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HOW TO USE RELATIONSHIP COUNSELLING TO BETTER YOUR MARRIAGE

HOW TO USE RELATIONSHIP COUNSELLING TO BETTER YOUR MARRIAGE

1. Going for counselling doesn’t mean you are a failure in life, there is no shame in seeking counsel. Men especially need to know this because some of them reject support because they don’t want to be confronted for their behaviour, are afraid of being vulnerable, their ego won’t allow them to listen or pretend to be know it all yet they know very well their relationship/marriage is struggling. It is a joy to see more men embracing counselling. The head of the family needs to take the lead in seeking solutions. Sometimes the man and the woman can be so fixated on their views, hurt and upbringing; a good counsellor will help them to see beyond self

2. Before you get married, go through pre-marital counselling. This will help you to psychologically, spiritually, mentally and sexually prepare for marriage. As part of pre-marital counselling, I also recommend a counselling session a few months into the marriage to see the progress the newly wedded couple is making, this is because it is one thing to prepare for marriage, it is another to start living in the reality

3. Even if you two got together either through come we stay, civil wedding or customary wedding without pre-marital counselling, in marriage, you can still seek counselling to better understand each other and understand marriage

4. Go to a counsellor who believes in marriage and who understands the belief system of the both of you as individuals and as a couple. Before I start the session, I ask the couple whether they are Christians, Muslims, African traditionalists, Atheist, Hindus or Sikhs. This is because our belief system informs alot of our decisions and how we view life

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5. Go to a cousellor who will be neutral instead of running to your family and friends who will easily takes sides. I have noticed that when the parents are benefiting from the wealth of their married child, they will rarely acknowledge the wrong in the child. Friends might give biased advice or react based on their bitterness or hurt in their own personal marriage. There is also danger in introducing many people into your issues as a couple

6. Go to a counsellor who will not dwell on the symptoms but help you two to deal with the root cause. Most of the couples come because of their current issues that are causing pain. As I delve deeper with them, they realize that what their relationship/marriage is going through is due to childhood issues, adult issues and personal issues that have gone for years without being addressing.  Counselling has to be holistic, looking at the bigger picture, not just giving a band aid solution to the latest wound

7. Go to a counsellor who will remind you why you got married. I realize time and again that some couples married for the wrong reasons and need to reevaluate, and I also realize most who married for the right reasons want to rekindle the love they once had that they lost when the children came in, when they dropped the ball,  when they pushed each other away or when they lost their way

8. Go to a counsellor who understands that there is more to life than marriage. I remind couples that one of the reasons why so many marriages are under pressure is because many have made their existence to be about marriage forgetting personal growth. Marriage will not bring you fulfillment if you are not fulfilled as an individual. A good counsellor will help you find yourself, not just address issues in your marriage

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9. Go to a counsellor who will allow both of you to speak. Marriage is not a gender battle or a shouting match. A good counsellor will moderate the session allowing both of you to feel heard without judging you based on gender

10. Go to a counsellor even when there are no major issues. Do not wait until your marriage is on the death bed to seek to find ways to attend to it. We take our cars for service even when there is no accident because we value our cars.  I encourage couples to also go for love check sessions where they evaluate the health of their marriage. This helps them nurture their union effectively, speak their unspoken thoughts and preempt issues before they become threatening

11.  Go to a counsellor even if your spouse will not go. Sometimes you might see the need to seek counsel but your partner doesn’t. Still, go seek counsel because you could be the door through which healing and direction comes to your marriage. Change will have to start from someone

10. Go to a counsellor who understands that sometimes because of hardened hearts, some relationships and marriages have to end. If your life is under threat, if staying is not good for you (and the children), a good counsellor will remind you that not sustaining a marriage doesn’t make you a failure in life. Sometimes the best choice is to end it, remembering that you have to protect yourself from the monster you love. A good counsellor will help you prepare for the fall out, especially when children are involved and equip you on how to start your new season

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13. Go to a counsellor who will not make decisions for you but who will help you understand yourself/yourselves, the options you have and the consequences of each of those options. It is your call to make

14. Don’t become overly-dependent on the counsellor. A good counsellor gives counsel but it is for you (and your spouse) to put into practice what is required to make your marriage work

15. Don’t go to a counsellor to put up a show. I tell those I counsel, “Don’t change for your spouse, your children or say good things in this counselling session because you think that is what is required. Change for you. Change that comes from personal conviction is the one that is sustainable”

16. Go to a counsellor who will teach you how to be friends. Money issues, communication, trust, responsibilities, parenting, in-laws, work; all the issues in marriage are easy to deal with when you two are not just husband and wife, but also friends

© Akello Oliech and Dayan Masinde

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Newbirthminds

Newbirthminds is a Christian media Platform. Our vision and mission is to publicize the Gospel all over the media, preaching the gospel to every soul, until everyone is reach for Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world.

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