Marriage Counseling What Not To Say (And What you NEED to say)
While you should always listen to your counselor over anything you read online (including from me), I can give you some advice on what not to say and how to get the most of it before you head in.
Real effective counseling is rarely going to be easy but as a basic idea you want to avoid attacking them, passive aggression or threatening divorce. As far as possible keep your emotions from calling all of the shots and be honest without intentionally causing pain.
Every marriage is going to be different in some way, shape or form. Hopefully the advice here will help give you some guidance but if you want some more specific advice then take a free marriage assessment quiz. It can help fix the underlying problems, not just address the symptoms.
Marriage counselors are blessed with the ability to hold their silence and listen to what others have to say. That’s what makes them so good at what they do. But sometimes, when couples really start to go at it right there in their office, they are hard-pressed not to say exactly what they are thinking. That’s because they can stand back from the perspective of a bystander and listen to what’s being said. They can hear what shouldn’t be said, and know what should be spoken but isn’t being voiced. They can see where couples make their mistakes, but are helpless right then to do anything about it.
They have to wait until things cool down a bit and then try to offer some sound advice. Well, the fact of the matter is that there are just some things that should not be said in marriage counseling, but warring couples sometimes are oblivious to this. So here is some advice on marriage counseling, what not to say:
1. You’re lazy.
Everyone does things they shouldn’t or fails to do things they should. Sometimes your partner is going to forget to take out the trash, forget that you want the dirty clothes in the hamper, not scattered all around it, or perhaps they never cook a meal, or wash a dish.
Well, while you can remind them of what they’ve failed to do, hopefully, without nagging, don’t ever state flat out that they are lazy. This isn’t just trying to get them to correct a bad habit, but pinning the blame for it on a defect in their character. It certainly won’t help in getting them to do as you ask, and it won’t be long before those words will begin to sound contemptuous.
2. It’s your fault.
When you’re going through a difficult period in life, where things just aren’t working out the way you want them to, it’s easy to want to blame it all on someone else. Unfortunately, your relationship isn’t going to improve until you stop passing the buck, and learn to take responsibility for whatever part you may have played in causing a problem, or making it worse. When you’re unwilling to admit that whatever the issue is, the other person isn’t solely responsible for the situation, you put a damper on attempts at reconciliation.
3. Maybe we should get a divorce.
Fatal last words. If your spouse hears you say those words their response is likely to be, fine, maybe we should. And that’s a great way to put your marriage on a downward spiral. Of course marriage can be challenging and you’re going to have moments when you get frustrated and wonder if it’s all worth it. You may not mean the words you say, but your partner doesn’t know that. They need to know that even when things are at their very worst, through all the ups and downs, you will be there and are willing to do most anything to salvage your future together.
Without that certain knowledge, your partner will feel that they are in the marriage alone. They’ll start wondering if you’re as committed as they are to resolving your problems. It’s okay to vent, but be careful never to utter those fateful words.
While there’s no guarantee that if you follow the simple rules above about marriage counseling, what not to say, your marriage will be saved, but it will help to make things easier on both you and your spouse, and your marriage counselor.