Jump to content

Menu

Anyone have experience with marriage counseling?


Recommended Posts

9 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

We're all set up to go, I just would love to know what to expect.  I do better when I have a sense.  

Dh and I have met with our pastor every once in awhile. I’d expect your therapist will ask why you are there and will go from there.  

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A friend of ours went to marriage counseling and the main thing that stuck out to him was the therapist’s recommendation to read “The Five Love Languages” and to learn your spouses love language.  He had all of us take the quiz so we’d know our spouses language.  He wished he had known about that book years ago.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In terms of what to expect, a first session will probably involve the therapist getting to hear, from each of your perspectives, why you're seeking marriage counselling. The counsellor may ask clarifying questions, checking that she's understood your perspective and goals for counselling and framing the situation as you each see it.

In that session, you can ask what future sessions might look like. 

Best of luck with it. 

Edited by Melissa Louise
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Over the years, we’ve seen 4, and I’m so glad we did. The first one was an absolutely terrible match for us. The second was a very big help with working through big issues, but not as useful when we got to more mundane things we wanted to address. The third was awesome at those basic things, but then she moved.  We didn’t see the fourth enough to get fully comfortable, but I wish we had. It’d be nice to do an annual or semi-annual “check in” with someone more familiar with our history.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have been to two.  
 

The first one was really more of — someone who would talk to you and give some general advice.  Super nice guy.  My husband did not respect him, though, which was a huge problem.  He did not think he knew what he was talking about on a lot of things.  This was a chaplain and I thought he was a nice guy.


Then we went to a real marriage therapist.

 

At the first session we both filled out a questionnaire and then the therapist looked at it.  Then he asked us some questions about the questionnaire.  He asked us basically why we were there.  What we would want to get out of it, that kind of thing.

 

Then we would have one goal every week and the next week go back and say how we did on it.  
 

My husband got along with this guy.  
 

The therapist identified that on our biggest issue, we weren’t that far apart, but we were both going farther and farther apart because we saw the other person going the other way, and thought we had to go our way to compensate for them going that way.  We were actually close enough to agreeing that we could agree and both move to the middle.
 

It really was helpful.   

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This was more than ten years ago.  At the time there was an issue I thought my husband should be concerned about and I thought he should basically be going to therapy or something to deal with it.

My husband did not want to at the time.  The marriage therapist thought that was fine for my husband and it was helpful to me to hear the marriage therapist thought that.  We both liked him.

Anyway — in the past 2 years my husband has started to seek counseling for that issue. He is taking steps forward on it.

Well — we have had a good marriage the past years, while my husband didn’t want to deal with that issue.

So it was not something where the marriage therapist wanted to deal with every thing, he just wanted our marriage to be better.  
 

He was a “you can be right or you can be happy” kind of therapist and thought we needed to spend time enjoying each other.  That is the main thing I remember from it.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me it took several therapists to find a good one, I think the good one was the third? She was no nonsense, and very likley a solution focused type therapist, looking back. I highly advise solution focused therapy. 

Did it work? Well...we got divorced. but, that was because my DH had mental illness he was unwilling to treat, he never tried to do any of the stuff he was asked to do to help himself, and flat out said, in therapy, "I don't really think I need to change" while unemployed and sleeping all day while neglecting my kid. We were doing individual and marriage therapy with her, and he got kicked out of his individual therapy for failing to actually focus or do anything during the sessions or in between, it was clear he just didn't care to work on it and assumed I'd stay anyway. But despite that, I think he would have said she was a good therapist. In fact, now that I think about it, I'm almost positive he went back to her years after our divorce.  (he's passed away now). 

I think with a more mentally healthy spouse it would have worked. It helped ME, anyway. And I still recommend her to people. I learned more about being a healthy partner. 

Honestly, back then what helped as much or more was the Marriage Builders website and books. I don't agree with everything he says - for instance my circumstances and beliefs mean I'm not spending the number of hours alone with my spouse he recommends, etc, but it really helped me learn what works in a marriage and what doesn't. It is very practical advice. Again, my husband at the time was not willing or able to participate or be a safe, healthy partner. But the principals I learned from it I used in my current relationship, and I taught them to my DH, and it really really helped us. Had my ex been in a place to even begin to be a healthy partner I think it would have worked for him and I as well. He just wasn't capable, and I couldn't keep my son in that situation any longer. 

That said, I know you are Catholic, have you ever listened to More 2 Life? It's a podcast/radio call in show on Catholic radio with a husband/wife counseling team. I'm always VERY impressed with their practical approach to marriage therapy. And I know they do actual telehealth visits - I have no idea what the cost is though. Again, solution focused therapy. With them, and with the books i mentioned above, the idea is to get the couple to focus on the problem, not on attacking each other. Seriously, I find their advice on the radio show REALLY impressive and practical and useful - even though again I don't agree with them on everything in the world (things like child rearing and ADHD...I think they think it is overdiagnosed, although their actual child rearing advice is sound and based on grace and love and connection). I know you've just started back at work, so I don't know if the money is there, but if my marriage needed help, and I could swing whatever the fee is, I'd call them. I think they have books as well, but I've only read the parenting one. 

This is their counseling website (books and podcast/radio available there too): https://catholiccounselors.com/

Finally, two things. One, a reminder that you are in crisis right now in SO many ways - grief, pandemic, living situation, etc. Do NOT make long term decisions in the midst of a crisis. Neither of you are in a healthy place and although you are right to seek a way to help keep your relationship from being part of the problem instead of part of the solution, do not judge your relationship based on how either of you feel about it right now. Men in particular, in my experience, tend to blame external things for their internal turmoil. So, and I could be wrong, if he is blaming you or the marriage for his discontent or misery right now, rather than all the other factors, that's normal. Not okay, but normal. It can be worked through and yes, this is where therapy, or those marriage builder books, or something, come in.

Two, I'll pray for you, your husband, and your family. If you ever want to chat, feel free to PM me or you can email me or find me on facebook. Email is katie.grok@gmail.com. I can't promise to have any answers, but I'll listen, and not judge. 

 

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

We're all set up to go, I just would love to know what to expect.  I do better when I have a sense.  

 

8 hours ago, Melissa Louise said:

In terms of what to expect, a first session will probably involve the therapist getting to hear, from each of your perspectives, why you're seeking marriage counselling. The counsellor may ask clarifying questions, checking that she's understood your perspective and goals for counselling and framing the situation as you each see it.

In that session, you can ask what future sessions might look like. 

Best of luck with it. 

This. They will ask you why you are there, what you want, etc. 

Also, forgot to say before, one that focuses on communication is hugely helpful,or teaches skills on how to handle issues. so a therapist might focus on who does the dishes, but they should also be teaching you HOW to come to a resolution on the issue, so you can apply it to other things. 

And it should feel tailored to you and your lives, not something generic you can get from any book. I'm still trying to figure out why my friend's therapist thought "find a song you like and send the lyrics to your spouse" was the best way to fix a marriage where there was already domestic violence and ZERO communication skills. Like, that's nice, but for a Cosmo article, not a trauma situation! Sort of like if you showed up at the doctor with cancer and he spent the first three appointments talking about the food pyramid, lol. 

  • Like 2
  • Confused 1
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ktgrok said "And it should feel tailored to you and your lives, not something generic you can get from any book. I'm still trying to figure out why my friend's therapist thought "find a song you like and send the lyrics to your spouse" was the best way to fix a marriage where there was already domestic violence and ZERO communication skills."

There are just so many bad counselors as their are bad doctors, etc.    And even if it wasn't totally off to say these words to a domestic violence survivor, it wouldn't even work for those of us (15% of population) that primarily listen to the music and don't care much about lyrics.  

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, BaseballandHockey said:

@ktgrok

Thank you for the resources.  Online resources are really helpful, but they'd need to be secular.  

We do have a provider lined up, but online resources could certainly add to that. 

Ah! Okay. Then most/all of marriage builders stuff is secular, or at least not blatantly religious. 

1 hour ago, BaseballandHockey said:

@ktgrok

I tried to PM you, but it says you can't receive messages. 

Just cleared out my inbox, should work now. Sorry!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If one partner has ADHD, you need to be sure the counselor really knows what that's like for both partners. I am sure the same principle can be applied to other areas as well. Counselors sometimes specialize either because they become known for being good at something, so more people come to them for that, or they go out of their way to learn about specific issues because of a client's need.

We started seeing our counselor to get help with our 2e kids (she is also an ed psych) and stayed for marriage counseling. 2e kids often have 2e parents...

She's big on talk therapy. It has its good points, and it keep things from getting overwhelming. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, kbutton said:

If one partner has ADHD, you need to be sure the counselor really knows what that's like for both partners. I am sure the same principle can be applied to other areas as well. Counselors sometimes specialize either because they become known for being good at something, so more people come to them for that, or they go out of their way to learn about specific issues because of a client's need.

We started seeing our counselor to get help with our 2e kids (she is also an ed psych) and stayed for marriage counseling. 2e kids often have 2e parents...

She's big on talk therapy. It has its good points, and it keep things from getting overwhelming. 

Our 2e kid was adopted.  He definitely didn't get his giftedness from either of us.  

We're going to see someone whose speciality is grief.  I would have said before September that our marriage was really solid, and I think it still is.  There's just a lot to navigate as we transition from a family of 5 to a family of 4, and from him being the primary earner and me being the parent at home to me being the earner, while also being at home.  Getting help with those transitions seems like a good idea.

  • Like 11
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Our 2e kid was adopted.  He definitely didn't get his giftedness from either of us.  

We're going to see someone whose speciality is grief.  I would have said before September that our marriage was really solid, and I think it still is.  There's just a lot to navigate as we transition from a family of 5 to a family of 4, and from him being the primary earner and me being the parent at home to me being the earner, while also being at home.  Getting help with those transitions seems like a good idea.

I was thinking one of your other kids was gifted (+/- 2e). Sorry about that. Our counselor would say that giftedness itself needs its own approach to things.

I agree with others that being proactive is really good. Grief is so individual, and with the other transitions, it must multiply the ways things could be more difficult.

(((Hugs)))

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, kbutton said:

I was thinking one of your other kids was gifted (+/- 2e). Sorry about that. Our counselor would say that giftedness itself needs its own approach to things.

I agree with others that being proactive is really good. Grief is so individual, and with the other transitions, it must multiply the ways things could be more difficult.

(((Hugs)))

My youngest is pretty bright and advanced in some areas, but not in the way his brother was, where it was something that impacted everything.  

Thanks!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

On 1/28/2021 at 4:07 AM, TravelingChris said:

Ktgrok said "And it should feel tailored to you and your lives, not something generic you can get from any book. I'm still trying to figure out why my friend's therapist thought "find a song you like and send the lyrics to your spouse" was the best way to fix a marriage where there was already domestic violence and ZERO communication skills."

There are just so many bad counselors as their are bad doctors, etc.    And even if it wasn't totally off to say these words to a domestic violence survivor, it wouldn't even work for those of us (15% of population) that primarily listen to the music and don't care much about lyrics.  

Counsellor is an unregulated title. I could hang up my shingle today and start practicing as a counsellor! 

It's important ppl do some research into the counsellor's actual quals and experience, because the title itself guarantees nothing. 

And you are so right - there are many shonky practitioners out there.

People experiencing any form of DV should not attend counselling with their abuser. Individual support is needed/safer. 

Just general thoughts, not specific to OP. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Melissa in Australia said:

Not that my situation or life experiance are any way similar to you, 

 But when dh was injured at work and was very sick and could never ever go out to work again. it took at leat a year for us to both restablish our roles in our relationship, and even longer to find our personal space. 

 

Any wisdom?  Suggestions for what worked?  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Melissa Louise said:

 

 

Counsellor is an unregulated title. I could hang up my shingle today and start practicing as a counsellor! 

It's important ppl do some research into the counsellor's actual quals and experience, because the title itself guarantees nothing. 

And you are so right - there are many shonky practitioners out there.

People experiencing any form of DV should not attend counselling with their abuser. Individual support is needed/safer. 

Just general thoughts, not specific to OP. 

Thank you!

I wanted to say, just because I'd hate for someone to stumble on this and think otherwise, that there is no DV, and no infidelity.  This isn't a situation where one person is wrong and the other person is right.  

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Thank you!

I wanted to say, just because I'd hate for someone to stumble on this and think otherwise, that there is no DV, and no infidelity.  This isn't a situation where one person is wrong and the other person is right.  

Oh, I know. Hence the disclaimer. But just for general reading along info. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Melissa Louise said:

Oh, I know. Hence the disclaimer. But just for general reading along info. 

Thanks, I didn't mean to single you out, I just did want to be clear because I don't want to malign the man!  I don't share my name here, but we're pretty identifiable just because our family is kind of weird.    DH is a good guy whose been dealt a crappy hand, and we need some help to figure out how to move forward. 

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My ex and I  had 3 rounds of couples therapy over the course of our 25 year marriage. In each case, it was initiated by him as he thought it would help increase and improve tea time. He wasn't really focused on the rest of the issues in the relationship, except maybe pointing out how my weight gain was negatively impacting his happiness.

The third therapist had a policy that we both needed to be in individual therapy during the course of the couples therapy. My ex actually told the couples counselor that there was nothing wrong with him, so he didn't need individual therapy, but he eventually agreed to it.

In that third round, we were able to have guided discussions that actually clarified for me that it was time to separate, and it provided a framework for having healthier communication as we began that process. So in our case, I would say it actually worked. But our goal wasn't necessarily to preserve the marriage, it was to find a path forward. We improved our relationship by changing it.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...