When it comes to modern marriage counselor services, it’s important to understand that not all are created equal. For this reason, it’s important to search for those who have great marriage counselor traits like those listed below. These are a few qualities or traits to seek when finding the right person to help you save your relationship.
A Great Marriage Counselor Has a Clear and Structured Process
Many counseling sessions end up turning into, “Let’s talk about the fight of the week!” or “Let’s only talk about how we’re feeling right now” instead of a clear sequence that keeps the conversation on track from start to end.
Not having a clear structure is a big mistake and ends up wasting a lot of time. Worse, it could even lead couples into treacherous waters if we keep following the trail of the last big fight instead of gently guiding the couple back to the process.
This is the #1 trait that sets apart great marriage counselors from decent ones or from even bad ones.
Marriage Counselors Should Speak Simply
Far too many counselors seek to impress people with jargon. The problem is that jargon is difficult to understand and invites misunderstandings. Unfortunately, these misunderstandings are often what cause couples to seek counseling in the first place. You need a marriage counselor who speaks simply and can help break down thoughts you have trouble putting into words so that your partner can understand. Jargon only creates more confusion when most relationship problems come down to specific, simple emotions and needs that aren’t being met.
That is why the ability to speak simply makes it on our list of traits for great marriage counselors.
Great Marriage Counselors Should Challenge Both Partners
Relationships require work – on both sides – to succeed. It’s rarely the sole fault of one person when relationships fail or the sole effort of one person when they succeed. It takes two people working together and actively trying to make it work.
When things begin to break down and fall apart, however, it is often one person who wants to consider marriage counseling while the other person may feel reluctant to discuss feelings or air “dirty laundry” in front of a stranger. Many fear that the counselor may take the other partner’s role exclusively. When counselors do this, it creates further defensiveness and makes healing more difficult to achieve.
However, when marriage counselors challenge both partners it encourages more productive, honest, and effective conversations that can bring about genuine healing for the relationship.
A Great Marriage Counselor Doesn’t Seek to Define Your Marriage for You
Your marriage belongs to you and your partner. It is special and unique. It is for you and your spouse to define. No one else. Not even your counselor. That doesn’t mean your counselor won’t ask questions or even challenge your choices or motivations. However, your counselor should never seek to insert his or her personal biases into your marriage. If the dynamics within your marriage are working for you and both of you are truly happy with those dynamics whether they relate to your sexual relationship, your religious or spiritual relationship, the openness of your marriage, or the power exchange within your marriage, then your counselor should not encourage you to change those dynamics.
However, if it is discovered, through the process of asking questions that the dynamics of your relationship may be causing problems with one or both partners, you can expect a great marriage counselor to dig a little to help resolve problems that may arise from these dynamics to help you find solutions you can both live with.
Seek to Clarify Rather than Create More Confusion
Couples seek marriage counseling to clarify problems in their marriages – not to compound them. You need a counselor who can dig deep to find the underlying causes of your problems. Most often, these are simple concepts and problems that have been unaddressed for so long that they have become simmering resentments and feelings of hopelessness.
After visiting your counselor, you should leave the office with glimmers of hope – even after emotional sessions that may leave you feeling raw and exposed along the way. The goal is to find hope and confidence. More importantly, it is to rekindle the spark of love that is the foundation of your marriage. If you end your counseling session feeling more confused and hopeless than you felt when entering, then this might not be the best marriage counselor to meet your needs.
Marriage counseling won’t solve all your relationship problems in a single session. It doesn’t work that way. However, each marriage counseling session should find you feeling more connected with your spouse and remind you of why you fell in love with this remarkable human being in the first place. This will be especially true if you are fortunate enough to work with a counselor who practices these great marriage counselor traits.
If you and your partner are still on the fence about traditional marriage counseling, perhaps it’s time to consider an alternative and schedule a free consultation with Kairos for relationship and personal growth coaching instead. You just might find that this offers the perfect solution for you and your partner to get your relationship back on track.