Will Marriage Counseling Work for YOU?

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Image credit: Liz Fitch (via Unsplash)

Every couple faces their fair share of challenges, regardless of how long they’ve been married. TV shows, books and movies don’t always reveal the whole truth, but marriage maintenance is hard work. 

Over 40% of marriages end in divorce. The leading causes range from infidelity, financial instability, and—no shocker here—a lack of communication. 

While resolving relationship issues may seem like an unmanageable task, there is hope! Finding a marriage counselor, or therapy alternative, that suits both you and your spouse  can help you navigate conflicts in your marriage. 

What is marriage counseling? How will it help? Will it work for you? Let us answer your burning questions, so you can kickstart your relationship’s recovery.

What is Marriage Counseling?

Marriage counseling, or couples therapy, helps intimate partners revitalize their relationships through honest discussion and reflection. Couples therapy focuses on fixing disconnects in communication; repairing the damage caused by conflicts; and building a strong foundation for overall relationship improvement.

Couples therapists are trained in the same principles as mental health counselors, with a special focus on partnerships. As it takes two to tango, they look in-depth at both parties’ strengths and weaknesses to see where improvements can be made. With a neutral third party mediating, couples often find it easier to take a step back and look more closely at their own contributions and attachment styles.

However, if finding the right professional is proving too difficult or expensive, you have another option. Together is an evidence-based marriage counseling alternative developed by a leading therapist. You can use the app alone, or together with your partner, at the fraction of the cost of a typical therapy session.

Together offers a hands-on experience tailored to your specific relationship problems. Its check-in feature helps you reflect on the day-to-day progress of your relationship. You'll learn to identify the habits and behaviors that stop you being the partner you want to be. The app then provides you with the tools you need to make steady, practical changes. You’ll also have access to an engaging course library, full of interactive video sessions related to the relationship issues you’re facing.

If you’re on the fence about therapy, or you’re unable to find a licensed professional who meets your needs, Together is an affordable, accessible alternative rooted in the latest psychological research.

Who is Marriage Counseling For?

The short answer is anyone who needs it. 

There’s no shame in asking for help: that’s what marriage counseling is for. Frankly, you opening up to a couples therapist reflects your desire for relationship growth and improvement. We applaud that!

The long-form answer is that marriage counseling is for anyone who wants to address aspects of their relationship that could be better. Do you feel like you and your partner are never on the same page? Is it hard to communicate your concerns in a reasonable way? Are you fighting about the same things over and over?

That’s what marriage counseling is for.

Truth be told, there’s a lengthy list of reasons why one may choose to invest in a marriage counselor or a marriage improvement app. If you’re experiencing any form of dissatisfaction in your relationship, it could be time to give marriage therapy a shot!

How Does Marriage Counseling Work?

We wouldn’t want you to go in blind to your first couples session, so here are some tips! 

Remember, everyone feels awkward when they try something new. You’re being really brave by opening up about your relationship issues. Take a deep breath, and keep your purpose in mind: you’re here to help your relationship grow. 

Before your session, sit down with your partner and discuss what each of you would like to accomplish in the first marriage therapy appointment.  Understand that the work does not end in the therapy room (or on the app, if you’re using one). You’re going to have some homework! Be prepared to practice new communication techniques at home, and get ready to tackle your problems as a team. 

All this work won’t be for nothing. The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy reports 90% of therapy clients felt emotionally healthier following treatment. The odds are in your favor!

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1. The First Sessions

Just as Rome was not built in a day, a happy marriage is not built overnight. Your first few sessions with a new couples therapist will consist of the “getting to know you” phase. It’s important to understand patterns from the early years of a couples’ life to better put current problems into perspective.

You and your partner will set some goals together. Honesty, openness, and active listening will strengthen your bond and boost progress. 

Your therapist could recommend some individual sessions to unpack some details that you might not feel comfortable sharing in front of your significant other, and vice versa.

Keep in mind, all growth is relative, and your couples therapy experience has no set time frame for success. 

2. What to Expect in an Average Session

As we mentioned before, marriage counselors are professional mediators, teaching couples to resolve conflict in a healthy way. 

Ever heard of the “nails in a board” story? 

A young boy was working on a fence for his father. 

“Every time you lose your temper, son, hammer a nail into the back of this fence,” his dad stated. 

Day after day, the boy would get upset, driving nail after nail into the fence. One day, he grew tired and found that controlling his temper was much easier than driving nails into the wooden boards. 

His dad showed him to the fence. “You have done well, my son—but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave scars just like these. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry; the wound is still there.”

The takeaway from this story applies to our relationships.  Words thrown around in  anger can wound and even cause permanent damage. To help avoid this pitfall, marriage therapists give couples the tools they need to express themselves, be heard, and resolve issues—no  nails or holes required.

Does It Work…?

The obvious question when starting anything new for the first time is: “does it work?” Luckily, counselors are trained to help with a multitude of relationship issues, so you can find the right person to help with any niche problem you’re experiencing. 

We always recommend starting somewhere. If you’re not ready to invest in therapy yet, try a more budget-friendly approach with Together. The app offers interactive communication tools to help you reinforce the positive aspects of your love life and find constructive ways to work through conflict.

Try Together - the couple coaching app

Resolve your relationship pains with Together - a couple coaching app developed by leading therapists.

Join the Waitlist

With that said, there are certain factors that can make moving forward much more of an uphill battle. So, does marriage counseling work with…

1. With a Narcissist?

As much as we love to bring you positivity, going to therapy with a narcissistic partner can be extremely challenging, as they may reject any suggestion that they are at fault in any situation. Psychologists agree that narcissists are extremely difficult to treat in couples counseling.

Take Charge Inc clarifies: “People with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) have learned to ignore, suppress, deny, project, and disavow their vulnerabilities (or at least try to) in their attempts to shape and reshape who they are in their interactions.” Going to marriage therapy is already uncomfortable for most couples, so if one partner cannot show up in a genuine way, this just adds fuel to the fire.

2. After Cheating or an Affair?

Infidelity is not only emotionally damaging—it is way more common than most expect. Don't lose hope, though. If your marriage has suffered a loss of trust, it can be fixed.

When a couple shows up to marriage counseling to recover from infidelity, they have a good chance of repairing their relationship. Over 78% of marriages survive a partner cheating, and many of these surprisingly come out stronger.  

We know this is hard to believe, yet research shows that couples who seek help post-affair learn to communicate more assertively. Therapists view cheating as a symptom pointing to the underlying problems in a relationship’s foundation. Fixing these issues at the source prevents the toxic cycle of infidelity, opens up more solid communication, and deepens intimate bonds. 

3. After Separation?

Let’s face it—everyone approaches conflicts in their own unique way. But did you know there are certain broad categories known as argument styles? 

From attacking, to defending, to withdrawing, many of us tend to lean towards a particular tactic in conflict. You and your significant other are no different. Check out some argument styles here!

After a harsh fight, you may need time to cool off, and you may choose to separate temporarily. This time apart can help couples make clearer, more emotionally healthy decisions. But will marriage counseling help you work through your problems once you reunite?  

Daniel Dashnaw, a relationship and family therapist, believes it’s possible. As he explains: “The best way to save a marriage after separation is to show your partner something different. Surprise them in a clever way. But don’t invite them to notice by calling attention to yourself and what you’re doing differently.” If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to “doing something different”, marriage counseling can help you identify old patterns that might be useful to break.

Generally, the sooner you seek out marriage therapy after a split, the higher your chances of reconciliation.

Statistics Tell You: Marriage Counseling Really Works if…

  • Both partners are committed to positive changes
  • Both partners want the relationship to work
  • You find the right counselor for you—or the right app. Hello, Together!
  • You don’t leave it too late (most couples wait an average of 6 years to attend their first therapy appointment). 
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Image credit: Sara Kurfeß (via Unsplash)

Love conquers all, especially when you choose to fight for each other instead of against each other. 

In addition to personal contributions for success, here are some marriage counseling statistics that stood out to us:

  • Couples who underwent pre-marital therapy have a 30% higher marital success rate than those who did not attend. 
  • Nearly 50% of married couples have gone to at least one couples therapy session.
  • In the past, couples therapy had a success rate of 50%. Nowadays, couples undergoing EFT have a success rate closer to 75%. This is measured by an emotional distress scale test conducted before and after therapy.

Will it Work for You?

The odds are yes! 

Are you and your partner determined to solve the pain points in your love life? Are you both willing to own your mistakes? Do you see a future together if you can resolve your issues? These are all good signs

The key indicator that counseling is a smart next step is if both partners are willing to prioritize fixing the relationship—just as they would prioritize a job. If you and your SO are ready to put in the time, love, and effort to maintain your love life like you would your home, chances are you will succeed! 

Closing Thoughts From Together

Congratulations—you just took the first step towards overhauling your relationship. You're  off to a great start! By doing the research, you’re definitely moving in the right direction. Keep it up!

You now know all about marriage counseling: what it is, how it works, and the ins and outs. Still not convinced couples therapy is for you? Try an app-based alternative grounded in cutting-edge relationship science. Download Together!

Together allows you to work on your relationship by following an interactive, personalized program developed by an expert in the field. The app helps you and your partner repair your bond using custom tools tailored to your specific needs and concerns.  

We know finances can be a sore spot, so Together is easy on the wallet! It is a fraction of the cost of therapy, and you have full access to the program anytime. 

Work on your relationship at your own pace—individually or together. You’ll have a wealth of hands-on exercises and engaging video sessions at your fingertips.

Starting your couples therapy journey doesn’t have to be stressful. We’re in this, Together.

Try Together - the couple coaching app

Resolve your relationship pains with Together - a couple coaching app developed by leading therapists.

Join the Waitlist
Try Together - the couple coaching app

Resolve your relationship pains with Together - a couple coaching app developed by leading therapists.

Join the Waitlist


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