Whether what is needed is fine-tuning or a major relationship overhaul, couples therapy in the form of marriage counseling or prenuptial counseling can help partners work together to improve communication, resolve painful family issues, and maintain a well-functioning, satisfying partnership.
Working with your partner in marriage counseling can be helpful when the strains of daily living cause wear and tear on your relationship. This is especially so when communication problems mount, making it difficult to see one another’s perspective or to find ways of solving problems effectively together. Couples therapy provides a forum for learning new ways of communicating, and for clarifying each partner’s needs and how they may be more readily met.
Often a crisis or life transition (birth of a child, loss of a loved one, empty nest, career change, retirement) provides momentum for taking a good look at a relationship that has grown ‘tired’ with the passing of time, or may highlight ongoing conflict that suddenly feels unbearable. It is then clear that old solutions are no longer effective in resolving current problems and that marriage counseling may be in order.
For those in new relationships, prenuptial counseling can also be helpful in establishing a solid footing for the relationship, or for deciding whether or not to take the next step.
Common Questions about Couples Therapy
How do I choose between marriage counseling, couples therapy, and couples counseling?
Basically, these terms are used interchangeably. Whether one calls herself a couples therapist, a marriage counselor, or a couples counselor is less important than getting a therapist that you feel comfortable with and who has solid credentials.
What kind of credentials are relevant for a couples therapist or marriage counselor?
A license in the therapist’s professional discipline as well as considerable expertise working with couples. This might be reflected by training and supervising others who do marriage counseling, as well as by writing and lecturing about couples therapy.
Is prenuptial counseling something to be considered if my partner and I are getting cold feet as we think about moving in together?
Ambivalence is not uncommon as couples face various transitions in their relationship — including moving in together or planning to marry. Couples therapy, at these critical junctures, in the form of prenuptial counseling can make a huge difference in helping you to solidify your relationship and move ahead.
Can couples therapy help a couple negotiate time together versus time on one’s own?
Negotiating time and activities that are to be spent separately and time and activities that are to be shared is one of the most common dilemmas that couples struggle with, often from early on. Couples counseling can be useful in sorting out separate versus shared time.
How does marriage counseling help with parenting issues?
Couples counseling provides a safe forum where partners can talk openly about their concerns and differences, learn to appreciate the other’s perspective, and present a more united front with the kids.
Can marriage counseling help if a couple has already decided that they are likely to end their relationship?
Especially when the couple has children, marriage counseling can help ease the pain of separation for the family, and can also help sort out issues around timing, living arrangements, and what and when to tell the kids.