A: Counselors often hear that one spouse is more open to accepting help from an outside party than the other. Rest assured that if one spouse from the marriage is willing to seek to strengthen the relationship, it can be beneficial to that individual as well as the marriage.
Some advantages to seeking help alone include the fact that you have the ability to receive affirmation concerning the feelings and trials you are currently experiencing.
There can be great benefit to a friend or counselor normalizing the fact that marriage can be very difficult and takes a great deal of work. In addition, by seeking counsel you can gain a wealth of tools to utilize as you work on your marriage. Such tools include: learning how to truly listen and hear your partner; using “I” messages rather than pointing fingers at the other person; and conflict resolution skills. Finally, if you seek Christian guidance you can examine the Biblical model for marriage with your counselor.
In “Divorce Busting” by Michele Weiner-Davis, she discusses the value of being the one to take an active step for your marriage. Even if the changes feel small, it can be significant if you are willing to change your marriage by changing yourself. Another key component of strengthening any relationship, according to the book, is noticing that unhealthy patterns of verbal exchanges create difficulties in the marriage. Many times we want to blame one another rather than the relationship dynamics. Couples should identify the communication patterns that work and avoid the unhealthy patterns.
In conclusion, seeking help alone for your marriage may feel hopeless. However, benefits include gaining tools to build on the foundation of your marriage, looking at a Biblical model for marriage, and identifying destructive patterns that must be eradicated.It is never beneficial to blame your spouse, but it is helpful to work on the patterns that are deteriorating your marriage.
For more information on counseling, please visit: www.pathwaysprofessional.org