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What Are the Goals of Marriage Counseling?

author image Debby Mayne
Debby Mayne started writing professionally in 1992. Her work has appeared in regional parenting magazines and she has been managing editor of the magazine, "Coping with Cancer." She was also fashion product information writer for HSN. During college, Mayne worked as an instructor at a fitness center. She holds a Bachelor of Science in health, PE and recreation from the University of Southern Mississippi.
What Are the Goals of Marriage Counseling?
Couple with their therapist. Photo Credit Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images


Marriage can be quite stressful, and just as the reasons for the stress can vary, so can the goals of counseling. Unmet expectations can become the seeds that grow into full-blown dissatisfaction, creating a wedge between husband and wife. Marriage counseling serves to repair these rifts and help couples reinvigorate their marriages.

Learn To Communicate

Some couples start out communicating with each other, but eventually get pulled apart by the stress of everyday life. Children, jobs, and finances may zap the energy of both or either partner, so sometimes they let communication with the spouse slide. Other couples may never have learned to communicate in a constructive manner. Learning how to effectively communicate on a regular basis is an important goal in marriage counseling.

Effectively Disagree

Couples often allow their marriage to get on very shaky ground after intense disagreements and arguments, according to Jon Meyerson in “Success with Couples Therapy—A Step-by-Step Approach” on Social Work Today. While it isn’t necessary for married people to agree on everything, they need to learn to voice their opinions while respecting what the other person has to say. This involves setting boundaries for disagreements, so both partners feel safe to express their views.

Uncover Larger Issues

Sometimes a larger issue is the root of the married couple’s problems. A professionally-trained counselor should have the tools to help uncover and help the couple deal with problems that appear too big to overcome. These may be problems from the past, such as fear of abandonment, or current issues, like infidelity.

Changing Bad Habits and Patterns

As the couple drifts through the first part of marriage, bad habits may form and grow. This could be a variety of issues, from not communicating feelings to harping on insignificant things. Since couples often don’t see what they’re doing, a qualified therapist my spot the problem and help the couple address it in a controlled environment.

Building or Rebuilding the Trust

The marriage counselor will give the couple tools to start building or rebuilding trust in the relationship. This will generally involve baby steps in the beginning, such as following through with small promises like doing what you said you’d do, according to a 2013 University of California article. As the counseling sessions progress, the therapist may add additional methods of learning to trust.

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