Is Marriage Counseling Really Worth It?
Yes—marriage counseling (or couples therapy) is worth it. It’s an opportunity to come together with your partner, away from the hustle and bustle of life, and solely focus on each other. Many couples find their relationship feels a bit fresher, more intimate and connected, and stronger after marriage counseling. Some even say, “it’s the best it’s ever been!”
If you’re asking the “Is it worth it?” question, you might also have a few “marriage counseling success rate” or “does marriage counseling work statistics” searches in your web browser history. And we don’t blame you—it can be helpful to hear what others have experienced. However, we have found at Well Marriage Center that every relationship is incredibly different and intricate, and these statistics should not be taken to heart for your own marriage.
Still, it’s smart to research marriage counseling before embarking on the journey. This will help you and your partner know what to expect and take full advantage of the many benefits. So let’s talk marriage counseling and why exactly it’s worth your time and energy.
Can a Marriage Be Saved Without Counseling?
Some marriages can certainly be saved without counseling—but involving a skilled marriage therapist can definitely help! Although when more challenging and painful issues are present, couples therapy might be the only answer to saving a marriage. This is because counseling offers many benefits that couples cannot take advantage of on their own, such as:
- An Unbiased Third Party – A trained therapist will listen to all sides of a discussion and objectively tell each party what they are hearing and observing. This professional, outsider perspective will help you peel back the layers of what your partner is thinking and feeling in new ways you may not have considered before. Stepping outside of your own thoughts and emotions to put yourself in your partner’s shoes is a relationship roadblock for many couples.
- Accountability – Using a marriage counselor will help keep you and your partner accountable to working toward a healthier, happier marriage through regular sessions and follow-ups. There never seems to be a “right” time to talk about relationship problems—the combination of honesty and vulnerability makes many of us shy away from these difficult discussions.
- Expert Relationship Insight – A counselor is a licensed and trained professional to help in a variety of individual situations. Well Marriage Center therapists, for example, have taken many extra steps to specialize in couples therapy and relationship science. When you choose to work with a licensed Well Marriage Center specialist, you get access to a vast wealth of knowledge and expertise specially tailored for relationships.
Can Marriage Counseling Make Things Worse?
The answer here, unfortunately, is yes. When a couple sits with a licensed therapist who is well-meaning but not deeply trained in relationship science—that therapist can sometimes make things worse. They’re more likely to stay at the surface level or run out of ideas, leaving the couple feeling frustrated and hopeless.
However, this doesn’t happen at Well Marriage Center. We specialize in relationship science—and that’s all we do! Our unique training allows us to dig deep and actively improve your relationship over the course of your sessions.
Another issue some couples encounter in couples therapy is “neutral” counseling. This means the counselor is neutral as to whether or not the counseling leads to separation or staying together. Depending on the circumstances, marriage-neutral counselors may even encourage a couple to separate if they feel the relationship isn’t worth saving. Neutral marriage counseling gives couples therapy a bad reputation and may lead to feelings of discouragement and the belief that marriage counseling will only ruin your relationship.
This is why we practice “pro-relationship” counseling at Well Marriage Center. A pro-relationship counselor will always advocate for saving, healing, and restoring your relationship. Our team is committed to avoiding divorce or separation whenever possible. And in our 30+ years of experience, we’ve seen this method work time and time again—even for couples who felt there was no hope for their marriage.
What Type of Therapist Is Best for Marriage Counseling?
To avoid counseling that could make your relationship worse, it is vital to choose the right therapist. Here are some tips to keep in mind when researching marriage counselors:
- Go for experience. Someone who’s been working as a counselor for 10+ years is going to have plenty of clinical experience to back their advice and problem solving. They will have had time to nail down the best techniques for all of the common marriage problems like affairs, communication breakdowns, parenting styles, and beyond. Plus, they are required to meet continuing education requirements each year, meaning they are always learning new things to keep a fresh perspective.
- Check your therapist’s credentials. Look for an “About Me” page on their website or contact their office to inquire about their background. They should clearly list their credential abbreviations after their name, like LCPC (Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor) or LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker). If you want to ensure their licensure is in good standing, most states will have a licensure search website so you can verify that someone’s license status is “active.” For example, here’s Maryland’s State Board Of Professional Counselors & Therapists licensure verification page, where you can search for LCPCs by last name.
- If something seems off, don’t hesitate to switch counselors. You aren’t committed to sticking with the first therapist you try—or any therapist for that matter. For example, if you are nonreligious but your therapist suggests religious-based coping mechanisms—that’s a huge red flag. Counselors should always respect your beliefs even if they do not share them. Some other warning signs to look out for include the therapist breaking confidentiality, judging you, failing to listen, encouraging placing blame on others, etc.
- Consider using a “strengths-based” marriage counselor. This is a more positive approach to couples therapy that focuses on determining each party’s relational strengths and using that knowledge to work through destructive and toxic behaviors. One study on therapist use of client strengths found that “Therapists described strength work as having many advantages. It was perceived as building trust in the therapeutic relationship, motivating clients and instilling hope, and demonstrating the therapist’s hope for and belief in the client.” Our therapists at the Well Marriage Center would agree, as we have found this approach reduces the time you are in therapy and helps you navigate difficulties more gently and successfully.
Have More Couples Therapy Questions? Well Marriage Center Has the Answers!
If you and your partner are ready and willing to try new things to break old patterns, then marriage counseling has the potential to transform your relationship. We encourage those looking into marriage counseling to privately explore our website to learn more about the process and what to expect. This is an emotional and extremely personal journey, so do all that you can to get comfortable with the idea before jumping in.
Once you’re ready (or even if you still have some questions), get in touch with us! With Well Marriage Center, you’ll get:
- A team devoted to relationship sciences and support
- Pro-relationship therapists
- Inclusivity of any kind of relationship
- Virtual or in-person session options
- Fully employed and licensed therapists (instead of contractors)
- A thorough matching process to put the right therapist with each client
If you’re ready to begin, start by filling out our short intake form and setting up a consultation with our Intake Coordinator, Melinda. She will walk you through the process and ensure you are connected with the best counselor for your needs.
Relationships are hard work! We would love to guide you through the challenges and help you find your way back to one another.