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Marriage counselling - has anyone tried it? Did it work ?

(9 Posts)
henryhoover2 Mon 04-May-20 10:56:16

Just that really . I don't know anyone who's tried it. We want to make it work but we fight over the stupidest of things and neither of us will back down so it blows all out of proportion

OP’s posts: |
JustBeingMoi Mon 04-May-20 11:30:34

We have. And honestly I don't think it has at all. You need to both engage with it, and my husband barely opened up during it unfortunately.

growinggreyer Mon 04-May-20 11:34:34

We went to Relate and it was a shambles. The counsellor clearly took his side and told us to divorce. This was during the initial meeting! It did a hell of a lot of damage to my life and my future. I have since learned that this should not have happened and that she should have supported us to reach our own conclusions not waded straight in with her 'advice'.

Sorry, that is probably not helpful for you but do be aware that some marriage counsellors are not trained properly.

ReadilyAvailable Mon 04-May-20 11:38:56

I tried it with my ex. It kind of worked to a degree but couldn’t save that sinking ship permanently.

He tried to suggest we do it again but with a threat that it was ‘my turn’ to have to change. Because he (as always) has in no way recognised any effort or change or difficulty from or for me and could only see that he’d had to face up to his lack of care or commitment and his problem behaviours. The relationship had become more abusive since the counselling too, so I refused to go. Especially not since he’d framed it as ‘Counselling Part 2: My revenge’ in his head.

DH tried it with his ex too but it failed. He said that she threw a huge temper tantrum and stormed out several times, and in the end the counsellor offered him individual counselling about the abuse he was suffering. That’s unlikely to be an exaggeration either because she did the same thing in mediation several times and behaves similarly regularly.

I think it can work if people are genuinely committed to it and both willing and able to change. But that’s not always the case.

iamthrough Mon 04-May-20 11:58:56

I tried it too. It depends what you mean "did it work" Our counselling didn't "work" in terms of saving my marriage - I've now been divorced 2 years. However it did work in terms of letting me see what I'd been putting up with. The marriage counsellor was the first person to tell me I'd been living with a bully. I carried on seeing the counsellor as an individual long after we separated and she was a godsend in terms of helping me deal with my feelings. This was through Relate.

Notjustabrunette Mon 04-May-20 12:25:28

Yes I have tried it and yes it did work. But I would say you both have to be on board and want to make it work.
Be prepared also that it can be emotionally draining and it can feel like things get worse before they get better.

JaggySplinter Mon 04-May-20 12:27:18

Same as @iamthrough, it "worked" in that it opened my eyes to see him as an abusive narcissistic man, and empowered me to leave him.

I also saw how evidently he was unable to engage in introspection, how little regard or respect he had for me, and how he couldn't see the impact of his choices or his behaviour as something that he was responsible for in any way.

Do it didn't save my marriage, but them my marriage should not have continued. It did save me from a life of escalating emotional and financial abuse, misery and anxiety.

steppemum Mon 04-May-20 12:39:03

my friend has done it over the last year.

The relationship is basically good, they love each other and want to make it work. Neither are abusive, but there were quite a few things where they were finding it difficult. My friend was a bit at the end of her tether, exhausted and needed some things to change.
I really think it works best on a marriage that is like this, not on a marriage falling to pieces.

It has worked really well for them. Mostly (my opinion) because the counsellor gently got her dh to see areas where he was not communicating well, and areas where he thought his way was 'normal' when it very much wasn't.

She was very good. He said at one point, - she never actually tells us to do anything (long pause) she gets us to work it out for ourselves!

They are in a very different place now.

NewLevelsOfTiredness Mon 04-May-20 13:47:11

If you both really want it to work then yes, it can.

I've also known it help couples where they just don't have a future realise that and move on with greater peace of mind, and women who have arseholes/useless shits for partners feel strong enough to leave without feeling guilty. Oh, and one instance of a man seeing the constant abuse he was subjected to by his wife.

Can never rule out getting a useless one, of course.

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