You’ve started asking friends if they know divorce solicitors in London. Just five years into the marriage and one kid, you find yourself in a distressing situation. The first three years were like a bed of roses. Both of you are pursuing careers that you both love—you as a home-based entrepreneur and her, a powerhouse corporate lawyer representing significant businesses in the city.
Time together started to dissipate at the end of the fourth year and the beginning of the fifth year of marriage. The broken promises of spending time together as a family was increasing. You aren’t the confrontational or the nagging type. You just withdrew and let the status quo become the status quo.
Your friends asked if the love was still there. You said yes. So they said that you should try marriage counseling or couples therapy. You asked if that works. They said it does if you allow it to work for you.
An Overview of Marriage Counseling
Your reluctance about marriage counseling or couples therapy is not without justification. Before the 1980s, the success rate of couples therapy was pegged at a mere 50%. This is due primarily to less-developed methods for addressing a couple’s issues.
Another observation based on a study indicates that some 48% of distressed couples showed improvements in their relationship after five years following the regular therapy session, while 27% ended in separation or divorce.
Giving It a Try
Psychologists and marriage counselors have found new ways to navigate conversations between couples that elicits more positivity rather than aggression. “I hate it that you’re always late…” can become “I understand that you have a hectic schedule, but…”. Here are a few more ideas you should consider to make counseling work for you:
- It’s about you. Often, the focus is on one’s complaint about the other. He or she is no longer doing this or that. Or you wish that the other person could be more of something. Over-emphasis on what you want your partner to do or change would be a dead end. Experts advise that it’s better to set goals for yourself. How do you think you could also be a better person in your relationship? How do you manage conflict? Do you nag or withdraw? Answers to these tough questions will help shape what you want to get out of the therapy sessions.
- A good therapist. A good therapist is the right therapist. Do your research correctly and make sure that you find one that’s well trained in couples therapy. Those who subscribe to John Gottman’s methods would be good choices.
- Time is needed. Couples therapy is not a magic potion that could miraculously make your marital problems disappear. Time spent outside of treatment is just as valuable as time spent in treatment. You both must apply your realizations during therapy to the time you’re spending together.
- Truly open up. Is it anger or annoyance that you’re feeling? Or is there a more profound sentiment that lies within? You must be honest enough to search your innermost feelings and be able to share it with truthfulness. Maybe the anger is triggered by envy because of your partner’s success. Perhaps it’s about your feelings of inadequacy.
Marriage counselors also often advise setting aside discussion of divorce temporarily. This is also crucial in making couples therapy work for you. These are four tips with a 50 – 50 chance of saving your marriage. It might be worth a try.