How Marriage Counselling Can Benefit Couples

Ruth Bell Graham once said that a happy marriage is “the union of two good forgivers”. While this certainly rings true for most relationships, what does one do when the couple feels that they have already exhausted all of their options and forgiving is just no longer one of them?

The term “marriage counselling” is a formidable one, which may cause some couples to cringe at the prospect. Even contemplating marriage counselling requires recognising that there may be a need for it, which some people may feel is a bad reflection of who they are. Fortunately, seeking help outside of your marriage does not hold the taboo that it once did in the past, so many couples today (whether in healthy relationships or not) seek therapy as a means to optimise what they have. A marriage does not have to be in trouble in order for counselling to be considered – in fact, it can be a means of avoiding future pitfalls, in the same way that a vehicle benefits from regular servicing. Marriage counselling has many benefits, including some of the following:


Tackling the Elephant in the Room

While there doesn’t need to be a large, unspoken-of issue that is weighing a couple down, smaller concerns may rear their heads during a therapy session. Confronting these smaller issues prevents the onset of a snowball effect which may eventually have a negative impact on the marriage


A Safe Space

Marriage counselling offers a safe space for couples in which they can openly express their emotions, without the risk of judgement or power struggles. The counsellor aims to facilitate a process in which both parties are able to be honest with themselves and their partner. The fear of maiming or hurting the marriage is reduced, in this sense, as just the counsellor’s presence alone can offer a constant reminder to the couple as to why their actions should contribute to building them up as a team


Unbiased Input

In marriage counselling, the counsellor acts objectively, as the goal is to unite two people, and not side with one party. Counsellors offer a bird’s-eye view from their third-party vantage point and are able to provide insight that may not previously have been considered. Because of their unique outlook, training, and experience, counsellors are able to open the door to discussions that might not have happened otherwise.


Healthier Coping Mechanisms

Criticism, distrust, contempt, unrealistic expectations, and disrespect are often not the root cause of problems within marriages, but rather by-products that disrupt the functioning of the partnerships. Marriage counselling is an effective way to unearth some of the origins of the challenges that couples face. Tackling these matters head-on is far more effective than the symptomatic treatment that couples often resort to in order to protect themselves. Any action taken with the priority of self-preservation is known as a coping mechanism, and unfortunately, many developed coping mechanisms are what result in divorce today. Therapy is a good way to identify unhealthy coping mechanisms and develop a new, positive manner of dealing with problems which have always been perceived as a threat to the ego.

Therapy grants couples the opportunity to grow and communicate, and offers hope where hope was lost.

A message from Dr Tienie Maritz

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