learn to read each other’s emotions, they create better ways to connect and support each other, making them more resilient to future obstacles.
Imago Relationship Therapy
Imago relationship therapy can change marriages and their partners. Traditional marriage counselling focuses on blame and shortcomings, whereas Imago therapy does not. It explores each partner’s childhood and emotional traumas to find the roots of problems.
Imago therapy holds that we are drawn to love partners by our unconscious need to heal childhood hurts. Thus, unresolved past difficulties typically cause adult relationship problems. Imago therapists assist couples in understanding their complex personal histories and why particular behaviours or events trigger them through guided dialogues and activities.
Another distinctive component of Imago therapy is its focus on empathy and understanding. The purpose is to resolve disagreements and strengthen partnerships. Couples can better understand each other’s feelings by practicing empathic listening and mirroring. This makes both parties feel seen, heard, and validated—essential for a healthy relationship.
Narrative therapy can change our perspective on relationships and life. Narrative therapy examines how our life narratives impact our identity and relationships, unlike traditional therapies that address current issues. It helps people understand their strengths, values, and beliefs by encouraging them to step back from their difficulties and consider other views.
Narrative therapy can help couples understand themselves and each other through their shared story in marriage counselling. Couples can break unhealthy patterns and stereotypes by assessing their prevailing narratives. New possibilities open up, enabling growth, empathy, and deeper relationship connections.
Marriage counsellors use narrative therapy to give couples a secure place to exchange their stories and develop a new one. This deepens their bond and improves communication and problem-solving. Narrative therapy can help couples rebuild their love story for a happier future by learning how storytelling shapes personal reality and interpersonal dynamics.
Solution-focused therapy prioritises problem-solving over ruminating on them. This entails reframing marriage counselling from what went wrong to what can be improved. This approach empowers couples to identify their strengths and resources and encourages them to set achievable goals that will improve their relationship.
Solution-focused treatment emphasises the present and future above the past. The therapist helps couples visualise their ideal future and find tiny measures to achieve it. Solution-focused treatment gives couples hope and drive by recognising accomplishments and progress.
Another strong component of solution-focused therapy is its acknowledgment that each couple member has unique qualities and abilities that can help change. This therapeutic method analyses how each spouse may contribute to a fulfilling relationship, rather than blaming one partner for issues. Couples can perceive each other differently, creating empathy, collaboration, and empowerment.
Overall, solution-focused therapy provides a refreshing perspective on marriage counselling by focusing on strengths, possibilities for growth, and mutual collaboration instead of getting tangled up in blame or negativity. Its practical nature equips couples with tools to actively work towards their desired future together while celebrating even the smallest steps along the way.
Christian counselling is unique because it incorporates Christian values into counselling. Biblical therapists think that men’s troubles stem from a damaged connection with God and can be healed through faith in Christ. This perspective gives people hope, purpose, and forgiveness while offering conflict resolution techniques.
Christian counselling emphasises marriage as a divine institution. Christian counsellors recognise couples’ issues and use biblical ideas to restore peace. They teach couples how to communicate, settle disputes while respecting each other, and improve their relationship through love and dedication.
Christian counselling acknowledges that clients bring their own values, beliefs, and faith to treatment. This lets Christian counsellors adjust their advice to a person’s faith journey. This innovative technique promotes comprehensive rehabilitation focusing on God’s compassion and grace by addressing psychological and spiritual issues.
Reasons Why Couples May Need Marriage Counselling
When a married couple starts their journey together, they often have high hopes and expectations for a lifetime of love, happiness, and harmony. Unfortunately, the reality is that many married couples soon realise that marriage is not always smooth sailing. There are various reasons why marital counselling may be necessary to address the challenges that arise in a relationship.
Secret-keeping can damage trust and communication in partnerships. However, keeping secrets might benefit a relationship. For instance, discussing every detail about former love encounters or every thought and emotion may not be helpful for a relationship. Allowing each partner to have their own space and privacy is important.
However, it’s important to distinguish between harmless secrets that retain individuality and destructive secrets that destroy confidence. Surprise presents or preparations for key occasions can add excitement and anticipation to a relationship. However, adultery or financial dishonesty secrets are detrimental because they break trust and honesty, which are essential to good relationships.
Falling out of love
Falling out of love is one of the most agonising aspects of many relationships. You feel lost and confused, as if a blazing flame has been extinguished. However, falling out of love may be a crucial step towards self-discovery. People develop, and what formerly made them happy no longer does. We should find ourselves again and accept that love can fade instead of trying to renew it.
Falling out of love doesn’t always end a relationship. It may be a chance to strengthen your relationship by accepting your changes. Similar to individuals, partnerships need room to grow and change. Openly discussing your changing needs and desires may lead to deeper connections or new shared interests. If handled with compassion, tolerance, and adaptability, falling out of love can be a renewal opportunity.
In marriage, partners often feel like they’ve grown apart. Both spouses may question where the love and connection went as an unbreakable link weakens. It is important to address feelings of distance or alienation early in a long-term relationship, even though people change.
Lack of open communication and emotional connection may cause couples to split. After a while, work, family, and personal obligations can take precedence over real conversations and connections. Couples struggle to grasp each other’s needs without emotional intimacy.
A lack of similar experiences and ambitions also causes separation. New couples typically travel the world and try new hobbies or careers. As duties mount and routines set in, shared experiences might fade. Without fun and exciting activities as a partnership, people may pursue their interests separately and go in different directions.
As disconcerting as it is to notice indicators of relationship breakdown, don’t give up. Spending time reconnecting through open communication channels focused on emotional closeness will lead to meaningful conversations, shared experiences, and new memories.
Regular fighting is often considered a symptom of marital trouble, but what if it might be beneficial? Regular disputes may seem stressful and unhealthy, yet studies show that they can help a marriage grow and comprehend. Having passionate arguments forces couples to analyse their values and views, which increases self-awareness. This approach improves relationship communication by helping people express their needs and wants.
Regular arguing can also increase couples’ emotional closeness. When partners argue, they can practice empathy and compassionate listening. Couples create trust and intimacy by actively listening and having meaningful conversations instead of avoiding conflict. Research shows that resolving problems together boosts love and marriage satisfaction.
Not all disagreements are equal; how couples handle them counts. Regular fights should focus on helpful dialogue rather than hostile debates. These frequent arguments can improve a marriage if handled with respect and openness. Couples learn to overcome obstacles by identifying differences, finding common ground, making compromises, and getting closer through regular fighting.
No parenting style is universal. Every parent raises their kids differently and faces different obstacles. Some parents prefer an authoritative manner with clear rules and responsiveness to their child’s demands. Some parents are lenient, giving their kids more freedom but less structure.
Recent research reveals that the best parenting method is somewhere between these extremes. This authoritative manner is both structured and loving. These parents support and guide their children while setting boundaries. This balanced approach helps youngsters develop self-regulation and independence while building trust and respect between parents and children.
Family parenting approaches might also vary. One parent may be more authoritative and the other permissive or authoritarian. Children may receive conflicting messages about acceptable behaviour. In these cases, seeking professional help, such as family therapy, can be beneficial in order to establish a shared understanding of parenting goals and strategies.
Communication troubles are a common relationship difficulty. Partners often struggle to communicate their needs, wants, and emotions. Lack of understanding and awareness of relationship communication may be a factor.
Partners sometimes assume each other knows what they’re thinking and feeling without saying so. Misunderstandings, disappointed expectations, and animosity might result. Another issue is using foul words or disrespecting a partner during a fight. This can swiftly undermine trust and emotional connection and create tensions.
Couples must improve their communication to resolve these challenges. This means actively listening to comprehend rather than waiting to talk, utilising statements instead of blame or criticism, and being open to compromise and discovering solutions. Couples can strengthen their relationship and marriage by enhancing communication.
Pre-marital counselling is often overlooked, yet it can play a crucial role in setting the foundation for a successful marriage. Many couples enter into marriage with rose-coloured glasses, assuming that their love will conquer all challenges. However, pre-marital counselling provides an opportunity to address potential issues before they become major roadblocks.
One of the key benefits of premarital counselling is the chance to openly discuss and understand each other’s expectations. This process allows couples to align their values, goals, and visions for the future. It also provides a safe space to uncover any hidden concerns or insecurities that may surface during the course of a marriage.
Furthermore, premarital counselling helps build effective communication skills essential for navigating conflicts within a relationship. Learning productive ways to express emotions and understanding how to actively listen can save couples from falling into unhealthy patterns later on.
Sexual issues can be a sensitive and challenging topic to discuss in any relationship. It is important to recognise that the sexual aspect of a relationship goes beyond physical intimacy; it serves as a means of connection, expression, and vulnerability. When sexual issues arise, they can be indicative of deeper underlying problems within the relationship or individual struggles. Addressing these issues with a marriage counsellor can provide an opportunity for couples to explore their fears, desires, and expectations in a safe and non-judgmental environment.
While some sexual issues may seem insurmountable, it is crucial not to give up hope. By seeking professional help through marriage counselling, couples can learn effective communication strategies and develop trust and empathy towards each other’s needs and concerns. Additionally, counsellors trained in working with sexual issues can offer guidance on techniques such as sensate focus exercises or exploring new ways of cultivating intimacy within the relationship. Remember that addressing these concerns not only has the potential to improve your sexual life but also enhance overall satisfaction within the marriage.
Recognising that sexual disorders are typical in many relationships makes getting expert help no longer shameful. Marriage counselling addresses sex and emotional issues, allowing couples to grow individually and together. It reveals long-standing tendencies and helps couples redefine a healthy personal relationship.
Infidelity and unfaithfulness
Infidelity and unfaithfulness are painful realities that can shake the foundation of any marriage. It is crucial for couples to address these issues in marriage counseling because the trust breach brought on by infidelity can leave permanent scars. While some may view infidelity as an irreversible betrayal, others argue that it can also serve as a wake-up call for both partners to reevaluate their relationship.
One perspective on infidelity is that it often stems from deeper underlying issues within the marriage. It could be a result of emotional disconnection, unresolved conflicts, or unmet needs. Consequently, working through these challenges through counselling can help couples rebuild trust and rediscover love and passion within their relationship.
Additionally, exploring why people cheat opens up a broader discussion about human nature itself. Some scholars argue that humans have evolved with a propensity for promiscuity due to biological factors, while others emphasise societal influences shaping behavior. Understanding the complex interplay between biology, psychology, and societal pressures can provide valuable insights into why infidelity occurs.
Overall, addressing infidelity in marriage counselling offers an opportunity for growth and healing. By fostering open communication and encouraging empathy and understanding, both partners can gain new perspectives on what went wrong and how to move forward towards rebuilding their relationship stronger than ever before.
Balancing blended family relations is difficult yet rewarding. As divorce rates rise, more couples are marrying or remarrying with children from past relationships. Communication and understanding are needed in blended families due to their diverse personalities, ethnicities, and experiences.
Building a healthy blended family requires accepting that everyone needs time to adjust. Patience and sensitivity are needed because each member may have different expectations and worries regarding this shift. Create an environment where everyone’s feelings are valued to give your blended family a sense of belonging and affection.
In blended families, successful co-parenting between biological parents can stabilise youngsters. Having consistent rules and expectations across families increases security and lowers disciplinary problems between parents or stepparents. Including all parents in decision-making reduces power disputes and family exclusion.
Trust concerns are difficult in any relationship, but especially in marriages. Lack of trust breeds uncertainty and mistrust, which can weaken the partnership. Trust concerns can include persistent questioning, frequent probing through personal things, or unwarranted suspicion.
Trust issues are often linked to adultery, although they can come from other events. Unresolved prior traumas or betrayals may make one partner cautious about trusting their spouse. Over time, broken promises or marriage infidelity can also erode trust.
Building trust takes time and effort from both partners. It demands honest, open communication without judgements or repercussions. Partners must recognise that repairing trust requires continual introspection and understanding. Couples that overcome these challenges generally form a stronger bond based on mutual respect and transparency, proving that trust can be rebuilt and moved forward to a healthy future.
Is marriage counselling effective?
Marriage counselling can be a powerful tool for couples who are struggling in their relationship. However, simply attending therapy sessions is not enough to ensure success. To make the most of marriage counselling, it is important to approach it with an open mind and a willingness to reflect on one’s own actions and emotions. This means being vulnerable and honest during sessions and sharing your true thoughts and feelings, even if they are difficult or uncomfortable.
In addition to being open during therapy sessions, it is crucial to take the lessons learned in counselling and apply them outside of the therapist’s office. This means actively working on communication skills, practicing empathy and understanding towards your partner, and making a conscious effort to implement any strategies or techniques suggested by your therapist. It may also involve setting goals as a couple and regularly checking in with each other on progress made.
Finally, maintaining regular attendance at marriage counselling sessions is essential for long-term success. It can be tempting to skip appointments when things seem fine in the relationship, but consistently attending therapy will help prevent future conflicts from arising or worsening. Plus, consistent attendance helps build trust with your therapist, which allows them deeper insight into your individual dynamics as a couple, ultimately leading to more effective support.
By approaching marriage counselling with an open mind, actively applying what you have learned outside of sessions, and remaining dedicated throughout the entire process, you will greatly increase its effectiveness in enhancing your relationship satisfaction.
What is the average cost of marriage counselling?
Marriage counselling is an investment in your relationship, but one that can often save you from the potentially devastating cost of a divorce. The actual cost of marriage counselling can vary depending on several factors, including location, duration of sessions, and the experience level of the counsellor. It’s important to consider both the short-term and long-term expenses when assessing whether or not marriage counselling is worth it for you.
In general, marriage counselling sessions can range anywhere from R 650.00 to R 1,250 per hour, with an average price falling around R 850.00 per session. While this may seem like a significant expense upfront, it’s crucial to recognise that the benefits of attending therapy extend far beyond monetary value. By investing in your relationship through therapy, you are actively working towards building a solid foundation for emotional intimacy and communication skills that will continue to enrich your life together for years to come.
Ultimately, the cost of couples counselling should be viewed as a worthwhile investment in your future together. Rather than focusing solely on immediate financial implications, prioritise what really matters: strengthening your bond and ensuring mutual happiness and fulfilment in the long run. Remember that every couple’s needs are unique; finding a skilled therapist who resonates with both partners can make all the difference when it comes to determining whether or not marriage counselling is right for you.
Is online couples therapy effective?
Online couples therapy has been found to be just as effective as in-person counselling in many cases. The convenience and accessibility of online therapy can be especially beneficial for couples who have busy schedules or are unable to attend in-person sessions. However, it’s important to ensure that the online therapist or counsellor is qualified and experienced in providing therapeutic support remotely.
What is an indication that I need marriage counselling?
If you and your partner are experiencing ongoing issues and are finding it difficult to resolve conflicts on your own, it may be a good idea to consider marriage counselling. Other signs that you might need counselling include a lack of communication, a loss of intimacy, frequent arguments, or a feeling of dissatisfaction in the relationship.
What advantages does marriage counselling offer?
Marriage counselling can help couples improve their communication skills, deepen their emotional connection, and develop effective conflict resolution strategies. It provides a safe space for couples to express their concerns and helps them gain insights into their relationship dynamics. Counselling also offers guidance in rebuilding trust and fostering a more resilient and fulfilling partnership.
How can a marriage counsellor help?
A marriage counsellor or therapist can provide unbiased support and guidance in navigating through relationship challenges. They can help couples identify and address underlying issues, learn new communication techniques, and explore strategies to improve intimacy and connection. The counsellor acts as a mediator, facilitating constructive dialogue and providing tools and resources to strengthen the bond between partners.
How to find a marriage counsellor?
Finding a marriage counsellor who’s good, affordable, and nearby is hard enough. But discovering one you both actually feel comfortable talking with can be even tougher. While asking a spiritual adviser or married friends for a referral is really the ideal choice, couples find it difficult to disclose their private issues. But conducting an online search, too, can feel like you’re looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.
You can also search online directories, but remember that it is important to choose a counsellor who is qualified, experienced, and suits the specific needs and goals of you and your partner. You can always ask for a personal referral—talk to your primary care physician or ask a friend or family member who has experienced a counsellor. Also, it is always a good idea to meet the person beforehand, especially if you decide on online counselling.
Can I expect my relationship to improve by attending marriage counselling?
While marriage counselling can be highly effective for many couples, there are no guarantees. Success in counselling depends on your commitment, willingness to actively participate, and the specific dynamics of your relationship. However, many couples find that counselling provides them with valuable insights, tools, and communication skills that can significantly improve their marriage.
What is the typical duration of marriage counselling?
The length of marriage counselling can vary depending on how complex the issues are and how well the couple is doing. Some couples may see improvements within a few sessions, while others may require longer-term therapy. On average, marriage counselling can range from a few months to a year or more.
Can marriage counselling work if one partner is unwilling to attend?
While it’s ideal for both partners to be willing to attend marriage counselling, it is still possible for progress to be made if only one partner is initially interested. The engaged partner can benefit from individual therapy and work towards making positive changes within the relationship. There is also a chance that the reluctant partner may eventually be willing to join the sessions as they witness the improvements being made.
How to start marriage counselling?
To start marriage counselling, you can begin by reaching out to a qualified counsellor who specialises in couples therapy. Schedule an initial consultation or session to discuss your concerns and goals. During this session, the counsellor will gather information and provide recommendations on the most appropriate course of action. From there, you can determine the frequency and duration of the counselling sessions.
Do you need marriage counselling today?
You can start the marriage counselling process today by contacting Dr. Leon Pienaar or one of our qualified marriage counsellors. We will discuss your specific needs with you during our complimentary 20–30 minute clarity call. Just proceed and complete the online request below.