Marriage Counselling – Does It Work? What Can We Expect? 

 September 8, 2023

Marriage is a beautiful journey that often comes with its fair share of challenges. During difficult times, many couples find solace in seeking professional guidance to navigate the rough waters and strengthen their bond. During these times, counselling becomes a valuable resource for couples experiencing issues such as communication breakdown, infidelity, or shared responsibilities.

But does marriage counselling truly work? And what should couples expect from this type of therapy?

What is Marriage Counselling?

Man and woman talking

Marriage Counselling, also known as Couples Therapy, is a professional short-term focused treatment designed to help couples understand and resolve conflicts within their relationship. This type of counselling typically lasts between 1 to 12 sessions and aims to improve the couple's communication skills.

Despite the name, marriage counseling isn't exclusively for legally married couples. Anyone in a long-lasting relationship may want to visit a professional to work through their issues, and their dynamic with their partner can still be addressed.

During marriage counselling sessions, a trained professional works with the couple to explore the factors affecting their relationship. These sessions offer a safe and structured environment for identifying and addressing specific problems.

Understand the Purpose of Marriage Counselling

In order to have effective counselling sessions, one needs to understand their end goal, and what they hope to take away from marriage therapy. A couple may need to go for counselling if they:

  • Constantly argue over everything
  • Feel a loss of a deeper connection
  • Experience constant miscommunication
  • Feel alone even when together

Purpose of Marriage Counselling

The primary goal of marriage counselling is to help couples understand and resolve issues within their relationship. This could include challenges regarding shared responsibilities, communication breakdowns, betrayals of trust, or other sources of conflict.

Through the counselling process, couples are given tools to communicate better and solve their problems in a healthy manner. Improving the relationship can lead to a more satisfying and fulfilling partnership for both individuals involved.

Role of a Marriage Counsellor

A marriage counsellor serves as an impartial mediator between the couple. Counsellors are a source of emotional support and they help couples foster open and honest communication.

The counsellor may work on a variety of issues with the couple, such as resolving conflict and communication issues, rebuilding trust after an extra-marital affair, or finding solutions for stressful relationships with in-laws. By employing various therapeutic techniques, the counsellor assists couples in resolving the issues that plague their relationship.

Types of Marriage Counselling

Man and woman couple holding cups

Marriage counsellors can use a variety of therapeutic approaches. Here are 3 well-known methods:

  • Gottman Method Couples Therapy is a research-based approach to counselling. It thoroughly assesses a relationship, discovers intervention methods, and allows couples to regain intimacy, respect, and affection. It's a method that revolves around increasing empathy and understanding, rekindling the love that couples feel towards each other.
  • Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is a type of counselling that focuses on finding tangible solutions to problems. This approach aims to identify a couple's strengths, encouraging them to develop positive strategies for moving forward in their relationship. SFBT may be suitable for couples who prefer a focused, goal-oriented approach to resolving their marital issues.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of marriage counselling that assists couples in understanding how their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are interconnected. By identifying negative patterns and developing healthier coping mechanisms, couples can resolve tension in their relationship. CBT can be especially useful when dealing with trust and communication issues, as well as emotional regulation in marital relationships.

A combination of these three techniques can help couples find success in their counselling sessions. At Cassandra Chiu Counselling, we make use of these key psychological principles to help you work through obstacles in your relationship.

Does Marriage Counselling Work?

Happy couple, man and woman

Marriage counselling has proven effective in healing damaged relationships.

70-90% of married couples find that marriage counselling improved their emotional and physical well-being by resolving core issues in a marriage. Long-term improvement in the next 12 months after completing couples counselling is common as well. Noticeable results can be seen even after a small number of sessions. Even for those who weren't married, this form of therapy showed significant success in strengthening their relationships. Couples who experience any kind of turmoil are still able to seek it out, and pre-emptively resolve their issues before deciding to get married.

Overall, the effectiveness of marriage counselling depends on the commitment and dedication of both partners and the presence of a trained counsellor. By seeking help from a qualified professional, couples can see an improvement in their connection and resolve their differences in a productive space.

What to Expect From Marriage Counselling

Over several sessions with a marriage counsellor, a couple can expect:

  • Initial Assessment: In the initial assessment, the therapist meets the couple and comes to understand their relationship. This helps the therapist identify the right methods to use and tailor treatment towards the couple's circumstances.
  • Supportive Environment: When sessions are in progress, the participants will be in a safe, non-judgmental environment, which can support them in emotional honesty. They're each given a space to explore their wants and needs.
  • Collaborative Progress: The couple and therapist are meant to work together, in order to explore the emotions that are leading to turmoil in the relationship. The therapist provides methods to solve problems and communicate better, and it is the role of the couple to adopt these strategies and take steps to improve their own relationships.

What You Can Take Away From Marriage Counselling

Warmly holding person's hand during marriage therapy session

Through the counselling process, couples can develop a deeper understanding of the challenges that they each face, and gain valuable insights to strengthen their relationship. Here's what you can take away from marriage counselling:

  • Better Communication Skills: Marriage counselling will help you learn communication strategies, including active listening, assertiveness, and non-defensive communication to express thoughts and feelings more effectively. This leads to a healthier exchange of ideas and emotions, allowing both partners to feel heard and respected.
  • Exploring Underlying Issues: Past experiences and grudges need to be addressed during counselling. By delving into these underlying issues and understanding the emotional dynamics between one another, couples can address the root cause of their problem and foster empathy.
  • Resolve Conflict and Rebuild Trust: Counsellors create a safe space for open dialogue, where married couples can identify causes of conflict between them. If there has been a breach of trust, the counsellor can help them find a solution and repair the bond between them, bringing them closer together.
  • Self-Discovery and Individual Growth: In addition to working on the relationship, individuals can gain self-awareness, identify personal patterns, and develop self-care strategies. This personal development empowers each partner to be the best version of themselves, contributing positively to a healthy relationship.

Marriage counselling is an invaluable tool for couples seeking to strengthen their bond in a supportive and structured setting. By experiencing these major takeaways, couples can enhance their relationship and ensure its long-term success.

What If My Partner Does Not Want Marriage Counselling?

Sometimes, your partner may be unwilling to go for marriage or relationship counselling. If you are looking to convince your partner, a good first step would be to examine the reasons behind their resistance.

1. They're Uncomfortable With A Therapist

Having a third party involved with a couple's troubles may feel like a stranger is prying into your private lives. In this case, it's important to approach your partner with sensitivity. Try and verbalise the intention behind marriage counselling, and how you can grow as a couple through this process. You can also assure them that counselling is an effective way to get a third person's perspective without having to involve friends or family in your marriage troubles.

2. Money is Tight

Looking for a therapist can be expensive, and if financial issues are part of the problem, it's counterproductive to look for help. When money is an issue, you might want to look for therapists that are within your price range. Looking for online therapy sessions or counselling alternatives may be more affordable. Marriage workshops are also another affordable option that can help you access the services you need. Assure your partner that alternative options exist, and try to look into them together.

3. They're Afraid of What Counselling Implies

There is a stigma that marriage counselling is only for failing marriages or that counselling implies the existence of a problem. They may feel that blame must be assigned during therapy sessions. When this is a concern, it's important to assure your partner that marital counselling is meant to provide a neutral, objective space, where both parties can repair their relationship with professional help.

It's completely natural to have these concerns and reservations about seeking marriage counselling. At Cassandra Chiu Counselling, we understand these worries, and are committed to creating a comfortable, non-judgmental space where both partners can feel at ease. We offer initial sessions to see if our services are the right fit for you, and our professional and empathetic approach ensures that your concerns are fairly addressed. Your well-being is our top priority, and we're here to help you navigate these challenges with compassion.

Pursue Marriage Counselling To Heal Your Relationship

Marriage therapists, marriage counselor with couple

Marriage counselling, when approached with commitment and an open mind, can be a transformative experience for couples, regardless of marital status. Cassandra Chiu Counselling offers expert guidance, solution-focused therapy strategies, and a supportive environment that empowers couples to navigate their relationship challenges. Build a stronger and happier future together with us. 

Explore what we offer at Cassandra Chiu Counselling, and contact us today to take the first step towards rekindling a healthy marriage.

275 Thomson Road, Novena Regency,
#01-19 Singapore 307645

Office: +65 6269 0401