Can Counseling Save Your Marriage?

I can’t count how many times the question, “can counseling save my marriage?”, has been presented to me. I have spent the last ten years working in relationship counseling through church and other non profit organizations. During this time I have seen many a marriage both fail and bloom.

Many people, when faced with dire circumstances, want to ask hard lined questions like the one above. Other examples are “will this make me money soon?”, for when someone is looking for business opportunities, “how soon will I see results?”, when someone is needing to lose weight, etc.

When I am asked that faithful question, I always respond with a resounding YES, followed by, if you are committed to fixing the problems that exist within your marriage. I typically see a smiling face turn to a concerned look when I give that answer. I then reassure the person that anything is possible if everyone is willing to work together.

What I’ve learned, unfortunately, over the years is that many couples are not willing to work hard at fixing their marriage. Sometimes one partner is and the other isn’t, or even sometimes both are unwilling to do what it takes to truly make things right within their marriage.

Here’s the answer – YES, marriage counseling can save your marriage, if both of you are willing to listen and carry out the plan WE agree on to fix the problems that exist. More often than not, the first couple of counseling sessions go well while the couple and I are meeting, but by the third or fourth meeting, it’s obvious that they are good at listening and agreeing, but poor at implementation.

At this point, I usually have a “coming to Jesus” talk with the couple and explain to them that coming in once a week and agreeing with me for an hour is not gonna magically fix anything. You have to go home and actually do what we discuss in the counseling sessions. I then will typically use these examples: Going and sitting in a gym will not make you get in shape… you have to work out while in the gym and keep up a healthy diet while out of the gym OR listening a guru talk about his franchise will not make you any money… you have to invest time and resources into that franchise and work many hours to be successful.

I then remind the couple that in many other area’s of their lives they are implementing plans and becoming very successful because of their hard work… why not invest the same mental, physical, and emotional energy into the marriage and achieve success there as well?

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