When you’re having problems in your marriage, counseling can help. However, simply meeting with a counselor or therapist isn’t enough on its own to ensure healing within your marriage. Making the most of marriage counseling means both parties being willing to put in the work to repair the damage within the relationship. If you enter the sessions with an open mind and a willingness to do the work necessary, you will see the best results.

Here are some tips that can help you and your spouse to make the most of your time in counseling:

1.) Decide to put in the work.

Relationships can be hard work to develop, maintain and grow. When those relationships are damaged, repairing them will be a difficult journey. You must be realistic with yourself about the emotional challenge ahead of you. Counseling may at times be painful or force you to reconsider some of your most closely held beliefs about yourself and the way that marriage works. If you are willing to put in the work, be sure that you are emotionally prepared for the job ahead of you. Just remember that, if you truly want to salvage the relationship, the difficulty will be worth it in the long run.

2.) Don’t wait.

Some people view relationship counseling as a measure of last resort after all other choices have been exhausted. Unfortunately, this often means that the marriage has degraded significantly by the time counseling starts. If you wait until you are emotionally exhausted, counseling will be more challenging. Relationships are difficult; there is no shame in seeking professional help when problems first arise rather than waiting for anger, resentment and other negative feelings to build toward a boiling point.

3.) Choose a therapist who respects your values.

Therapists don’t have share all of your personal or spiritual values. A good therapist will respect your personal beliefs and help you make choices that you can feel comfortable with. Similarly, you’ll want a therapist who you feel you can speak candidly with, and whose communication style meshes well with both of you. You may choose to interview a few different counselors before deciding which one to work with long-term.

4.) Consider what you want out of the process.

Bear in mind that the end goal of counseling does not have to be staying in the marriage. A therapist can also guide you and your spouse toward making changes to a relationship, up to and including a peaceful breakup if that becomes the goal. Just because you feel you are ready for a relationship to be over doesn’t mean that there is no point in seeing a counselor. Working together with a therapist can help you and your spouse to end on better terms and find peace in the decision. A therapist can help you both in the process of either changing or ending the relationship so that you and your spouse can move forward.

If you’re committed to making the most of marriage counseling, you’re making the right first step. Contact us today for more information about our counseling services and to learn about the next steps to follow in order to improve the quality of your relationship.