When Should I Stop Marriage Counseling?

It’s one of the most common stereotypes of therapy – therapy that lasts forever. Yes, it’s true that back when psychology was a beginning field, therapists believed that psychotherapy was supposed to last a long time. In fact, people would spend years in therapy before they were “successfully treated”. So it makes sense that one of the most common questions people have about counseling is “How long does marriage counseling usually take?”.

How Long Does Marriage Counseling Usually take? 

I understand why people have this question. When couples have difficulties you want them fixed fast.You don’t want to spend years and years trying to sort through marital problems before you can move forward in a happy relationship. So when couples ask me how long to expect marriage counseling to last, I usually hear a sigh of relief when I tell them “however long you need until you think your problems are fixed”.

You’re The One Who Decides When Counseling is Done

Yes, marriage counselors are trained to know what to look for in successful couples. They know how to help couples achieve these things that create success in marriage. But that doesn’t mean we’re the ones who dictate how long counseling lasts. In the end, it’s ultimately your decision about how long (or how short) you want therapy to go on for. But how do you decide? What things should you look for to help you know when you have successfully terminated therapy?
Below is a list of four key things to look for to help you see whether marriage counseling has been successful and you and your spouse are ready to take it on your own from here.

4 Key Signs of Successful Marriage Counseling

1) Consistency. Even couples who are having problems have good times now and then. One of the worst things couples do is terminate treatment at the first sign that they’re getting along. Before terminating marriage counseling, couples should have a solid 4-5 weeks of getting along together.This pattern of consistency shows that you and your spouse know what to do to have a happy marriage and are doing it regularly.
2) Doing Regular Things that Enrich your Marriage. The purpose of marriage counseling isn’t just to help couples stop arguing so much. The purpose is to help them have a successful marriage. This means that no only do you need to stop arguing so much but you also need to be doing things that create love, passion and excitement together. Doing enriching things such as date nights, vacations together, etc. are great examples of things couples do together to enrich their marriage.

3) You’re Able to Let Go of Past Hurt. Every time a couple goes to therapy, they feel emotionally hurt by past damages. One of the tasks of therapy is to address these hurts and repair them. A lot of times couples stop creating new damages but don’t effectively heal the old ones. One key sign of being ready to terminate marriage counseling is when you no longer feel as resentful or angry about the past damages and are able to look forward to new things together.

4) You Feel Like Your Relationship is New. When couples have difficulties in their marriage, it’s usually because they’ve usually exposed a vulnerability in their relationship. A vulnerability is something about you, your partner or your relationship that makes your relationship weak. When couples fix this vulnerability in their relationship, a lot of them mention how their relationship feels new in a lot of ways. They’ve never had a relationship where this vulnerability didn’t exist. This is a great sign that your problem is fixed and you’re ready to successfully terminate marriage counseling.

Take as Long as You Need…But Not Too Long. 

Couples should take as long as they feel comfortable in marriage counseling to get their difficulties fixed. But that doesn’t mean you should plan on it lasting forever. Every couple has problems and could spend a lifetime in therapy if they wanted to. But when couples have difficulties, they usually just need a little re-direction to get their marriage back on track. After that, most couples are resourceful enough (and have also learned enough new things in counseling ) to help them through the rest.

12 Responses to When Should I Stop Marriage Counseling?

  1. I think that how long marriage counselling lasts depends on the situation that is being faced by the couple. It also depends on how willing both couples are in making a compromise or meeting each other's needs. Marriage counselling is all about the couples and never the therapist. 🙂
    RelationshipReality312.com

  2. I like how you said it depends a lot on how willing both couples are in making a compromise. Too often couples think the other spouse needs to do the compromising first before they themselves will even think about compromising. This causes a game of chicken waiting for the other one to back down and compromise first.

  3. Hi anonymous, I checked out your website about save my marriage today reviews. It looks interesting. I'd like to learn more about it. Shoot me your e-mail address to tell me more. I won't publish it, though.

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  4. We have a different sort of dilemma in our marriage. I would like more sex and my husband has no desire. He claims to have ED but he is unwilling to make an attempt at trying to have relations of any kind. He claims he doesn't have erections at any time during the night or in the morning. He's also been sleeping in the guest bedroom for the past 8 months but sleeps with me on some mornings when he doesn't have to work. Although marriage counseling has helped us in the past after his first affair, he is refusing any and all help now.
    I also have MS and am in a wheelchair but am still capable of being sexually active. I love my husband dearly and am deeply frustrated and confused. He loves me but has so many excuses for not wanting an equally-satisfying relationship. He says he is satisfied and feels we have a strong and healthy marriage.
    Any help or advice would be deeply appreciated.

  5. Well, this is my first visit to your blog! Your marriage counselling blog provided us valuable information to work on the relationship. You have done an excellent job! Thanks for such post and keep it up.

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