What marriage counselling meant to me
By: Cynthia Ebere-Anaba
Updated: 30 September 2015
A real service user shares her experience with marriage counselling at MyMind.
A few months back, my marriage was in trouble and I was beginning to think about divorce. Although my partner and I knew that neither of us would be happy living separately, something was still wrong in our relationship. At that time I felt helpless, but I spoke to my best friend who suggested meeting with a professional marriage relationship counsellor. This was excellent advice – counseling helped save my relationship and increase the trust between myself and my partner. Here I am going to share my experience with counselling and how it worked.
How counselling helped to bond us again:
It took me a while to decide to give marriage counselling a try. Ultimately, I decided to make an appointment as I desperately wanted to save my relationship. Below is an account of my experience with counselling:
- Determine the root cause of the problem:
Many problems are common to the majority of marriages. Issues such as broken trust, miscommunication, disagreements, and misunderstandings can arise at different times and present different challenges. In my relationship, the case was different. Myself and my partner used to work in same office and our relationship started there. We married shortly after, and were very happy together. However, problems began to emerge when he seemed to resent my success at work. He wouldn’t communicate these frustrations to me, and I found it difficult to understand how he was feeling.
The counsellor originally communicated with us separately, to gain an understanding of how our relationship had reached this point. He suggested a number of options for us to try before we made any firm decisions about divorce.
- Communicate with each other:
Lack or improper communication is one of the main reasons why conflicts or misunderstandings develop among couples. Although the circumstances of our difficulties were unique, our inability to communicate successfully made them even worse. I would lose patience with my partner when he didn’t respond well to my efforst to find out how he was. Our counsellor helped us to talk to each other more productively. He advised to listen to my husband patiently, even if he shouted at me or reacted angrily. He recommended that I refrain from raising my voice to prevent anger from escalating. He suggested that when I felt our verbal communication was unsuccessful, that I should write my husband a letter to explain to him how I was feeling. This took a lot of work, but gradually things started going back to normal.
- Be a team rather than you and me:
Another step towards building a healthy relationship that the counsellor suggested was to act as a duo and not two individuals. We were encouraged to only make decisions after consulting with each other. I had previously underestimated how hurt my husband was when I made decisions on his behalf without taking his opinion into account. Remedying this further helped to heal our relationship
- Focus on the positive feelings:
This was one of the most effective tips from our counsellor. All of the recent arguments and frustrations had made us forget how we fell in love in the first place. Our counsellor encouraged me to write 3 things I loved about my husband and suggested the same to him as well. This simple exercise helped me focus on the reasons I wanted to make our relationship work and gave me perspective on the difficulties we were experiencing.
- Fulfill your commitment to be together:
Our counsellor recommended that we acknowledge the depth of our commitment to each other and reaffirm this commitment regularly. While the act of getting married contained our lifelong vows to one another, marriage is a lifelong commitment that requires continual work. Myself and my husband regularly demonstrate our affection and our trust in each other in order to fulfill our marital commitments.
Undergoing marriage counselling is one of the best decisions we ever made. Before meeting with a counsellor, I felt desperate and thought that divorce might be my only option. Working with a professional helped myself and my husband reevaluate our relationship and learn how to prevent problems from escalating into anything insurmountable. For anyone going through similar difficulties, I would highly recommend speaking to a counsellor.
MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS WORKING WITH Relationship issues ISSUES:
Approach: Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy , Person-Centred Therapy , Internal Family Systems , Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) , Somatic Experiencing , Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) , Mindfulness
Works with: Individual Session
Specialities: Anxiety , Bereavement , Depression , Relationship issues , Self-Esteem , Trauma
Next avaialble appointment: 13:00 08 December 2020
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