You’re wondering if it would be a jailable crime, or maybe you’re hoping that it’s even possible, to kill your spouse with some huge verbal insult. Revenge might seem appealing. You do not want to continue living with the person. There is just no way that you’re willing to sit in a marriage counselor’s office pretending to be polite. You’re not interested in staying with the jerk. You’re even less interested in hearing what a referee has to say as the two of you snarl at or ignore each other during some dumb therapy session. But one day, out of the blue, you consider that marital aka couples therapy might be a good idea. “An impartial therapist could point out my good sense and advantages as a partner and that just might shut up my spouse,” you think to yourself. But what if things go wrong?
Let’s define “Wrong.” Maybe you believe that it means being pointed out as part of the problem for your marital strife. Or you fear that a couple’s therapist will take sides with your disagreeable spouse/significant other. If you consider “Wrong” to be “A therapist forcing me or both of us to agree with/ forgive the other,” then you’re understandably reluctant to be living a lie that can only ruin your lives more than they’re “ruined” already. Other or different definitions of “Wrong” might be on your mind, too.
What about the fear of further abuse in a relationship known for it? Competent therapists will call out abusive behavior for what it is. They are trained to prevent and to minimize backlash from violent spouses who hurt their partners verbally, sexually, or otherwise. In the event that a relationship cannot be saved, a therapist can advise the abused spouse of legal and other resources for getting past the problem.
Step back a bit. Emotionally speaking, if you’re fearful you’re not in neutral. That prevents you from seeing issues as they are. You might be seeing them as you wish to: strictly in your favor.
You might be evaluating the relationship with unnecessary negativity. Do you regard your spouse as your opponent or as someone beneath your level of worth? That lack of objectivity locks you in to one limiting mindset. It prevents you from comprehending that marriage therapists are not the business of torturing people.
Being open to other points of view might result in learning that you have other fine points to appreciate. A therapist can help a client to build on that. If the therapist identifies problems at your end, he or she can help you to overcome them. If the therapist identifies problems on your significant other’s end, he or she can help the person to overcome their issues, too.
Pat Your Own Back
It’s normal to fear that a marital therapist will take sides with your disagreeable spouse. It’s also common to feel concerned that you’ll be forced to say or to do anything against your better judgment. The fear is based on having difficulty distinguishing between validation and agreement. Ponder that thought until it becomes clear to you. Clarity will let you see a bigger, better possibility in terms of therapeutic realities.
The good news is that your doubts and concerns are shared by many people. You’re not unique in misunderstanding the nature and purpose of couples therapy, you’re normal. Let’s look at how couples therapy works to save relationships.
The Couples Therapy 411
It is possible to seek successful therapy alone or as a couple, and there are various types of couple’s therapy to suit specific needs.
Couples therapy helps the person(s) involved to sort facts from fictions. The focus is on identifying and admitting to areas of dissatisfaction and distress within a relationship. Taking responsibility for all that is part of the therapeutic plan. The goal is to jointly agree upon, and then to implement, a plan of action to repair the problems. Mutually agreed on objectives are chosen to improve on or to lessen the problems disrupting the relationship. The objectives are chosen to strengthen the relationship with better and healthier levels of functioning.
Seek out a licensed marriage or family therapist who understands your situation and leaves you feeling safe. You’ll know if the relationship is worth saving, and improving, in a realistic amount of time.