Marriage Counseling as a Last Resort?

I see a lot of couples in my office who are striving to better their relationships and, often, save their relationships. The disturbing trend I see is couples therapy or marriage counseling being used as a last resort.

Many couples will tell me that they have tried psychiatric medication (often antidepressants) and different forms of arguing, as well as separations, threats of lawsuits, and who knows what else. Of course...this is all before trying couples therapy.

The problem I see is that many couples do not look for finding ways to better their communication, appreciate one another, or develop ways to settle differences. Instead, they are often caught up on who is right or how to get revenge. When all else has failed and they are on the brink of ending it forever, the couple calls me.

Marriage counseling and couples therapy works best when it is one of the first resorts--not last. When therapy is the last resort, there is an incredible amount of pressure put on each partner, as well as me! It is much more difficult for therapy to help a couple reverse years of bad habits, compared to helping the couple address these issues early on.

I urge couples to think about therapy as the second resort, instead of the last one on the list. If you have waited to use therapy as a last resort, there is plenty of hope. However, it will be more difficult and probably require more sessions compared to that couple who used therapy early on.

Many people view couples counseling as too expensive. However, I can assure you that your visit with me will be just a very small fraction of the cost of a divorce...and think about the heartache you may save.

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