How Couples Counseling Can Help Save a Marriage

by: Tammy Stoner

The marriage is troubled, attractions that led to the marital union have waned, and one or both of you are considering divorce. In one last effort you seek couples counseling, hoping that you can salvage the marriage. Can it help? Will it help? How will it help us with this problem? Each of you entered this marriage as unique human beings, bringing sole backgrounds, and life experiences. The wealth of experiences that you brought to the marriage, have provided you with a notion, that the way you view the world is the "real" reality.

You have tried to "fix" the problem with common sense, and logic, and seem to only have compounded the problem. In a last ditch effort, you decide to try the irrational, and illogical approach through seeking the help of a marriage counselor, hoping but not really "believing" it can work. The very act of going to a counseling session to obtain "outside" help is an act of change. You are seeking help for something you don't believe can be changed. Paradoxically, this is the first step towards change, as you are seeking a different solution. One of the most common fallacies of change is that if something is "bad", it's opposite must be "good". The wife who divorces the "weak" husband, to marry the "strong" husband, often discovers to her dismay, that while the second marriage should be vastly different from the first, nothing much has actually changed.

A couples counselor is trained to look at the problem from a new perspective, in order to create change. There are many tips and tools that can be utilized to help create this change. It might be as simple as providing opportunities for each partner to speak, and be heard, or as complex as telling each of you to continue doing the same thing you have been doing to solve the problem. A counselor might give you instructions to make yourself be "unhappy". Anybody can be unhappy, but to make oneself unhappy needs to be learned. In the language game just presented, symptoms are prescribed, a double bind created, in an effort to create the desired change. The therapist can help you "fix" the problem, using methods outside the box, outside your frame of reference, outside your logic, in efforts to provide solutions. It is this vast wealth of knowledge, that expands your problem solving ability, so that each partner can view a new, and "real" reality.

Tammy Stoner is a licensed clinical social worker and life coach. She provides training and education to health care organizations, and individuals coping with grief and loss. Skilled at helping people uncover the blocks that keep them "stuck", she is able to quickly find internal and external strategies to get "unstuck", and live a life you love.

For more information about coaching services, please contact her at