Traditionally, counseling and therapy have come with a stigma. Many people in society think that if you have to go see a therapist, that there must be something wrong with you. The same goes for marriage counseling, only twofold, because two people are involved. If you are seeing a marriage counselor, you may have noticed that your friends have less than positive reactions when you tell them about this. Their first question might be: what is wrong with your husband or wife? And their second question might be: what is wrong with you? However, the idea that married couples who seek marriage counseling is a misconception. In fact, married couples who do go to see marriage counselors often have healthier relationships because of it.
The first reason why marriage counseling contributes to a healthy relationship is quite simple. The very act of seeking out help indicates that both parties in the relationship have an active desire to work on and improve the relationship. This desire to identify problems and work on them is the first step in building a healthy relationship. To solve problems, you have to want to solve them in the first place.
Secondly, marriage counseling allows for open and honest communication between you and your spouse. Many couples find it difficult to make time to communicate with each other in their daily lives, or they simply do not find the opportunity to, what with work and family obligations. Marriage counseling appointments provide a time and safe space in which couples are forced to confront each other and their issues, and to talk through them together. Relationships do not work without honesty, and the avenue which marriage counseling provides can carry over into your relationship in the long term.
Thirdly, marriage counseling can help you and your spouse uncover issues which you were not aware of before. Marriage counseling can help you work on issues that you and your spouse perhaps have been dealing with for a long time and have been having difficulty sorting out by yourselves, or it can help you both come to terms with sudden events that have had a significant impact on your relationship, such as infidelity. In the wake of a traumatic event like an affair, marriage counseling can help you and your partner to rebuild the trust between you which is so essential to a healthy relationship.
A licensed marriage and family therapist is qualified to conduct marriage counseling, and having an impartial, objective, outside third party to help you sort through your struggles can actually be very beneficial. LMFTs also have extensive training in clinical and therapeutic techniques, so they are well equipped to guide you and your spouse to a healthy relationship.