What is marriage counseling?

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Marriage and relationships take lots of work. When a couple has a problem, they may wonder whether marriage therapy or couples counseling could help.

 

Counseling usually includes talk therapy. This means you talk to a professional counselor about your issues. But, therapy isn’t just about talking. Your counselor may help one or both partners address mental health problems that can interfere with the relationship. For example, issues such as depression or anxiety may need treatment. This can go hand-in-hand with the couples counseling.

 

When a couple goes to counseling, they can get “tools” to use in daily life that help them with their communications. For instance, therapy can give you new ways to look at challenges or problems. This can help you address issues before they become too big to handle. You may also learn ways to talk to each other so you can work out arguments in positive and constructive ways.

 

However, if the marriage involves physical or emotional abuse, couples counseling is not going to be the answer. Instead, the person who is abusing their partner should seek treatment for their problems. The victim of abuse should speak privately with their doctor about how they can get away from the abuse.

 

Help for resolving arguments

If you need to talk something out with your spouse, try these tips:

•  Listen first. Rather than tell your side, calmly listen to what your partner has to say. When he or she is done, then take your turn to speak.

•  Don’t interrupt, and don’t yell.

•  Be honest, but don’t insult. Talk about the behavior or incident that upset you. For instance: “When you did X, I felt like you didn’t care about my feelings.” Avoid name-calling.

 

Sources: American Academy of Family Physicians, National Domestic Violence Hotline

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.

 

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