Posted on December 3rd, 2014
At least one of you is talking about divorce, your problems are so longstanding that you can’t even remember how or when they began, and communication has almost completely broken down. Can marriage counseling help at this point, when your relationship is coming apart, hanging by threads?
Yes it can, although the help may mean assisting you in coming to a decision to end the marriage, as much as it may mean resurrecting the good in your relationship and redirecting the ways you relate to each other in order to move ahead together.
This understanding of the possibilities is where marriage counseling begins when you are potentially splitting up. What are you each looking for, what has not been working, how has your marriage succeeded or failed are key questions. From discussing the answers to these questions, a reasonably clear picture of your real situation with each other will emerge in the first session.
If it turns out that you really are divorcing, the purpose of marriage counseling is to work out how to separate in a way which is constructive rather than explosive. For couples whose relationship with each other is not too volatile for this, the opportunity becomes one of looking back at what they have shared and looking ahead at whatever will remain of their connection after divorce, particularly important for those with children.
But it may be that one of you is almost out the door and the other not, or perhaps both of you want to work things out but can’t figure out how. When either of these is so, there is an opportunity to work on improving the relationship. Even if you decide to divorce later, there is still an advantage in changing what can be changed before you go, so you don’t take dysfunctional behavior with you to your next relationship.
It would be easiest of course if both of you could commit to a period of time during which changing the relationship can be explored. Easiest but not necessary. It is still possible to productively work on your relationship without commitment and to have the relationship grow and become whole again.
Of course, it’s better not to wait for this dramatic moment before you try couples counseling. But even if you have waited until now, your relationship is not doomed. Turnarounds do happen. So long as neither of you takes the action to start divorce proceedings, there is always the possibility of moving toward making the relationship work better.
Posted in Marriage and Couples