The Dos and Don’ts of Marriage Counseling

A couple sit across from one another as they ignore eachother. Contact a couples therapist in Pasadena, CA for support with marriage counseling in Pasadena, CA
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Dr. Chris Tickner

When it comes to marriage counseling, many of our clients come into the practice with anxiety and nerves. Whether this is your first time coming to therapy or your first time coming to therapy with your partner, it’s normal to feel uncertain and awkward. The following dos and don’ts of marriage counseling and couples therapy can help you better understand what to expect and how sessions will run. Also check out our other blogs: What to Couples Therapy is Like, What a Couples Therapist Wished You Knew About Marriage Counseling.

Do come into the work fully committed to growth, and be open to change. The goal of marriage counseling is to explore the issues that are preventing both parties from experiencing happiness, joy, and harmony within the relationship. We want to work with couples where both people are committed to change and want to better themselves within the relationship as well as individually.

Don’t expect things to change overnight. It takes time to make permanent changes. Expecting your relationship to change overnight is unrealistic. Take the pressure off of the relationship by recognizing that couples therapy will be an ongoing process. It generally takes three months to begin to see small changes and six to nine months to fully develop into a new relationship with each other.

Do be willing to be wrong and take responsibility. It can be easy to point fingers, particularly in situations where one partner has been unfaithful when the other has been faithful. Everyone hurts one another within relationships. Being willing to take responsibility for your part will allow your partner room to take responsibility for their part. Therapy is less about pointing fingers and more about taking ownership of the relationship by focusing on what you can do to improve it. When each person is focused on their actions, their behaviors, and shares a common goal of a harmonious relationship, then real change begins to happen.

Don’t wait for your partner to change. Your responsibility should be on your growth, your change, and your actions within the relationship. Sitting back and waiting for your partner to change isn’t a healthy approach to couples therapy. The only person you can control is yourself and although you may feel that your partner needs to make changes too, that cannot be where your focus lies. 

Do tell your therapist if something isn’t working for you. Therapy is an intimate process and experience. Your therapist wants to know if something isn’t working so that changes can be made to make the process more helpful. There are different approaches to therapy and while your therapist tailors each session to you and your partner, it helps to know how the work is impacting the two of you. Rather than expect your therapist to read your mind, share your concerns or questions with your therapist.

To find marriage counseling near me, visit our couples counseling website. Our licensed marriage and family therapists can help you fix your relationship and work towards a brighter future as a couple.

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