The psychologist Erich Fromm once stated, “Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says ‘I need you because I love you.’” What is the fundamental difference between these two statements? The first kind of love is based on a deficit and the second kind of love is based on strength. So how can a couple get from point A to point B? Marriage counseling can help.
The licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) and other qualified couples counselors at Thriveworks in Montgomery, AL aim to do a lot more than resolve conflict and address thorny relationship issues. They also aim to help significant others love each other “better”. This can be done through improving communication skills, building trust and attachment, helping partners see issues from each others’ perspectives, and reinforcing existing strengths in the relationship. And Thriveworks couples therapists aren’t going to tell one partner they’re right and the other is wrong. The therapy process is about mutual understanding, not blame.
Does Relationship Counseling Actually Fix Anything?
The vast majority of couples who see a professional counselor report increased relationship satisfaction after therapy (which is usually completed in 12 sessions or fewer). So yes, relationship counseling can absolutely be transformative. And the lessons learned in therapy can endure for a lifetime, sometimes even outliving the relationship. At Thriveworks in Montgomery, AL, licensed therapists aim first to understand a couple’s objectives for therapy before they begin treatment. These objectives might include the following:
- To reduce daily conflicts and tension in the household
- To stop having the same argument
- To establish healthy boundaries
- To manage anger
- To improve rapport
- To express sexuality more openly
- To confront alcohol abuse or addiction
- To heal bonds after infidelity
- To manage life transitions
- To cope with empty nest syndrome or midlife crises
- To support each other through infertility
- To identify individual mental health conditions that are affecting the relationship
- To process trauma together
- To grieve and cope with loss together
Once the Thriveworks therapist knows what the couple is seeking to accomplish, they can work on the issue together, whether it’s conflict resolution, chronic miscommunication, sexual issues, or something else. Couples therapy is usually short-term and targeted at solving problems. Occasionally one partner will choose to continue with individual therapy after exploring personal issues in marriage counseling.
How Can Someone Proactively Avoid Divorce?
Life is unpredictable, and no one can 100% ensure a happy marriage. But premarital counseling can help soon-to-be spouses establish some conflict guidelines and mutual values before they make their lifelong commitment. For example, marriage counselors at Thriveworks who help engaged couples might facilitate discussion about the following issues:
- Individual values and how they overlap or differ
- Expectations for what roles each partner should play in the future marriage
- Preconceived notions about children and parenting
- Financial goals
- Communication styles
- Coping strategies (or lack of coping skills)
- Family backgrounds and emotional baggage
- Relationship strengths and weaknesses
- Wedding stress
- Expectations for sex and quality time together
Talking about these fraught issues before a wedding can give couples the resources they need to prevent future problems in the marriage. But these conversations can be ongoing throughout a relationship because people are always changing.
How Does Couples Counseling Work?
Couples counseling works through a variety of evidence-based approaches. At Thriveworks in Montgomery, AL, different therapists might employ different strategies and methods for reconnecting couples. These methods might include one or a blend of the following:
- Emotionally focused therapy (EFT)
- Person-centered therapy
- Strength-based therapy
- Solution-focused therapy
- Gottman method (pioneered by John Gottman)
- Substance abuse or addiction counseling
- Structural family therapy
- Depression counseling
- Anxiety therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Narrative therapy
- Motivational interviewing
- Collaborative couples therapies
How to Find a Couples Therapist or Marriage Counselor?
To find a great couples therapist or marriage counselor, it helps to outline a few basic criteria in advance:
- The therapist should be affordable. (At Thriveworks in Montgomery, AL, therapists accept most health insurance plans and offer competitive self-pay rates.)
- The therapist should be skilled in treating couples similar to you. (Thriveworks therapists treat a broad range of couples from diverse cultural, ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds.)
- The therapist should be able to meet with you and your spouse in a convenient way that feels comfortable for you both. (Thriveworks marriage counselors can hold sessions in-person at the modern office in Montgomery, or meet with clients virtually, through online counseling sessions.)
Heal Division with Marriage Counseling at Thriveworks in Montgomery, AL
Thriveworks marriage counselors offer fast appointment times, sometimes as early as the day after your phone call or online booking. At Thriveworks, all providers are fully licensed and recruited from the top 4% of applicants. They can be reached by phone or email between sessions. Call today and get matched to the counselor who is right for you and your partner. We look forward to helping you both!