Knowing what will happen and what to expect at your first marriage counseling session is critical for getting the most out of it. Your marriage is having trouble. There shouldn’t be any wasted time working with a counselor who doesn’t know exactly how to help you fix your marriage. It’s critically important that you prepare yourself with the right knowledge before your first session so that when you and your spouse are meeting the counselor, you will be able to determine if they are going to be an adequate source of help or not.
Not knowing how to prepare for your first marriage counseling session can cause a lot of lost time and also create a situation where you are with the wrong therapist. In this video, Paul Friedman explains what you need to do and why. He also touches on important things about marriage you probably never knew or considered.
I’m going to try to help you today with something that is a little bit complicated but just a little bit. There’s going to be a general attitude that I’m going to try to convey to you sort of an overview on how to prepare for your first marriage counseling session and the reason why people will do that is going to marriage counseling is obviously, so that they can save their marriage or just improve it because it’s not going in the right direction.
There is a general consensus now that marriage counseling doesn’t really help but there are some marriage counselors who are top-notch. For The Marriage Foundation, we hired them or try to find them so they could be our counselors as people take the course or have questions so there are some really excellent marriage therapist counselors out there. I’m going to try and give you things that you need to look out for. The overview first is to remember why you’re going to marriage counseling. You’re not going to marriage counseling so that you can b*tch and moan about your husband or wife. You’re not going there so you could get everything out on the table and talk things out that’s a misconception. There is no good end to talking things out.
A good marriage counselor will not do that. They won’t ask you what’s going on in order to talk things out. They’ll ask you that only so that they could get a sense of your commitment to one another, your commitment to the marriage whether you’re willing as an individual to take responsibility for your end of the marriage and frankly, for the whole marriage. Try to understand that there are those marriage counselors out there far too many who want you to keep coming back. You become their bank account, you become a client of theirs. In contrast, there are others who just really want to help you get your marriage under control.
What are you looking for? What should the first session look like?
It should really not look like where you’re getting each other into trouble. You’re not trying to blame one another what you’re trying to do is find out here’s the critical piece. You’re trying to find out what you’re doing wrong, not what your spouse is doing wrong but what you’re doing wrong. You’re going into an arena where someone who’s a professional who knows what they’re doing can say “you need to look at this,” “you might want to read this” and there are many counselors who will recommend one of my books either Breaking the Cycle or Lessons for a Happy Marriage as a basis and then they’ll help you through the steps because you got to take the steps.
Marriage counseling doesn’t have to be tortured, it’s supposed to be where your marriage has gotten off the rails. Now you want to get back on the rails and you want to do it as quickly as possible so we’ve gotten a little bit off-track. Speaking off the rails we’ve gotten a little bit off-track about how to prepare. So, how you should prepare is you should literally grab a piece of paper and a pencil and write down your vision for a happy marriage. You shouldn’t write down your complaints, don’t write down what’s wrong with your spouse that will literally undermine any progress you possibly could make. You want to ask the question, “What can I as an individual do to improve our marriage?”
Don’t worry about what your spouse wants to do there. There’s this idea that marriage is these two people becoming one and that’s not exactly true, it’s two souls who merge, sure, that’s true, but two minds aren’t going to merge. You’re always going to maintain your individuality.
Watch the video for more.
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