What is Marriage Therapy Really Like? And Will Counseling Work for Us?

BY: - 10 Jan '17 | Marriage

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Dear Dr. Buckingham,

My husband and I discussed the possibility of starting marriage therapy after reading several of your articles. We are excited about the possibility, but do not know what to expect. We have been married for 15 years now, but I do not feel that I know my husband well. In fact, I am not sure if I know myself well.

We argue over little things and are finding it more and more difficult to coexist under the same roof. I pleaded with my husband to attend therapy and he agreed. We want our marriage to work, but are anxious about this therapy thing. My husband does not believe in therapy, but said that he would participate if he finds value in it. I am concerned that he is going into therapy with a negative perspective.

He is very anxious about sharing information. I want to reassure him that therapy will help us, but I do not know enough. We do not know anyone who has attended therapy. Please help me. What is Marriage Therapy Like?

Thank you,

A Hopeful Wife

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Dear Hopeful Wife,

First, I want to commend you for taking action to save your marriage. I understand your husband’s concerns. Talking to strangers about personal issues can be anxiety provoking for most people. However, I can assure you that attending therapy is the best thing that you all can do to save your marriage.

Marital therapy is a process whereby a trained therapist, like myself, talk with you about your problems and helps solve them. The therapist will spend the first session explaining limits of confidentiality and gathering information from you and your husband.

Subsequent sessions will be used to develop a treatment plan that includes goals, objectives and outcome measures. Please keep in mind that marital therapy is designed to help both partners learn to function better as a team. Most therapists use a systems approach to address relationship dynamics with the primary focus being to help both members relate to each other.

I often remind couples that they cannot have a relationship without being able to relate. Communication techniques such as the Speaker-Listener and Five Secrets of Listening are taught to help couples understand the importance of resolving problems through effective communication.

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Marital therapy might also involve behavior modification. This type of therapy helps you and your spouse address and attempt to change dysfunctional patterns of behavior. Depending on what you and your husband present in therapy, sessions might focus on addressing unresolved issues that stem from the past or sessions might be solution-focused instead of problem-focused.

Through processing, you and your husband will learn how to promote and embrace accountability. This is important because hundreds of couples struggle because individuals fail to see or accept their role in creating or contributing to problems in their relationships. The therapist will help you and your husband strive to become more introspective and to be open to self-assessment.

Make sure that you find someone who is trained to provide marital therapy. Not every therapist is qualified to do couples counseling. Selecting the right therapist will significantly impact your experience. If you do not feel a connection with the therapist by the fourth session, revaluate the process and therapist.

Good luck with the conversation with your husband. Let him know that the both of you will spend time with a therapist who has both parties’ interest in mind. Also, let him know that what is said in therapy remains in therapy.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to askdrbuckingham@gmail.com

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

About the author

Dwayne Buckingham wrote 164 articles on this blog.

Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, author of Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and Unconditional Love: What Every Woman and Man Desires in a Relationship, is a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, life coach, relationship and resiliency expert, motivational speaker and corporate consultant. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Service, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. To learn more about Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham visit his website at www.DrBuckingham.com.

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Ladies: 7 Myths About Men that Might Be Ruining Your Relationships

BY: - 10 Jan '17 | Marriage

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It’s a New Year!  And with a new year comes goals to be even better in life and in love than ever before. However, here’s one big, bold relationship truth: If you bring the same old mindset and misconceptions about relationships into this “new” season, then you won’t have different results.

So ladies, here are few myths about men (married and single) that you must stop believing in order to truly be happier this year in the love department.  Let’s get it on!

Myth #1: Men Are Intimidated By Your Success and Independence

Okay I’m sure some ladies are already saying that they know men who are intimidated by their “success.” Well the first thing I will say is that most men aren’t intimidated by your success.

Mythbuster: The real truth is that men are looking for a partner in love and not a “boss.”  The “right man” for you is not going to be afraid of you or intimidated by you; and he’ll appreciate all that you have to offer and look forward to partnering with you.

Myth #2: Having Standards and Expectations Will Drive Men Away

It’s true, some men become distant after women share their standards and expectations with them. Yes, it happens.

Mythbuster: It’s very possible that it wasn’t your standards briefing that turned him off, but your delivery.  If stating your standards comes with a defensive nature and attitude, then yes, it can be a turn off.  However, if it’s simply you just discussing your desires, then men who are on the same page as you (and that is the key) won’t run at the first mention of what you will and won’t tolerate. And those who aren’t will head for the hills…..and that’s a good thing.

Myth #3: There Are No Good Men Left out There

Please understand that in your lifetime you will have more relationships that fail than succeed. And my point is not to depress you, but rather for you to change your outlook.  Don’t expect every man you meet to be your soulmate.

Mythbuster: There are plenty of good men out there.  And plenty of men that are committing and getting married.  So don’t let a string of bad dates or the opinions of your friends cause you to lose faith that your partner is out there somewhere.

Myth #4: Your Husband Is Only Driven By Sex

Yes, your man wants to be physical with you.  But even more important than that, he wants to be intimate with you. If you keep believing that he is simply using you as a way to “get off,” your entire mindset about sex will be thrown off and your libido will decrease.

Mythbuster: Sex for men is an expression of love and it keeps us connected to you. And if you start thinking about it those terms, then perhaps you’ll want to connect with us even more!

Myth #5: Your Man Wants You to Be Perfect

Your man never committed to you because you were perfect. He did it because he accepted you, and even your flaws.

Mythbuster: Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to be perfect in every area and give yourself some grace. Your attitude will have a jump in the right direction when you do.

Myth #6: Men Are Emotionless

Just because your man doesn’t wear his emotions on his sleeves or verbally express his feelings often, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Mythbuster: Men have emotions just like women do, but it’s the expression of those feelings that might be different. This isn’t about good and bad, it’s just that he may handle and show his emotions differently.

Myth #7: Men Don’t Care About Your Needs

You will come up short every time if you make your man play the guessing game when it comes to your needs. Why? Because we aren’t good at it!  Stop assuming that he is just supposed to know what your wants and needs are.

Myth-buster: You can’t keep getting frustrated with him over things that you’ve never expressed. Communicate early and often and don’t leave him guessing while you’re mad.

Time to Get Clarity

I know there are so many varying opinions and misconceptions out there about both men and women. And, I can talk in generalities all day.  But from my personal experience and research, the best advice I can give you is to just do your best to have a dialogue!  Talk to the man or men in your life and open up the lines of communication. That’s the easiest way to bring clarity, and with clarity come happiness.

BMWK – what other myths about men should we all leave behind as we go into the new year?

About the author

Troy Spry wrote 219 articles on this blog.

Troy Spry a Certified Life, Dating, and Relationship Coach and the one and only "Reality Expert", resides in Charlotte, NC. He created his blog, Xklusive Thoughts, with the intent of putting out a very realistic perspective and using it as a vehicle for inspiration! He hopes to challenge people to think differently and inspire people to do and be better in relationships and in life!

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