Updated: Sep 12
What!? Marriage counseling is pure BS!?
She starts out by stating, “If you want to save your marriage, for the love of God, don’t go to marriage counseling.”
We obviously have something to say to that! Since our own coaching approach is an alternative to traditional marriage counseling, it would be tempting to tout our own horn and declare, Yeah, that’s right, marriage counseling sucks!
It’s not as clear-cut as that, by any means. But LD’s article does provide an excellent springboard for taking a sober look at marriage counseling, and for what you should consider before you choose what type of relationship help to seek out.
We’ll go through her 6 reasons, and tell you if we agree.
#1: Calling your spouse a loser.
LD says: "The very act of saying to your husband you need marriage counseling is tantamount to calling him a failure and criticizing him". (Note, it is often a man in a relationship who reaches our for marriage counseling).
Do we agree? Not at all. Although a request (or demand) for seeking counseling certainly can be phrased as criticism, and often will be taken as criticism, it is also true that seeking help is an awesome first step in marriage recovery. In a strained marriage, no improvement will ever happen without reaching out for help. And marriage counseling is definitely better than doing nothing.
#2: Some marriage counselors are failures.
LD says, “Some marriage counselors aren’t married. Others are divorced twice or unhappily married.” And, “If your marriage counselor doesn’t have the kind of relationship you want, she simply can’t tell you how to get it.”
Do we agree? Certainly, every trade has its true experts and frauds, but to disqualify a counselor because he or she has experienced divorce is a total miss. It's like saying your doctor can't treat you if she's had a serious illness. Sometimes having been through divorce is exactly why the counselor can know what you are going through. Sometimes divorce has been the greatest learning curve for the counselor, who (potentially) will be able to guide you through near-divorce or second marriage.
Of course, it's fine for you to seek out coaches or counselors who have created the kind of relationship you want to have.
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#3: Counseling is basically complaining.
Do we agree? It depends. Often, couples come to us after they’ve tried traditional marriage counseling or therapy, and they’ve gotten tired of “talking about their problems” and venting on each other. So yes, sometimes counseling sessions can turn into complaining sessions, and that's not helpful to anyone.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the more you talk about your problems, the bigger they get. If you try to get “to the bottom” of every one of your relationship problems, you’ll very often drown in a sea of bad feelings.
In our relationship approach, we don’t spend too much time on your problems, other than as a stepping stone to the relationship vision you hold, and then we aim to get you more intimacy and connection fast. And in fairness, if you have a great counselor, they won’t let your session turn into complaining parties. LD makes an important point: Try instead to deliver appreciations of your spouse every day (we recommend at least three appreciations before you go to sleep). That is highly effective medicine, but does not necessarily solve all your issues.
#4: Counseling is hideout for hypocrites.
Do we agree? Again, it depends. There can be truth to this claim in the sense that many people who agree to go to counseling with their spouse, really go for the purpose of “fixing” their partner. More couples than we can count come to us with the hope that we’ll finally make their spouse “get it”. That never works!
However, we wouldn’t call anyone a “hypocrite” for that reason. More often, you simply don’t realize your own impact and responsibility in having created the relationship you have. Ignorance does not a hypocrite make. Plus, we firmly believe everyone has a positive motivation, even when it's not readily apparent.
#5: Men are not big hairy women.
Do we agree? Well, it’d be hard not to agree :-) LD is talking about the common misconception many women have about their men: That they should be like women. They should process feelings like women do. They should want to talk about relationship as much as women do. Chances are, men won’t do that, or can’t do that. Not because they’re bad partners, but because they simply don’t think like that. Women think like that. Of course, this is often true in reverse too; men thinking their partners should act and think the way they do.
She goes on to say, “Chances are good that you married an imperfect man who’s perfect for you.” This is a good point, even if it's often hard to see how you're a good fit for each other. This is a matter for a different post, but you can be pretty sure that if you're in relationship with someone, somehow you're a match for one another; for better or worse.
#6: It’s an expensive way to control your spouse..
Do we agree? Well, if your intention is to "control your spouse", any kind of coaching or counseling is a bad idea, never mind the cost. If the expense of counseling happens instead of, as LD says, spending money on really nurturing yourself, that can be a real problem.
But money you spend on seeking out qualified help with a real desire to improve your marriage is never wasted. In fact, it could very well be the most important money you’ll ever spend your whole life. If you get the proper relationship help, it could mean the difference between living happily ever after and divorce. Whatever you pay for professional relationship help is going to be cheaper than divorce, for sure! Plus, even if you were to still get divorced, what you learn in counseling will often benefit you personally in all your current and subsequent relationships.
When you notice your relationship is failing and your love is fading, you should absolutely get help! Of course you'd want to find a coach or counselor who is skilled and with whom you have rapport. It's perfectly appropriate to "shop around" for the right coach or counselor till you find someone you jive with.
Don’t wait till you’re so resentful and hurt you can hardly be in the same room as your spouse. Don’t argue for years first. If you fight about the same things over and over again, it just means you don’t have an effective method to deal with your differences. Go learn it.
We all have this unrealistic expectation that we should be great at relationship without help or training. You wouldn’t expect yourself to be a great nurse or lawyer or engineer without focused and ongoing education. Relationship is no different. Find people you admire and who are creating a wonderful relationship, and learn from them.
LoveWorks: We believe relationships are meant to be an empowering, fun, passionate, safe place to grow, love, and learn. Where we get to be more of who we are, not less. We know it’s not always easy, but it can definitely be easier! With our unique and practical approach to relationship, you learn how to resolve conflicts quickly and enjoy fulfilling intimacy for the rest of your life. To learn more or contact us, visit www.loveworkssolution.com.