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Marital Counselling: Everything You Need To Know

Marriage Counseling

What Is Marital Counselling?

Marital counselling, which is also called ‘marriage counseling’ or ‘marital therapy’, is a form of counselling for married couples or couples who are engaged and are on their path of getting married.

There is difference between real and ideal life and sometimes striding for ideal life can lead to conflict. Most of the conflicts in marriages arise because either of the partner or both the partners strive to maintain an ideal marriage. In marriage counselling, the counsellor helps the couple understand each other’s behaviors and few aspects of their personality, and most importantly they guide the couple to accept their spouse as they are.

Types Of Marital Therapy

Marriage is a very important aspect in one’s life. Some couples struggle to share their doubts and concerns with their partner before getting married and some find themselves not being able to achieve or stay in a happy marriage. At such times, counselling comes into play.

Marriage counselling has 2 types. The goals in these 2 types of counselling could be very different. The two types are-

1. Pre-Marital Counselling

Pre-marital counselling can be opted by couples who are in a relationship and want to take their relationship to next level, i.e., marriage. In cases of arranged marriage, the couple may not have a chance to discuss their ideologies with each other or might find themselves at odd when they realise that their and their partner’s ideas are not compatible.  Here, the counsellor can help the couple to understand their compatibility, their beliefs and values and many other aspects which will help them to understand the partner in a better way.

2. Post-Marital Counselling:

As the name suggests, this type of counselling is for couples who are already married. There is no bar for years, which a couple is married for or type of marriage when it comes to post-marital therapy sessions. There are many different choices and ways of thinking between the married couple. Sometimes the couple may have problem in communicating their emotions or thoughts to their spouse, sometimes there can be differences in their parental styles or there can be intimacy issues. Such concerns are handled in post-marriage counselling sessions.

How Does Marital Therapy Work?

Marital therapy is no magic. The couple needs to put in their 100 percent for them to see the results. Most of the times, what we look at could be the upper layer of the problem. The cause of any issue can be deep rooted and uncovering that is what happens in a counselling session.

In marital counselling sessions, different activities and talk therapy help the couple to gain insight. Usually, the biggest issue in the life of a married couple is ‘misunderstandings’, and conflicts arise due to misunderstandings. In marital counselling sessions, the counsellor paraphrases whatever the individual says, so that the exact emotion or feeling reaches to their spouse, which then reduces the chances of misunderstandings.

What Is The Goal Of Marital Therapy?

The goal of marital therapy can vary from couple to couple depending on what issue each couple is facing. If the couple is facing intimacy issue, then finding its root cause and working towards creating a plan where the intimacy issue can be discussed with both the partners can be the main goal.

Some of the essential goals in marital therapy can be guiding the couple towards clear communication, making them empathetic towards each other’s needs, reducing the defences between them, discovering each other’s ‘self’, i.e., their individuality etc.

What Is The Success Rate Of Marital Therapy?

The current success rate of marital counselling is around 70-80 percent. All you need to do is take a step and believe in counselling and give in your 100%.

Why Do Couples Seek Marital Therapy?

Marriage could be like a roller coaster. It can take you higher and higher with full speed or take you down. It can also take you on a straight way without the ups and downs. All in all, there can be unpredictable times in a marriage. But when you start realising that you are continuously scared or anxious on that roller coaster or are at shouting at full pace while being on it, then it is time to seek help.

Marital counselling can be opted for many reasons such as:

  • Communication issue.
  • Intimacy issue.
  • Extended family conflicts.
  • Infidelity.
  • Separation or divorce.
  • Conflict regarding parental styles.
  • Failing to understand each other’s point of view.
  • Rigidity.
  • Decision making.
  • Anger management.

Marital Therapy Techniques:

There are different techniques used in these counselling sessions. The therapist decides which techniques would be useful for the couple depending on the concerns they are facing.  Here is a glimpse of some techniques which might interest you-

1. Emotionally Focused Therapy

Here, the aim of the counsellor is to make the couple talk about their feelings and make them understand their underlying emotions behind those thoughts and feelings and to convey it to their partner.

2. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

The core of this therapy is to make one understand how thoughts influences one’s behavior. This helps the individual understand how their thoughts control their actions and how this must happen with their spouse too. Here, the therapist focuses on thought reversal.

3. Imago Relationship Therapy

The theory behind this therapy is that we project our concept of love, that we developed in our childhood, onto our partners. The issues can be rooted in that area of life and that is where the counsellor nudges and guides the individual to gain insight which can lead to resolving the issues.

4. Solution-Focused Therapy

At times, the couple is so focused on their problems, that however simple the solution is, they are unable to reach to that solution. In such cases, solution-focused therapy works amazingly. Instead of spending time on finding the root cause, the counsellor directly works on guiding the couples to find the solution to their issues.

5. Insight-Gaining Therapy

Insight means deep understanding of someone or something. It is a ‘Eureka’ or ‘Aha!’ moment for the couple when a counsellor tries to provide insight to their issue and then they try to connect dots.

6. Positive Psychology Technique

This technique can be beautifully applied on couples who feel they have lost the spark in their relationship. This technique helps them to remember all great characteristics in their marriage, reminisce their adventurous days and recreate it all over again!

Benefits of Marital Therapy

Marital therapy is not only for the couples who are having issues in their marriage, but it can also be beneficial for couples who want to enrich their married life or want to ensure that they are, indeed, in a happy marriage.

It is said that you cannot change a person’s behavior, but what you can do is implement change in your behavior or thoughts. Similarly, if you are open to implement the changes, without being rigid, that you feel are necessary after gaining insight from the counselling sessions then you can see immense benefits of counselling.

Few of the most important benefits that the couple can get after or during the marital counselling sessions are:

  • Transparency in discussing any issue.
  • Communicating clearly.
  • Understanding each other better.
  • Reaching to a decision collectively.
  • Helps in achieving personal growth.

Individuality is most important in one’s life. But most of the times, we are recognized by the roles we play. In marriage too, the individual is looked as only wife or as only husband. Here the individuality of a person might get lost which could lead to varied issues in the marriage. Marital counsellor helps the couple to understand that sometime they just need to understand that their partner is not just their wife or husband, but they are an individual too and understanding that is the most essential benefit of marital counselling.

Books On Marriage And Marital Therapy

Well, the marital journey can be a bit bumpy. And why shouldn’t it be? Two individuals with different ideologies, personalities come together and decide to spend their entire lives with each other. At such times, ups and downs are given. But even though the journey is bumpy, it can be an adventurous one!

Everybody’s experience of their marriage is different. But given the gender roles, husbands can easily sympathise with their clan of ‘husbands’, and wives can understand fellow wives’ concerns. To stir some excitement and interesting facts on marriage and marital therapy, we have rounded up 5 books for you on the same topic. Here you go,

1. Eight Dates (by Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman and Dr. John Gottman.)

2. Married Roommates (by Allen Wagner and Talia Wagner.)

3. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (by John M. Gottman and Nan Silver.)

4. Intimacy & Desire (by David Schnarch.)

5. 47 Little Love Boosters For a Happy Marriage (by Marko Petkovic.)

When To Seek Marriage Counselling?

Every couple fights. But when the fight turns into a war or a cold-war between the couple, then they can take a step forward and consider marital counselling. The couple need not wait till the volcano bursts, they can start the counselling when they start acknowledging the triggers. The couple can seek counselling when they feel they have grown apart, in cases of infidelity, or when they are going through a big transition etc.

The couple need not seek counselling only in cases of severe issues, they can opt for it when they feel that they are losing spark in their marital life or when they want to ensure a happy marriage.

It is mandatory to seek counselling in cases of divorce. The procedure in such cases can be different.

“A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.” – Dave Meurer. Sometimes, thriving for perfection can lead to distress and thriving for happiness can lead to wellbeing. Know which path is your marriage going on!

Looking for Marriage Counselor?

If you are looking to get into marital counselling, then we have made your search easy! Jump onto-to find the best marriage counsellor in the field and book your session to get your marital journey on the path of happiness!

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Shriya Rajendra Khalate

MA Clinical Psychology, Counselor, Co-founder at Unico

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