Marriage counselling helps couples resolve their conflicts and improve their relationships. It is beneficial to seek couple counselling when the issue is small and can be nipped in the bud.
When a couple is going through a difficult time or is having strong difference of opinion, relationship counselling can help them handle the delicate situation in a practical and healthy manner.
The marriage counselling process can be short term or long term but it helps to fulfil the goals of marriage counselling and couples counselling can really save a relationship.
Consultant Psychiatrist Dr. Rima Mukherjee has been counselling couples for the last 20 years and she lists the 10 ways in which marriage counselling can help your marriage.
Related Reading: Relationship Counselling – Everything You Need To Know
Can Couples Counselling Save A Relationship?
Couples counselling can really help in ironing out the creases that can trouble a relationship. When couples go together and talk to a counsellor they get a perspective about their own relationship.
A good counsellor would make couples talk and discuss the issues while he or she would add in her bid to make them understand from a third-person viewpoint.
Couples therapy can be even tried at home. A counsellor usually starts with asking a number of questions that would include childhood history, your relationship history and all the reasons for which you decided on therapy.
You have to answer the questions honestly. Be aware that couples therapy can help fix a broken marriage provided you are also willing to change. Often couples are resistant to change that’s when the job of a counsellor becomes more difficult.
The counselor would review your progress, give you homework but you have to be diligent in your efforts.
10 Ways Marriage Counselling Can Benefit Your Marriage
Dr Mukherjee gives us some important marriage counselling tips and tells us in clear terms when and how should a person avail of marriage counselling.
There could be issues in the marriage that they could be shoving under the carpet that can be addressed and resolved. How can marriage counselling help? Here are 10 ways it can.
1. Marriage counselling can help in adjustment
Today, many marriages collapse within a few months. This happens even when individuals choose their own life partners and live in nuclear set-ups.
The simple task of planning like how to divide the household work may erupt into full-blown fights as the pre-marriage fantasy does not look anything like reality.
Instead of keeping on arguing and fighting over issues that could be solved easily it is best to meet a marriage counsellor and sort out the teething problems.
2. Solve in-law problems
These are seen as common problems that everyone has and they’re expected to sort themselves out with time. Only, they don’t.
Many marriages today break up in the first year itself due to in-law problems. Interference in the new bride’s life (she should work/not work/her choice of clothing/lifestyle).
A girl’s parents may also be interfering leaving the young couple frustrated and they could be taking their angst out on each other. Marriage counselling programmes help in that case.
Another interesting observation has been that, often when new husbands say or do something to the new wife, they sound like their mothers (always siding with her). The truth is, that after all the mother raised him and formed his thoughts for years, so this is bound to happen.
But the new wife is unable to accept it. Also, the man keeps expecting her to do all the things his mother did like cooking, keeping the home spic and span. What he doesn’t realise he mother could have been a homemaker and his wife a career woman.
If they can find a marriage counsellor who would be a neutral person and can explain this to them so that neither the young wife nor the husband is left feeling upset due to misunderstandings. The counsellor can then help them resolve real issues.
3. Couples counselling helps in case of sexual incompatibility
The taboo around the discussion of sex and intercourse leads to couples going silent on sexual problems for years. It is only when the pressure to have a child is unavoidable that these issues are finally recognised and addressed.
Absence of sexual activity can leave either or both partners frustrated over time and make the relationship brittle.
Couples counselling and visits to sexologists are hence a must. It will help the couple understand and sort out the problems and lead satisfying married lives.
Related Reading: 20 Premarital Counselling Questions You Should Ask Before Marriage
4. Counselling can dispel the effects of infidelity
A couple must definitely take counselling if there has been an affair and they have decided to continue with the marriage and give it a second chance.
Both the cheater and the cheated upon need to learn how to move on and help rebuild the lost trust in the marriage.
The cheated upon partner also will be taught to move past the bitterness and guilt. Most importantly, the counsellor will help the couple arrive at the reason why the marriage took a hit in the first place.
5. Family counsellors help deal with parenting challenges
A surprisingly large number of young couples are going through severe disturbance in their married life if their approach to parenthood is different.
For instance, one parent may feel that the child is lazy and just needs a beating while the other parent may feel the child simply needs counselling and a talk.
They keep making serious parenting mistakes. They don’t know how to rectify it or deal with the challenges of bringing up a child in a highly technologically wired world.
Such differences can lead to quarrels and the fights at home can affect both the child and the marriage. This is definitely a time one must seek counselling.
6. Addictions can be tackled
Any kind of addiction can seriously hurt a marriage. Alcohol/drugs lead to additional problems too (like financial problems at home, verbal abuse, violence, lying).
Addiction counselling is vital at such a time. Addicted individuals respond better to their de-addiction programmes when under counselling.
Their partners benefit from counselling, as it teaches them behaviours which support the de-addiction efforts of the addict and helps them cope with the stress.
Related Reading: 9 Proven Benefits Of Counselling – Don’t Suffer In Silence
7. Internet addiction also needs to be addressed
Many couples today (both husband and wife) are sometimes so addicted to the virtual world that the family and marriage are neglected.
We all know gadgets ruin relationships. The relationship doesn’t get the daily dose of nutrients in terms of moments and conversations together.
In time, the marriage weakens and online friendships strengthen that often lead to online cheating. The casual chats often (unintentionally) turn into deeper friendships and then to online or real affairs.
Couples who are so busy on WhatsApp or Facebook that they have nothing to say to each other definitely should consider marriage counselling.
They could be on social media all the time and making some social media mistakes that could take a serious toll on the relationship.
8. Abuse needs immediate counselling
Sprouting of any kind of abuse, physical or verbal, will corrode the relationship immediately. Counselling is advised at the earliest. No second thoughts.
By abuse we usually take into account domestic abuse but abuse nowadays can be of various kinds. There is emotional abuse and a gaslighting spouse can be finishing you off mentally and you may not even realise that.
There can be financial abuse where a partner is forced to give money or constantly heckled to earn more and meet the demands of a partner.
Abusive partners rarely show signs of improvement without counselling. So marriage counselling is must in case of any kind of abuse.
Related Reading: 12 Warning Signs Of Gaslighting And 5 Ways To Deal With It
9. Advice for chronic health issues
If one partner has a chronic or critical mental/physical condition, it affects the marriage.
The couple must seek counselling so that the ill partner can move past the guilt to a more positive thought process.
The other partner can benefit from counselling and move past any feelings of resentment for carrying the extra load.
Chronic physical or mental illnesses play havoc with the marriage. In a situation like this people must seek counselling.
10. Divorce gracefully through marriage counselling
Once a couple has decided to part ways, counselling is advised so that they can uncouple gracefully and make divorce less unpleasant and start the new chapter of their lives on a more positive note.
Sometimes a trial separation is advised but most often marriage counselling helps in dealing with the extreme pain, anger and resentment that people feel when they go through a divorce.
Marriage counselling is affordable these days and some psychologists have saved marriages and made divorces less messy.
Dr. Rima Mukherji MBBS, DPM, MRCPsych (London)
She has been making a difference in the lives of so many couples through marriage counselling. After gaining 7 years of experience in the UK, Dr Mukherji set up the renowned Crystal Minds, a mental wellness centre (with a multidisciplinary team offering a wide range of psychiatric and psychological services for all age groups) in Kolkata. Over the past 20 years, she has won several laurels for her fierce passion for her work. Her vision for a safe society is geared towards living without the fear of stigma, experiencing awareness and promoting positive mental health through marriage counselling programmes.