But.. they will not tell you. The therapist has seen your arguments and they know the troubles that led you to therapy. The therapist was trained to recognize signs of a failing marriage and what makes a marriage successful. And you wonder to yourself – “Does my therapist know if we will stay together or break up?”
Related: The Four Predictors of Divorce
Well, here is the answer from a real life therapist – absolutely not! Your therapist has no clue whether or not your relationship will make it. Therapists have years of education, experience, training, and supervision with relationships but they cannot predict the future. However, there are tell-tale signs of success or failure that some therapists observe during sessions. As a therapist, these are the top signs that a couple I am seeing will stay together, thrive, and make it.
Related: 10 Signs of a Healthy Relationship
When you are hopeful, the therapist can see that you (at the very least) wish for a positive change in your relationship. This observable hope in you also helps the therapist to be hopeful too. Lucky for you, therapists are often hopeful by nature because they want relationships to succeed. Key phrases that signal hope are: “I wish; I hope; and I want.” These are the budding words that lead to motivation.
Motivation puts some power behind the hope. With motivation, your therapist can see that you are looking for a plan. You want to get the relationship back on the right track and you are willing to do what is necessary to get there. Words associated with motivation are: “I will; I won’t do that anymore; and I’ll start doing that.” These words usually come after a shift in your perspective from previous sessions or from when you initially came to therapy.
When you “put your money where your mouth is” and put words into action, the therapist knows it is real. You are hopeful, you are motivated, and you follow through with what you want. There is nothing stopping you from getting to your ideal relationship with your spouse. When you come into therapy and talk about the actions you have taken, the therapist can see change happening. The therapist can also observe these changes live in the therapy session and give a solid prediction of where your relationship will end up.
Does your therapist know if you will make it? Absolutely not. But some solid predictors of success are hope, motivation, and action. Hope shows that you want to see change. Motivation demonstrates your willingness and curiosity of how to start making changes. Action puts your hopes and motivation into the direction that you want your relationship to go. So, lift your spirits, make a plan, and take action to show your therapist that you will make it!
About The Author
Chris Cummins is a couples specialist with The Marriage and Family Clinic. He focuses on working with substance abuse and couples in high conflict. Chris enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time with his family.