Ideally, the time to seek couples or marriage counseling is when you are experiencing significant distress in your relationship. For some couples, it may feel like they cannot have a normal conversation that does not become an argument, while others do not communicate at all and are closed off from each other. For some couples, marriage counseling, in conjunction or following individual counseling, is needed to work through past and present issues of trauma, betrayal, grief and loss, control, and alcohol and substance use.
It is never too soon or too late to seek couples counseling. Coming for couples counseling is a big step and takes courage. Please know that you are not alone in your relationship or marital difficulties. Most of us have not had the models of healthy relationships and have not necessarily developed the skills needed to sustain and maintain our relationships. If fact, many couples need training in understanding why and how they are being triggered by their partner and vice versa, education and practice on naming emotions and assertively and respectfully communicating their needs and dreams behind their conflict, and active and empathic listening.
Engaged couples can easily get caught up in wedding preparations while not attending to expectations of marriage and considering how your history and expectations of family of origin, communication, conflict resolution, values, religion, sexual relationships, and children all play into your transition from engaged couple to newlyweds and beyond transitions.
Premarriage Counseling can help examine and assess what ghosts, triggers, strengths, expectations, communication patterns, and guidelines you each bring to your future marriage. You can use premarriage counseling to help you make thoughtful decisions about your relationship before or after engagement, and help improve your own communication and conflict resolution skills.
Remarriage Counseling for the Widowed or Divorced
Remarriage Counseling is seriously advisable for any couple with one partner widowed or divorced to prior to a second marriage. Unfortunately, remarriage has a higher divorce rate of 60% compared to first marriages (40 to 45%) (Falke & Larson, 2007). Research has examined the factors which may play a role in the higher divorce rates into remarriages. Remarriage preparation and counseling is helpful to examine and assess what continuing bonds, expectations, communication patterns, and guidelines you each bring to your future marriage.
Counseling involves communicating more about step-parenting, future children together, financial and estate plans and expectations, attachments to former or late in-laws, attachments to former or deceased spouses, and processing guilt and shame due to remarriage, widow/erhood, and divorce. The ultimate goal of remarriage counseling is to help you assess your remarriage readiness, compatibility for marriage, and to identify areas of strength and vulnerability you bring to this relationship.
For those engaged and married couples that are Christian, Christina Schultz is happy to offer you marriage counseling that integrates both Christian and Gottman Couples Method principles, as based on the “Partners on the Journey” program, by Dr. Paul T. Ceasar, Ed.D. and Darryl Ducote, L.C.S.W.
In addition to this program, Christina is able to use and integrate a Christian-Based Remarriage Program into the Remarriage Counseling for divorced and widowed adults.
Falke & Larson (2007). Premarital predictors of remarital quality: Implications for clinicians. Contemporary Family Therapy, 29(1):9-23.