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Can Relationship Therapy Save Your Marriage?

Updated on August 10, 2015

Divorce Rates in the US

Did you know that as many as 9.5% of men and 12.1% of the women in the US are divorced? These statistics, collected by the US Census Bureau and published in The Washington Post in January 2015, indicate that divorce rates have declined from the peaks witnessed in the 1970s and 1980s. The data also revealed that Nevada was the state with the highest percentage of divorces, at 12.9% of men and 14.9% of women, while New Jersey had the lowest percentage of male divorces and North Dakota the lowest for women.

What Makes Marriages Work?

While the divorce rates have declined, we still need to understand why they are taking place. To begin with, it is important to understand that intimacy has many dimensions, including honesty, trust, bonds from common experiences, love, freedom to communicate, and to give and receive feedback, says a paper written by Susan Menahem and published in the IPG Institute for Personal Growth.

When to Seek Help?

Conflict is absolutely normal in human marriages. Apart from seeking help when you can no more solve issues among yourselves, relationship therapy is also beneficial for new couples seeking to make their relationship strong. Couples wait six to seven years on an average before seeking outside help, according to the Healthy Exchange newsletter published by Dartmouth College in 2010. Trigger points that serve as a sign that you should see a therapist include hampered communication, an extramarital affair, when you want the other person to change, when you are living separate lives and when you are staying together only for the sake of the children.

Kinds of Relationship Therapy

There are seven key types of relationship therapy that can be used to resolves issues between couples, according to a paper titled The Effectiveness of Family and Relationship Therapy: A Review of Literature published by the Psychotherapy and Counseling Federation of Australia. These are:

  1. Experiential Family Therapy – The therapist helps develop insight into the family relationships by encouraging talking about underlying feelings and communicating openly with each other. This therapy helps to develop strategies to improve the situation.
  2. Structural Family Therapy – This type of therapy is operates in three different areas, the family, the presenting problem and the process of change. Structural therapists actively strive for organizational changes in the dysfunctional family as their primary goal.
  1. Cognitive Behavior Therapy – This therapy aims to modify individual thoughts and actions by modifying conscious thought patterns. It employs a rigorous, scientific set of methods that is regularly and consistently scrutinized.
  2. Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) – This is a holistic intervention that takes into account a wider system in which individual and family are involved, such as educational/vocational, peer and wide social groups, and neighborhoods.
  3. Family Problem Solving – This is an eight step approach that helps the client to understand the role of each individual in the family.
  4. Solution Focused Therapy – This is a solution focused method that inludes problem identification and motivation; the miracle question; possibility/hope; scaling/goal formation; exceptions and coping; confidence/strengths; and feedback.
  5. Narrative Therapy – This aims to increase people’s awareness of the dominant, helpful or unhelpful stories that are influencing their lives.

How Does Marriage Counseling Help?

According to an article in The Guardian, through Marriage/relationship counseling, you:

  • Learn to communicate better
  • Learn about common grounds of interest and how to use them to resolve conflicts
  • Learn how to state your needs clearly and openly within your relationship
  • Learn how to argue in a healthier manner
  • Learn how to negotiate for change within your relationship

In short, seeking professional help can save your marriage and help you form a healthy bond for a bright future.


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    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 2 years ago

      In my opinion therapy only works when both people are still "in love".

      Unfortunately most people don't go to therapy until one of them has "fallen out of love" or has mentally decided they're getting out. Essentially the therapy sessions are nothing more than a box to check off on the way to divorce court. They can then tell folks: "We tried therapy!"

      Having said that I truly believe the number one cause for divorce is (choosing the wrong mate) for oneself!

      Human beings make mistakes is generally accepted as a fact in every area of our lives with (the exception of marriage) by some people.

      Logically it makes no sense to believe one could have dated a bad boyfriend/girlfriend but everyone who gets married has chosen the "right person" for themselves. Seriously?

      The goal is choose someone who shares your same values, wants the same things for the marriage that you do, naturally agrees with you on how to obtain those things and last but not least there is a mutual depth of love and desire for one another.

      Another cause for divorce is some people get married for the wrong reasons.

      Maybe they had an "age goal", someone was given an ultimatum, there was an unplanned pregnancy, all of their friends were married, the perspective spouse had wealth, was "tired of being single" and promised themselves they were going to marry (the next person) they had a relationship with, one of them was in the military about to be deployed and wanted someone to be home waiting for them.

      A marriage based upon circumstances rather than love is likely to fail.

      Another cause for divorce is someone commits a "deal breaker".

      Anyone who has an ounce of self esteem will have some boundaries or "deal breakers" which will determine whether or not they continue in a relationship. For some people this may include infidelity, physical/verbal abuse, drug/alcohol addiction, child molestation, constant trouble with the law, unable to maintain a job, sexual and affection neglect, constant bickering, severe changes in appearance or personality.

      Outside of parental and god love all other love (has) conditions.

      "Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary."

      - Oscar Wilde

      Lastly "seasons change". In other words sometimes people (fall out of love), or they stop wanting the same things. Communication is the GPS relationships. It lets you know if you're "growing together" or "growing apart".

      It's been reported that (women) initiate 66% or 2/3rds of all divorce filings in the U.S.!

      There is speculation that better career opportunities and higher salaries have made them more independent than women of previous eras. The more options one has the less crap they will put up with!

      There are only two ways to experience joy and peace of mind in relationships: We either get what we want or we learn to be happy with what we have. Accept them as (is) or move on. The choice is up to us!

      One man's opinion!:)