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Should we attend marriage counseling before considering divorce?

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2021 | Family Law

When individuals start to question the strength of their marriage, many people still see divorce as a last resort. Some couples consider a separation, and more couples nowadays also consider marriage counseling.

The stigma that surrounded both divorce and counseling in the past has dissipated over the years. Even so, many people facing challenges in their marriage might wonder: is it worth it to seek marriage counseling?

As with most personal matters, the answer to that question depends largely on one’s circumstances. It is helpful for individuals to evaluate their own goals and the goals of counseling to make their decision.

What are the couple’s goals?

The signs and factors that lead to a couple choosing to attend counseling will be different for every couple. However, there are three important goals that individuals should evaluate when debating marriage counseling:

  1. At this point in time, the spouses do not think divorce is the answer
  2. At this time, they want to save their relationship and find solutions
  3. And at this time, they believe saving the relationship will be good for their family in the long run

If individuals believe these three things to be true, then it might be beneficial to pursue marriage counseling. Some sources say that marriage counseling can also help spouses seek solutions during or before a trial separation.

The trial separation allows spouses time away from each other, as well as time to see what divorce might entail. In addition, marriage counseling still allows spouses to evaluate the challenges they face with the help of a trained, neutral third party.

What are the goals of counseling?

The decision is ultimately up to each couple. It bears repeating that marriage counseling will not be for everyone. However, it is critical to consider that the goal of any type of counseling is to:

  • Help identify and heal emotional stress
  • Assist in recognizing and changing behaviors
  • Improve communication skills
  • Give individuals tools to overcome problems and cope

Even if two spouses attend marriage counseling and still decide to pursue a divorce, the goals and tools obtained through marriage counseling can still help them move forward towards an amicable divorce or mediation. It can also give parents effective co-parenting tools.

Attending marriage counseling is indeed an investment – of both one’s money and time. It is not a requirement. However, it is something that North Carolina spouses who face challenges may wish to consider.