Marriage Counseling Tips

Here are some marriage counseling tips that will help you get the most out of therapy when your marriage hits a rough spot and you decide to seek counseling.

According to San Diego-based Marriage and Family Therapist Lisa Kift, author of The Marriage Refresher Course Workbook for Couples, there are five marriage counseling tips that will help you get the most out of the time, money, and effort you are likely to invest.

Steven M Cohn, PhD, LMFT
The Portland Couples Counseling Center
1940 NE Broadway
Portland, Oregon  97232

Couple having a hot drink together

• Acknowledge that a problem exists • Acknowledge that you might be contributing to the problem • Be willing to consider behavioral change • Monitor your expectations • Be patient(1)

According to the Marriage Counseling Questions and Help blog, preparation is the key to starting your relationship with the counselor in a positive fashion. He suggests that both partners focus on the strengths and weaknesses they see in their relationship, as well as the flaws each sees in him/herself and his/her spouse.(2)

It is vital that both partners remember that they will only get out of therapy what they put into it. Therein lies one of the most important

marriage counseling tips that anyone can offer. Keep in mind that the counselor is bound by strict ethical guidelines regarding confidentiality so you should feel able to share your most intimate thoughts and feelings with the therapist. If you don’t feel that level of trust within a few sessions, it may mean that you need to find another counselor in order to explore the deepest of your marital issues.

Choosing a therapist should not be a task undertaken lightly. The Mayo Clinic suggests several marriage counseling tips to be considered when comparing potential therapists. The education and experience of the candidate should be evaluated. Logistics such as where the office is located and what hours it is opened may have an impact on your decision. The expected course of treatment might be something that you would want to discuss with a therapist before making a final decision. Although the counselor will not be able to give you specifics before beginning the sessions, he or she may be able to tell you how long sessions generally run and how many sessions are required, on average, to resolve specific situations. Finally, you will likely want to consider the fee structure of the therapist and whether or not your insurance covers the services you may need.(3) In many cases, insurance will not pay for marriage or relationship counseling, so be prepared to pay out-of-pocket.

Another of the most important marriage counseling tips is that both partners need to have a chance to talk and express themselves without being badgered or belittled by the other. When your partner is sharing his or her feelings, it may be one of the most difficult things you will ever do, but you have to be still and allow the feelings to be expressed. You’ll get your turn for rebuttal, but keep in mind that feelings aren’t always logical so your reasons for the things you do may not affect your spouse’s feelings about your behaviors.


(1) Kift, Lisa. Five Tips to Get the Most Out of Marriage Counseling. The Family & Marriage Counseling Directory. Retrieved April 10, 2011 from

(2) Marriage Counseling Tips. Retrieved April 10, 2011 from

(3) Mayo Clinic Staff. How You Prepare for Marriage Counseling. Retrieved April 10, 2011 from

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