Average Length of Marriage Counseling

There’s no sugar-coating it—successful relationships sometimes require genuinely hard work. In some cases, adding the pressures of married life (not to mention kids, a lost job, family tragedy, and so on) to the mix can create new challenges for an otherwise healthy-enough seeming couple, or exacerbate those that already exist. The good news is that help is available in the form of marriage counseling. But how do you know if marriage counseling is really worth it? How much time and effort does the process require? And can you expect to find a better, healthier relationship on the other side, or is there a chance you’ll find yourselves just spinning your wheels without seeing real progress?

At Well Marriage Center, we understand these anxieties and want to help couples of all types to rediscover the joys of a healthy relationship. We’ve put this particular blog together to help you answer some of the most common questions we hear from couples considering counseling who want to make sure they get their money’s worth and, more importantly, improve their relationships. 

In this piece, we’ll not only answer the question of how long marriage counseling tends to take—we’ll also provide you with some pointers to ensure that if you commit to counseling you’ll have a positive and productive experience.

How Do You Know When It’s Time for Couples Counseling?

While every relationship is as unique as the two individuals themselves, it’s worth knowing the types of signs that your marriage or relationship could benefit from counseling. There are many, many factors that can create relationship problems, but here are a few of the most common, foundational signs that your relationship might be improved through counseling:

  • Communication is breaking down (or has been broken for a while): A huge subset of marriage problems center around issues related to communication. When couples lose the ability to consistently engage in open, honest communication, it can exacerbate existing issues, create new issues, or both. A major component of marriage counseling is the re-opening of communication channels and the development of healthier communication methods. 
  • You’ve lost that loving feeling: For many couples, changes to how they demonstrate affection and cultivate intimacy can signal one or more issues. For example, perhaps one partner withholds affection or allows resentment to fester. Maybe it’s gotten to the point that one or more partners is considering infidelity as a means of fulfilling their needs for intimacy and security. Even at this stage, counseling can help repair relationships.
  • Trust has eroded: Once one partner begins to lose trust in the other—whether due to infidelity or other factors—it can become a slippery slope toward conflict and divorce. Negative feelings can quickly snowball, especially when they’re not properly explored, expressed, and worked through. In these situations, a marriage counselor can help reset the dynamic nature of a partnership, build new foundations for communication and trust, and lay the groundwork for a better, happier relationship.

When Do Most Couples Consider Marriage Counseling?

All too often, couples begin marriage counseling weeks, months, or even years after problems begin to emerge within the relationship. This is perfectly understandable, as it can be difficult to know (in the present) whether relationship issues are serious or not. It can also be difficult from an emotional standpoint to acknowledge that there are problems in the relationship. Finally, especially for those who have never experienced any form of professional counseling before, it can be an intimidating prospect. The time component can seem overwhelming, as can the anxiety of delving into deeply personal, emotional matters. This is where humanity’s well-documented “fear of the unknown” comes into play, as well. 

All of that being said, when it really comes down to it, according to the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, most couples aren’t exactly prompt in seeking out counseling at the first signs of marital issues. In fact, most couples wait two years from the onset of a problem. That’s two years for issues to manifest even more deeply, and for the relationship to potentially become even more damaged. The good news is, there’s no time like the present to take the first step in healing the relationship by connecting with a marriage counselor. 

Should Every Couple Go To Therapy?

No, we don’t believe every couple necessarily needs therapy—but we also don’t necessarily think it could hurt. However, we understand that there’s a certain stigma around couples therapy and marriage counseling when private thoughts question whether the fact that you’re considering therapy means your relationship has failed. It doesn’t! 

Even couples—including married couples—who would say their relationship is good (if not great) could potentially benefit from the communication and trust-building strategies that come with counseling. It’s also worth noting that Well Marriage Center also offers premarital counseling, which can help couples strengthen their relationship (prior to getting married) by establishing a solid foundation for communication and openness.

Is It Appropriate To Undergo Marriage Counseling When You Want a Divorce?

It’s absolutely appropriate! Just because one or both of you might be considering divorce, it doesn’t mean the marriage is a lost cause. If both parties are open to reconciliation and willing to put in the work, marriage counseling can be a relationship-saver, especially with a pro-relationship counseling approach (like Well Marriage Center’s).

How Long Should Marriage Counseling Last?

While many variables may impact how long a specific couple spends with their marriage counselor, you can generally expect, on average, anywhere from 12 to 25 counseling sessions. These will normally start off with a discovery-based focus, with the counselor asking baseline-type questions to better understand the relationship’s strengths and weaknesses. From there, individual sessions can be more tactical, working through specific problems and developing patterns for better relationship-building.  

What Is the Average Length of Counseling Sessions, and How Frequently Do They Occur?

Counseling sessions typically last for around 50 minutes, and they’re often scheduled on a weekly basis to start and eventually move to twice a month and then just once a month. This frequency allows us to spread out the course of counseling (keeping it more affordable) and stay with you longer, anywhere from 4 to 10 months. A counselor will often work with you to determine a cadence that will fit the participants’ schedules.

What Percentage of Marriages Survive After Counseling?

If you’re one of the many people or couples asking yourself questions like “Does marriage counseling work?” and “Is marriage counseling worth it?” then this section’s for you. 

If you’re particularly results-driven, you’re probably wondering, “What percentage of marriages survive after counseling?” Fortunately, counseling does work a majority of the time. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, 90% of counseling clients report an improvement in their emotional health after receiving treatment. More specific to the marriage counseling success rate, over 75% of marital or family therapy clients report an improvement in their relationship as a result of counseling.

What Factors Impact the Length of Counseling?

For many people considering counseling, the time component is just one piece of the puzzle. In reality, several distinct factors impact how long a particular couple may need to attend marriage counseling. Of these, one of the most important is how well the counselor and participants establish rapport and trust. When a trusting bond is established early on, individual sessions can focus on specific, relevant topics, prioritized by importance. With that in mind, then, let’s next explore a few variables related to both the counselor and the participants. 

What To Look for in a Marriage Counselor

Signs of a Good Couples Therapist

A good couples therapist or marriage counselor is an advocate for repairing and strengthening relationships (as opposed to throwing in the towel). At Well Marriage Center, our counselors practice what’s called pro-relationship marriage counseling (as opposed to marriage-neutral counseling). This means our number one goal is to help couples stay together. This approach helps alleviate some of the anxiety couples might feel toward counseling, where they fear that counseling might make the relationship worse—if not lead to divorce. You can learn more about our Wellness Model here. 

Additional signs of a good couples therapist or marriage counselor include:

  • A specialization (supported by specific training) in relationships and marriages
  • An approach that focuses on couples succeeding and staying together
  • Experience working with different types of marital problems
  • A communication style that is relatable and builds trust

Signs of a Bad Marriage Counselor

To be effective in their work, a marriage counselor needs to be able to build trust with their clients, ask probing questions, listen carefully, and get to the root of their problems. In other words, just like in a marriage, communication is key to the counselor-participant relationship. Without open communication, the possibility of positive outcomes greatly decreases. 

Additional signs of a bad, or ineffective, couples therapist or marriage counselor include:

  • An over-reliance of jargon, rather than personalized communication
  • Jumping to premature, general-type conclusions or making recommendations before hearing the whole story of each participant’s experiences
  • A lack of concrete, actionable information/perspectives
  • A lack of demonstrable progress or defined goals after multiple sessions

Ultimately, even the most highly-qualified and well-intentioned marriage counselor is going to struggle to make headway if one or more of the participants is unwilling or unable to participate constructively. To improve the chances of success, then, it’s also important that you’ve prepared your heart and mind for the difficult but important work of strengthening the relationship. 

How To Prepare for Couples Counseling

As with any type of therapy or counseling, what you bring to the process certainly impacts what you’ll get out of it. Even the best marriage counselor can’t help an individual (or couple) who is unwilling to open their heart and mind to be present and engage with the process. If even one partner closes off or becomes antagonistic, it can wreck the process (and even the marriage). So, how should you prepare for marriage counseling,  to maximize the time? Here’s a brief overview of what to know before going to couples therapy, so you can make the most of the opportunities it presents.

Get yourself mentally ready. It would be inappropriate for us to claim that marriage counseling is going to be a breeze. The truth is, an effective counselor is going to broach some difficult topics and ask some tough questions. Especially if you’ve never worked with a therapist or counselor before, this can be uncomfortable and intimidating. This is why it’s important to mentally prepare, not just for an individual session but for the overall, ongoing counseling experience as well. 

Sort out your thoughts and feelings. For many married couples who take the step to work with a marriage counselor, it can feel overwhelming to get your thoughts together. It’s also very normal for participants to think about their relationship outside the confines of their counseling sessions. To ensure that nothing too important slips through the cracks, a counselor might recommend personal journaling throughout the week, so you can come to the next session with specific things you want to ask or talk about, new insights or revelations, and so on.

Familiarize yourself with the counselor’s approach. As you start to learn more about your counselor’s general approach, you can better anticipate what to expect in future sessions. This should not only reduce anxiety, but help make the most of your time with the therapist or counselor as well.

Have realistic expectations. Nothing is necessarily guaranteed in this life, so while we want clients to be optimistic about counseling outcomes, we also know it’s best for you to expect growth and improvement, not an immediate, 180-degree turnaround. This is especially true for ongoing, persistent issues. It can be difficult work, but it can also be truly transformative. At Well Marriage Center, we’ve seen couples who thought all hope was lost find their way back to one another.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. All too often, marriage counseling participants feel like the counselor is the one who should be asking all the questions. This simply isn’t the case. While you obviously shouldn’t interrupt the counselor or disrupt the flow of the conversation with random questions that cross your mind, you should certainly ask any questions that might help you to better engage with and understand the counseling approach.

When your partner shares, keep an open mind/heart—and assume positive intent. Just as important as it is to begin the counseling process with an open mind, you should also make sure to assume the best possible intention(s) of your partner and counselor, too. This means, for example, taking your partner’s contributions at face value—assuming that they, like you, are there to put in the work and save the marriage.

What Makes Well Marriage Center’s Pro-Relationship  Counseling Work So Well?

At Well Marriage Center, we provide a strengths-based, pro-relationship approach to counseling. This means getting to know our clients and their relationships, exploring root issues, developing effective communication, and providing personalized counseling recommendations. 

It all begins with the understanding that no two couples are the same. That’s why our process builds its foundation on a relationship’s strengths and works to develop those strengths into better, healthier relationships. Here’s how our process works:

  • First, you’ll schedule an initial appointment with one of our counselors. Rather than asking vague questions like “What seems to be the problem today?”, we instead start with a structured assessment to identify strengths and weaknesses in the relationship. This, then, provides the foundation for further sessions, in which identified strengths can be further developed into the fabric of the relationship.
  • Next, our team will create a customized plan around your goals. Leveraging our experience working with over 12,000 couples, we focus on relationship science. Based on what’s working in the relationship—and what you want to improve—we’re uniquely trained to adjust and improve the course of counseling as needed.
  • Finally, we’ll work together to establish specific relationship objectives and develop an action plan. This might mean identifying and then working through how to interrupt toxic cycles a relationship might be stuck in, or remedy an uneven dynamic. Or, it might mean recapturing—and then maintaining—the relationship’s original spark. It could also mean digging deeply into specific traumas that might be impacting the quality of the relationship. 

If you’re ready to start the process of finding your way back to each other, the first step’s easy. You’ll simply need to fill out our short Intake Form, and then set up an appointment with Melinda, our Intake Coordinator. She’ll help to answer any questions you have and connect you with a therapist in your area who is available to work with you.  


How Long Do Couples Usually Go to Counseling?

Challenging issues  in a relationship can be tough to work through on your own. And research tells us that it takes over two and a half years before couples attempt to address their concerns through marriage counseling. But is counseling really worth it? The Journal of Marital and Family Therapy estimates that the marriage counseling success rate is about 70% and, in some instances, the longer you attend counseling, the higher your chances of success. Of course, the average length of marriage counseling is different for every couple, but ultimately you should expect 10 – 25 sessions for success. Each counseling plan should be tailored to your specific needs. 

At Well Marriage Center, we believe that creating a customized plan around your goals can help you and your significant other discover a renewed, more mature, intimacy and partnership. In this blog, we’re going to talk about marriage counseling (also known as couples therapy) and how long you should expect your sessions to last. 

How Long Does Couples Therapy Take to Work?

Couples therapy lasts between 10 and 25 sessions on average. A typical therapy plan will most likely have you attend more frequently at the beginning of your counseling (around once a week) and lessen over time (to around once a month). Depending on your progress, the number of sessions will be determined by your therapist. After deciding what would be beneficial for you as a couple and what your end goals are, counseling could last up to a  few years to complete successfully. Don’t let this be daunting, however. Healing and growing  your marriage takes commitment, but has proven successful for over 12,000 couples with Well Marriage CenterOne of the biggest predictors of marriage counseling success is the experience of your therapist, and our therapists have devoted their careers to helping couples like you.

To make the most of your time, you should follow these actions to increase the likelihood of success:

  1. Set personal goals to: 
  • Address what you’re bringing to the table
  • How they impact your relationship
  • What steps you can take to acknowledge your shortcomings
  • Ways to change your behaviors. 

Marriage counseling is not  a place to point fingers at your partner. Remember that they will be taking the same steps as you.Reliving blame can perpetuate toxic cycles instead of finding a way forward.

  1. Find vulnerability in the safe space so you can be open and honest about how you’re feeling. Holding back feelings of anger, annoyance, resentment, helplessness, and embarrassment helps no one—especially yourself. Telling your partner how you feel might open new doors for stronger communication.
  2. Give the benefit of the doubt and don’t assume your partner is being insincere or dishonest. Part of accepting and acknowledging this is recognizing your intentions and insecurities. 
  3. Understand that partnership isn’t making each other whole. Be a “whole” person independent of your significant other. Relying on your partner to meet all of your needs for happiness puts a lot of pressure on them, which can lead to anger and resentment, rather than love and support.
  4. Put in the time and effort your partnership requires. Rather than counting down the sessions, go into each one with an open mind and willingness to participate. You won’t find success without putting in the work.

When it comes to marriage counseling and what to expect, Well Marriage Center likes to address the following first: 

  • interrupt toxic cycles you may be stuck in (arguments, high conflict, blame game, criticisms)
  • generate a little momentum and spark (disconnected, sexless couples, cold relationships)
  • address trauma that your relationship may be experiencing (infidelity, loss, old or new trauma)

Making progress with these goals are significant signs marriage counseling is working. Seeing improvement is great! Depending on your goals as a couple and as individuals, you may work out a longer plan with your therapist.  You should  expect to attend all of the sessions laid out in your initial settings as part of your larger plan to really introduce and implement new techniques in your relationship and make sure they stick.

Is Couples Counseling a Bad Thing?

Absolutely not! Attending counseling does not mean your partnership has failed, it means you want it to succeed. Couples counseling is an important solution to working through issues with your partner. While we would all like to avoid confronting the faults in our relationship, marriage counseling can be a beneficial and positive experience. Not only that, but investing in couples counseling is important to show you’re committed to making the relationship work. A good therapist will make you feel comfortable as a couple with a safe space to voice your feelings and guide you through any rough patches you might encounter. Counseling can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.

It’s also important to note that therapy can still be a resource after the initial reasons for visiting are resolved. After therapy, many couples work yearly visits with their therapist into their long term plans to promote commitment, accountability, and communication. Going to therapy while the relationship is in a good place can be beneficial too, as it lays positive groundwork for the future. As part of our mission to help all couples build a better future together, Well Marriage Center even offers therapeutic premarital and dating services for those who are in committed relationships regardless of their legal status.

Marriage Counseling Built for You

At Well Marriage Center, we know marriage counseling actually works and we have the numbers to prove it! Even in situations when the couple believed it would be too late or the relationship was too damaged, we’ve seen therapy turn it around in thousands of our clients. We make time for you to work through your strengths and weaknesses as a couple so we can learn about you and help us develop a plan specifically for you. 

If you’re ready to take the next steps for your marriage, visit our website. You can get started by filling out our intake form and getting in contact with our intake coordinator, Melinda. 


How Long Does Marriage Counseling Take?

How much time would you be willing to spend a week to get a happier, healthier, more enriching relationship with your spouse or partner? Marriage counseling sessions typically take around 50 minutes per session, with the  average length of marriage counseling  totaling 12-25 conversations over the course of a few months. The return on this time can be transformative and Well Marriage Center is here to answer all your questions about the timing and length of marriage counseling. Here’s what you need to know!

But First…Couples Therapy vs Marriage Counseling

Before we dig into how long marriage counseling takes, we want to clarify that we do not see a difference between couples therapy and marriage counseling. We create a safe space for every relationship to be built, healed, or restored, regardless of if there is a legal marriage or a different style of commitment. Whether you call it marriage counseling, couples therapy, or some other combination of terms, the goals of reducing conflict, restoring intimacy and trust, and developing better communication are the same. Whatever type of committed relationship you are in, our team has dedicated their careers to helping couples build a better foundation for the future. 

When To Go To Couples Therapy

When a relationship is already going through challenges, setting aside time each week for couples therapy can feel like a big ask. Often, couples choose to look in the other direction and hope the phase will pass instead of seeking targeted help for long-term problems. When these issues reach a breaking point,  often the best option is couples therapy. In fact, if you’re thinking you might need therapy, it might be time to schedule an initial session. But when should you put it on the calendar? It’s important to choose a time that can regularly work for you, your partner, and your mutual schedules. If you can schedule a recurring appointment for the same time and weekday, then nurturing your relationship starts to become a healthy part of your routine more naturally. 

How Often Should You Go To Couples Therapy?

At Well Marriage Center, we recommend our couples start with weekly therapy sessions. This allows participants to start forming better habits and addressing issues in an environment of supportive accountability. After the first few sessions have laid a foundation for progress and determined your end goals as a couple, you may agree to start meeting bi-monthly, and eventually once a month or even less. This gradual decline in the number of sessions you need to attend is supported by better daily experiences in the relationship as the lessons from therapy take root and help you grow together in the right direction. However, every couple is different. Some may decide to further benefit from prolonged therapy  to truly heal and resolve relationship traumas. You should go to couples therapy for as long as it feels supportive and beneficial towards your relationship goals. 

How Long Does Couples Therapy Take To Work?

Couples generally attend between 12-25 sessions of therapy before they arrive at a place where they are satisfied with their growth. However, that doesn’t mean it takes 12 sessions for therapy to show any results. Week to week, you and your partner will be following techniques and activities in your daily life to reinforce what you have discussed with your therapist. As you grow and get more in tune through doing the work, the benefits will show up along the journey.

You’ll focus on identifying and honoring the strengths that still exist within your relationship, as well as set goals for communication, conflict resolution, and moving forward. Through these techniques, therapy can begin to reset negative or toxic patterns in your relationship from the first session onward. For some couples, these small, foundational changes may take longer to emerge because every relationship is unique. You can always talk to your therapist about your goals and timelines during a session. 

Some couples are concerned about how long marriage counseling takes to work in specific situations, like at the beginning of a marriage or when it is at risk of ending. Here are some more specific answers to common questions. 

Should You Go To Couples Therapy Before Marriage?

Investing in a pre-marriage therapy program is an excellent way to get your married life off to a strong start. Even though marriage is an exciting time of hope and planning for the future, it can also feel uncertain, overwhelming, and even confusing based on past events in the relationship. During our pre-marital program, you will meet with a Well Marriage Center therapist for as many sessions as you agree on. These conversations will be dedicated to your personal histories and dating story, any current concerns about the relationship, and the goals and plans you have set for the future. 

One thing that makes our pre-marital program unique is that we meet twice again after you are married, once around the six-month point and once around your one-year anniversary. This establishes a few neutral touchpoints for you and your new spouse to check in around goals and discuss anything new that has arisen after the knot is tied. 

Does Marriage Counseling Work After Separation

Yes, marriage counseling can work for both the couple and an individual after separation. It depends on the goals you have moving forward from the separation. If you want to reconcile and heal the relationship, marriage counseling provides a neutral opportunity to talk about what has gone wrong in the short-term and how it has impacted the long-term relationship. At Well Marriage Center, we practice pro-relationship counseling, seeking to heal and restore your relationship along with you even when you aren’t sure it’s possible. On the other hand, there might be no way to reconcile, but one or both parties need support adjusting to life outside of marriage. A licensed marriage counselor can also help with this, empowering you to figure out what went wrong in the relationship and help you avoid repeating similar issues in the future. Whether you want to fix the separation or heal yourself on the other side, marriage counseling can help. 

Well Marriage Center Helps You Keep Healing

The relationship specialists at Well Marriage Center are committed to helping you restore your relationship with each session you invest. They’ve dedicated their entire careers to helping couples just like you, whether you hope to be done with marriage counseling in just 12 sessions, or you think 25 doesn’t sound like enough. The good news is that you and your partner set the pace and get to have input about how many sessions you think you need. Whether we see you every week or once a month, we want you to leave each meeting feeling like you achieved something together and know what to work on next. That’s how healing happens–one day at a time, slowly but surely. We’re here to stick with you throughout the journey! Set up a conversation with our Intake Coordinator, Melinda, to share a little bit about where your relationship is at and where you want to go.


What Percentage of Marriages Survive After Counseling?

If you’re struggling in your relationship, you might be considering marriage counseling—also known as couples therapy. But marriage counseling can be daunting to consider because of what you don’t know about the process. If you’re afraid of what marriage counseling might involve, you’re not alone.

Thankfully, as the nation’s largest couples specialty center, we have decades of studies and feedback from couples themselves. You might be relieved to know that a significant majority of couples say counseling is a good experience and offers a way to recover their marriages. Taking this major step with your partner is so successful, in fact, that your progress in repairing and rejuvenating your relationship is almost guaranteed if you put in the effort. We’ve seen it in the 15,000+ couples we’ve helped since we founded in 2008.

Well Marriage Center marriage counseling helps your relationship transition from a tense situation to a healthier, more productive partnership. In this blog, we’re going to talk about therapy statistics, marriage counseling and how we know it works. 



What Percentage of Marriages Work After Counseling?

According to the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, the success rate of marriage counseling is around 70%. Another statistic from the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists states 90% of couples who complete therapy with a highly trained couples therapist report an increase in their emotional well-being. Generally the results vary depending on the therapist, but between 70-90% of couples find couples therapy beneficial. Beyond that, approximately two-thirds report an improvement in their general physical well-being as well.

It’s important to note that with more sessions comes more success. While most counselors offer an average of 12 sessions as a standard therapeutic plan,  65.6% of the cases are completed within 20 sessions and and an additional 22.3% within 50 sessions. What this high marriage counseling success rate tells us is that, while marriage counseling takes work and dedication, it is highly effective for most couples. 

What’s also important to note is that not only are couples finding success with counseling, but 98% of partners find therapy a good or excellent experience. The value of counseling might be a large driving factor for couples struggling in their relationship to contact a professional. 

Simply put, marriage counseling works! Even though it can be difficult to confront challenges head on, the data overwhelmingly suggests that marriage counseling is beneficial for couples. Working with a professional and licensed therapist like ours at Well Marriage Center can help you reach your relationship goals and make positive progress. Our therapists have dedicated their entire careers to solely working with couples, plus we use science-backed methods and do not recommend separation or divorce.



How Does Marriage Counseling Work?

Marriage counseling is a process for couples to focus on productive conversations. Couples give each other emotional support while having space to listen to concerns and challenges the other partner faces. A counselor should guide couples through in-depth conversations to ensure they are constructive in their discussions. In marriage counseling, you should expect:

  • An unbiased third-party listening to and understanding your conflicts. 
  • Finding and addressing systemic issues that affect one another.
  • Developing solutions to address areas of contention and implementing them at home.
  • Learning how to communicate with and listen to your partner in a safe setting.
  • Maintaining commitment, appreciation, and love for your partner during and after the process.

Ultimately, the first step in marriage counseling is deciding with your partner to meet with a counselor for mutual benefit. After that, you can find a wealth of resources to strengthen your relationship and develop healthy strategies during times of conflict. 

You might be concerned that your marriage is unsalvageable and therefore be hesitant about when to seek marriage counseling. But the success rate of couples therapy statistics indicate you have a high chance of saving your relationship.

How to Make Couples Therapy Successful

By reflecting on objectives you’ve set and putting steps into place to reach relationship goals, couples often find benefits from counseling. Successful marriage counseling is about learning to work on your challenges as a couple and as an individual, so you can gain insight on your relationship and yourself. 

Strive for greater success by: 

  • Having a good attitude toward change and willingness to be open.
  • Focusing on changing yourself and your own behaviors, not your partner’s.
  • Asking tough questions of yourself and your partner to expose challenges.
  • Communicating honestly and openly with your partner.
  • Regulating emotions to maintain a safe environment for your partner.

When you focus your efforts on you and your partner as a couple—rather than your own personal gain—marriage counseling offers a great outlet for you to communicate stronger and face challenges head on. Being willing and open as a partner gives you a greater outcome. 


How Long to Try Marriage Counseling Before Divorce?

On average at Well Marriage Center, couples attend 10-25 sessions for their marriage counseling, but find higher success the more sessions they have. Relationship expert Dr. Gottman explains that unhappy couples generally wait six years before seeking help from a marriage counselor. But once they get to marriage counseling, the time needed to work through challenges can sometimes take years. Of course, marriage counseling when you want a divorce is different for everyone, but couples should anticipate completing the minimum amount of sessions recommended by their counselor. You’ll have a chance to talk about timelines and goals in your first few sessions. 

Treat Your Marriage Well

At Well Marriage Center we’ve helped over 15,000 couples work through their challenges and also identify and amplify their strengths. If you’re considering counseling with your partner, we specialize in relationship science to actively adjust and improve your relationship. We want to support you as you navigate the counseling process and build a new future based on connection and trust. Reach out  today to see how we can help you and your partner.

We have offices in 22 cities across the United States, and additionally serve eight states virtually: Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Florida, and California. Reach out today!


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.


Marriage Bonding Analogy

I want to pass along a wonderful email from one of our clients after their very first visit with us.  He wrote it himself and gave us permission to share it. Marriage analogies are hit and miss but this one seems like a home run. We shared it at staff meeting and I think many of our counselors are sharing it with their couples. This comes from a man with basically 20 years in the construction industry and I’m grateful for creative people like him who can help simplify broader concepts. I hope it’s helpful for your marriage…

“Just a note of thanks to Mary today for our first session. It was nice to have an outsider’s view into our marriage, and I wanted to share something with you all that I wrote this morning just before heading out of DC for our appointment.
Take care and thanks so much for being here.”


The Bonding Capacity of Humans

Intimacy and Love are qualitative forms of expression that have some interesting similarities to the bonding of adhesives. This may not be the most romantic way of discussing this topic, but as I have been in construction for 19 years now, I can’t help but notice the patterns.

When we don’t like something, but cannot get rid of it, we often say we are “stuck with it,” but if we want to stay with someone, the closeness that is represented by that statement also has a bond associated with it.

If you have ever tried to apply tape to a dirty surface, you know that the dirt sticks to the tape, and the tape becomes useless. If you don’t know how to prepare the surface for adhesion, you are wasting time, energy, and money.

In order for two people to “stick together,” both people need to be “bondable.”

We have to want someone to be attached to us, and they must want someone attached to them. This is not a law that must be submitted to, but simply a process that needs to be understood if you want a better relationship.

Our “bond-ability” can change over time, and is most often heavily influenced by how we interact with each other. It’s not just a one-time event that defines our attachment to each other, nor can it be defined or maintained by a legal contract or any other means of authority.

On the contrary, the bonding capacity of humans is an ongoing, dynamic and iterative process where the results of prior interactions feed back into the bonding equations of the future, as they have a direct impact on how we allow others to stick to us and how much we want to stick to others.


Our Marriage Had To Change

Several of our couples have sent us the link to “The Third Metric,” a feature story from the The Huffington Post about 4 couples who are prioritizing well-being and fun ahead of wealth, status, and being constantly “on.” It’s been a deliberate change in values that have transformed their marriages. These stories have inspired us as counselors, so we wanted to pass them along to you.  In the go-go-go modern world and economy, it’s often the day-to-day stress and busyness that eats away at our marriages.  Hopefully this will inspire conversation between you and your partner about your shared vision for your marriage:

The Moment They Knew Their Marriage Had To Change

If you find yourself wishing for change…

Please remember there are resources out there, like us at Well Marriage Center. We use a strengths-based approach to help you build a better relationship, together. We find stories like the ones in the link inspiring, and it reminds us of the successes we’ve had with our own clients. It can really help to have an expert in relationship science help guide you through the changes you want from your lives and relationships.