About 75% of my marriage coaching is conducted with clients over the telephone. Sometimes these clients want to meet with a local marriage counselor and ask me what they should be looking for when choosing a professional. I share with them that traditional marriage counseling does not have a very high success rate in terms of saving marriages.
If they must find a local marriage counselor here are the three questions that I would use as I was interviewing potential marriage help professionals:
- Are you a “pro marriage” marriage counselor? I know the question seems ridiculous, but believe me your marriage counselor will know exactly what you are talking about. A “pro marriage” marriage counselor sees their role as the helping professional that is going to facilitate you saving your marriage and creating an even stronger marriage. Marriage counselors who may eventually arrive at the place of “yes” you should divorce, or there is nothing you can do to save your marriage are not pro marriage. The truth is there is always something that you can do and there is always hope. Make sure that your helping professional understands that you are looking for marriage counseling and not divorce counseling.
- Will our sessions be future oriented or past oriented? If the sessions deal primarily with the past there is a high likelihood that you will get bogged down in the problems. Little good comes from a continual rehashing of the past. It is healthy to discuss the past, learn from the past, process the past if your must but at some point you must move from the past into the future. No one should be beat up in the marriage counselor’s office. The focus should be on how to positively move forward from past hurts and how to create a future that is better than the past.
- Will there be regular homework? The actual saving of the marriage does not happen in the marriage counselor’s office. It happens as you apply strategies, ideas and new relationship skills after you have been to the counselor’s office. A good marriage counselor will never leave you hanging without positive relationship steps to take between visits.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their marriage, pass this post along. These three questions can guide them on their search for a marriage helping professional.