I was browsing around and found this short article from What Your Marriage Counselor Doesn
I'm not a big fan of counseling to try and help the marriage. I think it enables more then it is productive. This psychotherapist listed a few things to help your marriage that she says you'll never hear from a therapist:
Sixty-nine percent of all arguments between you and your partner will never be resolved. So don’t try so hard.
A couple that doesn’t fight is in trouble.
Having a “good enough” marriage is the most couples can expect and is actually quite an accomplishment.
Letting go is sometimes better than discussing everything to death.
Respect, not sex or money, is the most important factor in a happy marriage.
There are marital breaches worse than an affair.
A therapist cannot teach, train, or guide you to “be happy.” That is not a reasonable outcome to expect from therapy.
For me applying 2, 4, 5, and 7 have helped me the most. I found that respect is the most important thing in marriage and I often feel it's more meaningful to say I respect my H and not that I love him. I feel like the word "love" is too ambiguous and is almost a selfish term these days. But if you respect your spouse then a potential fight will be reduced to a disagreement and you wont debase him/her.
And I think letting go is key to having a good marriage. Counseling strongly encourages talking as problem resolution but I dont think it works. I actually had a poster on this forum tell me to "stop trying so hard" and that advice helped turn things around for me. But the catch is you have to learn to let go without becoming resentful or playing the martyr (obviously if you're resentful you haven't let go). That is where i think boundaries come in to play.
Not really sure how i feel about 1, 3 or 6. I cant really think of anything worse then enduring an affair. And settling for an OK marriage does not seem like an accomplishment. Also, in regards to #1, I do think most issues in marriage are solved just not the way we think they should be. I think that the issues are almost never solved by talking about them. Usually applying the fourth concept of not arguing it to death is part of what helps to solve an issue, particularly very emotional ones.
I've been recognizing lately that so many counselors just chalk everything up to "communication" but in reality I think #5, respect, is the underlying condition - when respect (attraction) is lost I think its the fear of causing pain in your loved one that prevents this issue from being addressed... it looks like a communication issue, but it is really fear of facing the truth or acknowledging that respect/attraction can come and go.
Interesting post; I agree with all of them except 3 & kinda 6. Maybe a 'good enough' marriage is an accomplishment to some couples & they're content with it. The life of a marriage is constantly evolving and changing; good times and bad. Both partners usually want to strive for a 'good' marriage and it's not unattainable.
Abuse, physically or mentally is worse than an affair.
I would argue that an affair is emotionally, and potentially physically abusive. To me an affair is emotionally abusive on so many levels and if one contracts a disease I would also consider that physical abuse.
A big mistake I think people make when going to counseling is expecting that the counselor will 'fix' them or their situation. Doesn't work like that. The client has to do the hard work. Counselor's just facilitate it.
Completely agree. But I also think the majority of counselor's do more harm then good. Most of them just want you to talk it to death and nothing productive comes of it. I just left a counselor I saw for four sessions; he just wanted to hear me ramble while he sympathized. Waste of my time and money.
Oh I have heard this one before!! I think it's true.
And #5 is spot freaking on!
#5 is spot on and I think respect should be emphasized much more then love.
One adage that never worked well for my marriage, though, was not to go to bed angry. It usually helps me to cool off for awhile and sometimes the fighting happens at night so i need to let it go 'til the next day.
It can take a while to find the right counselor for you so, if the first one isn't right, try someone else. This is where word of mouth from friends who have used counselors and who they have found helpful can come in.
This guy was my fifth or sixth counselor. I had a religious counselor once who said he brought a rock for me from a "sacred grove" and told me that if i just held it when i was angry it would help calm me down... Ummm....i'm thinking if i hold a rock when i'm ticked off i'll probably throw it!