How Do I Get the Best Marriage Counseling?

B. Miller

The best marriage counseling for you can depend on the issues you are having in your relationship, as well as something as simple as the personality of the person offering the counseling and of the individuals receiving it. It is important in marriage counseling for both partners to feel comfortable speaking to the marriage counselor; if either one feels uncomfortable, or like he or she is being judged, it is best to keep looking for someone else. Some marriage counselors also specialize in certain areas; for instance, family counseling with kids, or sexual therapy for couples having issues in that area of their relationship. For the best marriage counseling, it is a good idea to look for a counselor with experience in a particular field.

A marriage counselor tries to help strengthen a couple's relationship.
A marriage counselor tries to help strengthen a couple's relationship.

In general, marriage counseling normally occurs after a couple has already been married for a few years and is having some communication issues, or persistent fights that need to be resolved. Some couples, however, choose to get some marriage counseling before they get married so they can learn some tips for dealing with arguments and communicating with each other. In this case, the best marriage counseling might come from the individual performing the ceremony, particularly if it is a member of the clergy that the couple is familiar with. Otherwise, a marriage counselor may be willing to meet and discuss these things a few times.

Counselors may be able to help with communication problems.
Counselors may be able to help with communication problems.

In other cases, getting the best marriage counseling might require meeting with the counselor once for a type of trial run, to see if you both think he or she will be helpful, or has the type of personality you want to work with. Marriage counseling will generally take place with both members of the couple present at all times, so it is important that both people are comfortable sharing their feelings and opening up to this individual.

An individual who is emotionally detached from his or her spouse may choose to seek marriage counseling.
An individual who is emotionally detached from his or her spouse may choose to seek marriage counseling.

Aside from making sure personalities are complementary, consider the type of issues you want to resolve and the goals you have for the marriage counseling. The best marriage counseling will be flexible enough to help you to address the specific issues bothering you as a couple, and not just offer general advice. In certain scenarios, such as if a couple has particular issues with family members, monetary issues, sexual problems, or others, it may be possible to find a counselor who deals specifically with these issues, or who at least has experience with them. Couples contemplating divorce will generally also want to seek a counselor with experience in this area.

Couples who have trouble talking about their problems with each other may find help working with a marriage counselor.
Couples who have trouble talking about their problems with each other may find help working with a marriage counselor.
Therapists at community-based counseling centers often help people cope with marital and family problems.
Therapists at community-based counseling centers often help people cope with marital and family problems.
Some marriage counselors specialize in sexual therapy.
Some marriage counselors specialize in sexual therapy.
Marriage counseling can help couples regain a sense of intimacy in the relationship.
Marriage counseling can help couples regain a sense of intimacy in the relationship.

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Discussion Comments

MrSmirnov

Has anyone ever tried marriage counseling online? Did you feel that the experience was a positive one or was it too hard to open up with someone when you weren't face-to-face with them?

My wife and I are looking into various kinds of marriage counselors and right now it seems that online marriage counseling would be the cheapest option. We both live quite far from the nearest marriage counselor, so doing everything online would certainly save us valuable time as well.

We are a bit worried about the credentials of the online marriage counselors though. Does anyone know of a way to check out if someone has really completed the degrees they say they have?

letshearit

Do you think that premarital counseling should be mandatory for all couples?

I have a friend and she was told that it was mandatory for her and her fiance to go through premarital counseling at their church before the priest would marry them. The counseling lasted for three weeks and they had several sessions to make sure that they had considered all the big questions before they made the big move to actually tie the knot.

For myself I found this whole process a bit too demanding of the church. I really believe that marriage counseling, and premarital counseling should be up to the couple involved and not forced on them. I guess my friend was happy with the premarital counseling they received though because they got married right on schedule.

Sinbad

@sunshine31 - I have actually heard of a marriage counselor that did a wonderful job. This marriage counselor told two friends of mine who had been married for 12 years (and did not have children), that they *should* get divorced.

They are now both absolutely blooming. He has started another career and loves it. She is going back to school while getting a promotion at her job. It was difficult, of course, but neither of them once they both realized they were free to leave and that it might be the actual best last way to show each other they truly did care enough for each other to let the other go - have looked back.

I do not mean to make divorce sound rosy, but they cannot be the first people who have gone into therapy only to realize that the best strategy is an exit strategy, can they?

snickerish

I thought my husband had a great idea when it came to marriage counseling. He thinks that rather than waiting for problems to occur, you should have marriage counseling from the get go so that the counselor can follow you on your journey and may be better to see what happened or is happening.

His favorite metaphor for this idea is, of course, a sport metaphor. He says that having a marriage counselor no matter how well you are doing is like Tiger Woods having a golf coach. He says Tiger is the best golfer in the world but he still has a coach. So obviously it makes sense to him that even great marriages should have a marriage "coach."

Has anyone ever tried this?

gravois

My husband and I live pretty far out in the country. We have everything we need including internet access but I looked it up and it would be at least a 3 hour drive for us to get to the nearest marriage counselor. We have some issues we need to work through and I would really like to get some professional help but it is just too much of a burden.

My question is this. Is it possible to do marriage counseling online, maybe through Skype or email or something. Has anyone ever heard of this begin done with other types of therapy? I think that online marriage counseling is the only place we are going to be able to get some help.

truman12

I have known several couples that have gone to marriage counselors and I will admit that my husband and I have seen one as well. In my experience the best was to find a good marriage counselor is to ask for a recommendation.

I had a great experience and I went to one the my girlfriend knew. But another friends of mine had a horrible experience with a marriage counselor that she found online. Her and her husband actually ended up divorced.

If you do not feel comfortable asking your friends or family for advice on this subject you might call a professional society or a local counseling organization and ask if they can recommend someone.

golf07

It may be because I have a college education in psychology, but I think that most people can benefit from couples marriage counseling at some point in their lives.

It can be very helpful and insightful to get feedback from a third party who does not have any emotional attachment invested in the relationship.

There should never be any shame in admitting that you need some help. I think the best way to find a good marriage counselor is to get recommendations from others who have good results with it.

Word of mouth is usually the best advertising and this can work when it comes to finding the best marriage counselors too. If people have had good results, they are more than willing to share who they saw that helped them.

If they had a bad experience, they will share that too, so you can find a good counselor right away and not have to spend time and money on finding a good counselor.

John57

My dad has been a pastor for many years, and one of the most important parts of his job is giving good marriage counsel.

There is never a week that goes by that he does not meet with people and help them work on their marriages. He takes this very seriously as he realizes how important good marriage relationships are.

Many times pastors are a good place to start if you are seeking some marriage counseling. They usually know both partners and can give some good insight. If there are problems they feel they can't help with, they will have a list of resources they can refer you to.

If you are more comfortable talking with someone you don't know personally, a pastor can give you names of qualified professionals who can help.

sunshined

When my daughter and son in law were having some marriage problems everyone seemed to have advice for them and the answer to their problems. They even received advice on who they should go see about their issues.

They knew that they should look into some counseling, but it had to be someone they chose and felt comfortable talking to. It also needed to be someone they could afford to see.

Sometimes marriage counseling costs can be quite expensive, and other times your insurance will cover who you see. It is good to know ahead of time how much this will cost you and how you are going to pay for it.

They were able to find a younger marriage counselor who they both felt comfortable with. The first few times they went together for their appointments. Then the counselor met with each of them individually for a few sessions.

They have been able to work through their problems and are doing so much better. They have continued to visit their marriage counselor once a month to keep things on track. Seeking out a marriage counselor has been a very positive situation for them.

comfyshoes

@Sunshine31 - I feel that couples therapy is important because both sides get to hear what each partner wants and what they are doing that is getting in the way of a satisfying relationship.

Before I got married in my church, my husband and I went to pre-counseling session with a member of the church in order for us to understand the challenges that we would face and the responsibility that we have towards each other.

I think that some people get married for the wrong reasons and often the best marriage counselors can only do so much. They are not miracle workers. Both parties have to be committed and be willing to do the necessary work to mend the relationship.

sunshine31

I always wondered if marriage counseling help is really effective. I say this because I had a friend who was having difficulty with her husband and decided to go to couples therapy and it really hasn’t changed anything between them.

They still fight and are on the verge of a divorce. I realize that the best marriage counselors are open minded and see both sides of the issue, but I wonder what percentage is biased toward one partner or another.

I can see a person in a situation getting defensive if they feel their point of view is not heard. I wonder if that is what is happening with my friend’s situation.

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