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Can Marriage Counseling Prevent Divorce?

Hope can certainly seem distant when you or your spouse are contemplating divorce. But there is some hope to prevent divorce through marriage counseling. If both of you are willing to try, you may find that through opened lines of communication and with the help of a therapist, your relationship still has a fighting chance.

To make the most of your marriage counseling, consider these quick tips:

  • Maintain an open mind about the potential outcome
  • Allow yourself to be vulnerable
  • Respect each other in the process
  • Lean on memories of how you were in the beginning of your relationship
  • Be willing to try what the therapist suggests
  • Prepare to listen to your partner and share your true thoughts and feelings
  • Start counseling as soon as possible

Although marriage counseling is never guaranteed to prevent divorce, visiting a therapist can help each of you make the best decision for your future. For many divorcing couples, marriage counseling also helps pave the way for an amicable and healthy relationship after the separation. Especially for separating or divorcing parents, open communication without resentment is critical for your child's well-being.

My spouse wants to leave. How can I prevent divorce in my marriage?

When only one partner wants divorce, the other is often left feeling surprised and overwhelmed by this decision. If only one of you wants to try saving the marriage, or if you are both too heated to start marriage counseling right away, there are some important things to consider as you each contemplate what to do next. These include:

  • Respect each others' decisions, even if it hurts. As individuals, each of you are entitled to your thoughts and feelings. No one can force a marriage to work.
  • Maintain emotional balance. Despite a wide range of emotions you will experience surrounding your marriage, lashing out is not productive. Try to stay calm, mature and kind despite the circumstances.
  • Avoid chasing your partner. If your partner wants out of the marriage, do not hold tightly to them. Instead, allow space for each of you to gain clarity. Chasing after them will only push them farther away.
  • Be introspective and enact change. Separation is a good time to take a fresh look at yourself and determine how you can improve in daily life. Holding a marriage together takes work on the part of both parties. But you can start working on yourself to improve your life for whatever relationship outcome follows.
  • Reestablish communication. After taking a break and when you are both ready, reestablish contact to determine whether you each want to work on your marriage or proceed toward divorce.
  • Set a new tone for the relationship. If you decide to try to repair the relationship, it is important to avoid threatening divorce in heated moments. Consider each others' feelings and actively work on improved communication through marriage counseling.

Despite closely following this advice, your spouse may still want a divorce. If that is the case, you should both consider working with a marriage counselor. A counselor can help you amicably and respectfully close this chapter of your lives, especially if you have children together.

Do we need marriage counseling?

Marriage counseling is never a sure path to prevent divorce. Just a few sessions will not bring spouses blissfully back together after one wants to break up. But marriage counseling can help prevent divorce over the long term, when both partners want to work on the relationship.

Reasons why you and your spouse should seek marriage counseling include:

  • Addressing marital problems on your own hasn't worked
  • You need a neutral space for open communication
  • Arguments are more common than productive or kind communication
  • You don't know how to bring up touchy subjects or what is really bothering you
  • You feel distant, angry or depressed
  • Physical and emotional intimacy is gone from the marriage
  • Your goals or values no longer align
  • Parenting together is not working out
  • Big changes in your lives are causing conflict

Marriage counseling may not help prevent divorce in some situations. These situations include:

  • The marriage is violent or abusive
  • There is infidelity in the relationship
  • One or both partners keep secrets from the other
  • Psychiatric conditions keep one partner from taking part in therapy
  • When one partner refuses to participate in marriage counseling or does not want to heal the relationship

How can I know if marriage counseling can help my relationship?

The best way to understand whether marriage counseling is right for you is to reach out to a licensed therapist at Greene Psychology Group. Our marriage counselors are available for in-person sessions in our Raleigh office or virtual therapy sessions for clients throughout North Carolina. Call Greene Psychology Group today at (919) 205-5339.

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