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If you and your spouse have noticed a decline in your relationship and the overall quality of your marriage, you may have thought of trying marriage counseling. If you both want your relationship to continue, couple’s therapy can help you strengthen your bond while working through your conflicts.

A marriage counseling therapist might incorporate several different therapeutic approaches such as emotionally focused therapy, behavioral therapy, discernment counseling and Gottman couple therapy.

Signs you should attend marriage therapy

Before automatically resorting to divorcing your spouse, you should consider marriage counseling if you and your spouse are willing to:

  • Explore relationship goals
  • Define relationship responsibilities
  • Manage anger
  • Work on building trust and communication skills
  • Undergo conflict resolution
  • Work through life challenges and changes

You can choose to see a couple’s therapist even if you are already separated.

How to know if counseling might work

Two big indicators that marriage therapy may work for you and your spouse are that you both feel committed to the counseling process and are willing to engage with one another plus the therapist. When you feel a strong connection to the therapist, you will feel heard and understood and likely be more receptive to the help offered.

If you or your spouse demonstrate the following, marriage counseling might not be for you:

  • Maintaining an ongoing extramarital affair
  • Suffering from untreated substance use
  • Having significant untreated mental illnesses
  • Showing a pattern of acting coercively, controlling or violently

Overall, marriage therapy may take a few sessions for the counselor to fully analyze your marital issues. If you and your spouse feel open to putting in the hard, emotional work, the counseling process may help you build a path forward.