Psychologists, therapists, counselors -- they can help you keep your marriages from spiraling into divorce, but it's only half the battle -- you've got to meet the counselor halfway -- much like you need to meet your spouse halfway if you ever want to save your marriage. Many divorcing couples regard counseling as a waste of time, energy and money. But a closer examination of their behavior clearly reveals why counseling didn't work.
Melanie Gorman is a mental health therapist and a relationship/dating coach for the Ask Mars Venus coaching program created by Dr. John Gray (author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus)
. She has encountered many couples unwilling to help themselves in the journey toward reconciliation. Says Gorman, "There are several reasons why it's important for couples to meet their counselor halfway… and why it often doesn't happen." Her four main reasons include:
1. Couples don't have a goal in mind.
They're stuck in their own feelings about the relationship, their own blame about how their partner has wronged them and they have a never-ending list of excuses. They are already behind before they begin because they don't have the right mindset to keep their goal in focus, no matter what obstacles arise. 2. Looking more deeply at a relationship rather than just calling it quits incites fear in many couples.
What is healthier and more beneficial is if pairs face what they dread most and conquer it. People turn their back on the process when negativity and obstacles arise. They don't have faith in the process and doubt it from the very start. But there are no quick fixes, especially when it comes to relationships. Solutions are possible, but reworking habits and behaviors that have long been in play will take time. Patience and understanding are integral to success in counseling. 3. If couples want to be in a relationship, they have to do something about it.
But this doing something has to be more than just saying they desire a better relationship and then hoping for it with all their might. To reach a goal, couples must take action. Many couples expect the counselors to do the work for them — but the counselor's job is to motivate and support, offer feedback, and, essentially, hold up a mirror in front of the pair so they can see exactly how their actions are affecting their relationship. Sometimes people are so blinded by their own anger and injustices that they can't take an honest look at their own behavior and how it could be affecting their relationship. 4. Many couples look at counseling as a drain on their finances instead of an investment in their relationship.
They convince themselves that their issue isn't that big after all, that they can fix it themselves, or that it'll miraculously disappear… just to save a few bucks. But isn't a marriage, a long relationship, a meaningful partnering between two people worth more than money? I'd like to think so, but many couples aren't willing to actually invest in practices that can truly benefit them and their relationship.
Licensed marriage and family therapist Ken Dolan-Del Vecchio doubles as a licensed clinical social worker and authored "Making Love, Playing Power: Men, Women, & the Rewards of Intimate Justice.
" His view centers on fairness and who has power to initiate change. "When a couple encounters relationship difficulties, both partners need to work with the therapist toward healing," says Del Vecchio. "Typically, however, the woman in a heterosexual relationship -- and more generically, the partner with less power--moves more willingly toward the therapist and toward change. Her initiative may preserve the relationship for a time, but with a now even more lopsided power arrangement. At this point there remains little hope for the partnership. When both partners meet the therapist halfway, however, together they set the foundation for fairness. With this initial step toward fairness, they activate the potential to heal their bond."
Beverly Jewell, Owner of Essential Focus Consulting
, is a registered professional counselor and has worked with individuals and couples in the fields of counseling, mediation and coaching since 1995. She asserts that couples often wait too long to seek professional help, saying, "By the time they do, one or both of them have been emotionally divorced for years, but will go through the motions of counseling so they can say they 'tried.' What this really means is they take up space on the couch for a few weeks before throwing in the towel to say it isn't working. When this happens, the counseling is doomed to fail because they aren't there for the right reasons. If one person secretly wants to end the marriage, they are hopeful that the counselor will be there to take care of their spouse, so they feel less guilty when the truth comes out."MORE FROM DIVORCE360.COM
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