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Love & Relationships

Does Couples Therapy Work? Know When To Get Help For Your Marriage Issues

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Couples with a deteriorating marriage are often unaware that couples therapy can be a preventative measure instead of a last-ditch effort. 

Couples therapy can be beneficial in many situations, and it’s important to remember that you don’t have to wait until your marriage is falling apart before considering counseling. 

But when your marriage is falling apart, counseling isn't always the miracle solution that some people think it is. Even though prayer can help us make sense of a situation, it’s not always the best tool when dealing with your spouse. 

In this article, we’ll discuss what couples therapy can solve and how to make the most of it.

Can couples therapy work?

First off, let’s discuss the main differences between couples counseling and individual counseling. 

The goal of individual therapy is to provide an interpersonal relationship between the therapist and the person. And there are many characteristics of a therapeutic relationship, depending on the therapist's approach. 

A treatment program usually entails setting up an accepting atmosphere and employing techniques that reduce symptoms or promote personal growth. During self-reflection, the individual examines their emotional and behavioral responses to certain stimuli.

Couples therapy, on the other hand, is usually focused on improving communication patterns between the couple. The therapist in couple's therapy enters the couple's relationship more directly than for individual therapy. 

The couple’s interactions are analyzed and evaluated by the therapist, who then offers suggestions for improvement. Because both partners are invited to co-create the change process, it's typically regarded as being more intensive than individual therapy.

A woman with her head on another person's shoulder

Regardless of how long you've been together, every marriage has problems. Relationship problems can create a lot of pain and hurt. Those wounds can sting deeply. But couples therapy can get you one step closer to relationship satisfaction. 

At the beginning of your first session, your couple’s therapist or counselor must get to know you as an individual before diving into the issues between you and your spouse. You can be asked anything from how you met to what your childhood was like.

Your first few therapy sessions can sometimes be discouraging. Still, according to a survey done by American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, 80% said that couples counseling had a positive impact on their marriage and mental health. 

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Christian marriage counseling

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A Christian marriage counselor approaches life from the perspective of Scripture. 

It’s important for a Christian marriage and family therapist to know God’s word and draw on their relationship with God to fall in line with their clients’ beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors. 

The Christian counselor may use skills and concepts similar to clinical psychologists, but they will base their approach on biblical knowledge.

couple reading a Bible

While there are only a few instances in the Bible that touch on divorce, it doesn’t condemn it outright. In Matthew 19:9, Jesus says, “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife except for sexual immorality, and marries another commits adultery.”

Separation and divorce can be justified for a variety of reasons. In a Christian home, behaviors that are harmful, destructive, and ungodly shouldn't be encouraged or tolerated.

A Christian counselor will encourage you to do the hard work of healing your marriage, even if it means separating for a while. Aside from dangerous or toxic situations, many Christians consider divorce to be a last resort

Marriage therapy exercises

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All married couples have good days and bad days. But, when hurt feelings get in the way, it can be hard to stay focused on what truly matters. To help you and your spouse form a healthy relationship, here are a few exercises you can do together. 

Don’t take each other for granted

“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3).

During a couple's initial romantic courtship, it often feels like they cannot stand to be apart for long periods. After a couple is married, they become so preoccupied with their careers, children, hobbies, and other activities that the marriage relationship can suffer.

When this happens, it’s common for a couple to drift apart slowly. Although open conflict sometimes isn't much of a concern, there's an absence of spark.

That’s why it’s important to make each other a priority by having date nights, talking openly and honestly about your feelings, or simply doing something nice every now and then. Putting each other first in your relationship makes you both feel valued and loved. 

Pray together

“What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:9).

Marriage takes grace. The only way we can endure in love is through God's word and His spirit. The power to love long-term can't be obtained through self-sufficiency. As Jesus said in John 15, as long as we remain in Him, we'll bear much fruit, but without Him, nothing is possible.

As Scripture constantly reminds us of God's grace toward us, we're motivated to extend grace to others. That includes our spouses. Walking in the Spirit means we aren't carrying out the destructive actions of the flesh but instead bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit. 

The first step to addressing problems in your marriage is to make sure that you and your spouse are on the same page with God. Prayer together can be a wonderful way to maintain your relationship with God, as well as strengthen your marriage. 

Have a plan to resolve conflict

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

Couples will have arguments during which hurtful things will be said. As time passes, the disagreements mellow out, and life goes on as usual. 

Nevertheless, if the conflict is never properly resolved, it can resurface. After a few years, their marriage is dragged down by pain and scarring that never heals. 

In the Bible, Paul vividly warns the Ephesians of the danger lurking behind unresolved conflicts.

When you aren't in the midst of an argument, you need to discuss how to handle conflict when both of you are in calm states of mind. It's also crucial to always resolve conflicts during arguments and not later. When this happens, there's no resolution, and you're left fuming.

Create a plan ahead of time that will help you handle the situation. Make sure you approach your spouse at the proper time and in the right manner. If the person is too annoyed or worn out, choose a time when they aren't distracted or stressed.

As soon as you feel yourself getting ready to yell, tell your partner you need a moment to calm down and take a deep breath. If you sense your spouse getting angry, keep a calm and collected voice. Respect is the main key to resolving conflict. 

There are also plenty of books and information by mental health professionals such as Dr. John Gottman, Dr. Sue Johnson, and Harville Hendrix, which all talk about relationship therapy and wellness practices that you can go over together.  

God loves us no matter what

A Christian counselor can be of great assistance to you, regardless of whether you have relationship problems or not. 

A Christian counselor will guarantee that you'll be supported in your Christian values through relationship counseling based on God's will. As you seek to lead a more fulfilling and God-honoring marriage, Christian marital therapy will be compassionate when you face difficulties.

For more on marriage, download the app in the iOS App Store or Google Play.

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