You might think, “What makes you write the article, and how well do you know the subject?” Well, I am a couples’ counselor… Sort of. No, not the ones you see in expensive therapy clinics. I’ve been nominated an expert couples’ counselor by the many couples who have sought friendly advice and therapy from me since the past 15-20 years.
While I don’t have a certificate to prove my experience and expertise, I have the knowledge and the wisdom to guide troubled couples and get them back on track. But sometimes, no matter how much I try, it doesn’t work. When I feel that the couple I’m working with isn’t progressing positively, I refer them to a certified counselor. But unfortunately, for some couples, even with an expert on their case, they just can’t handle each other anymore. That is a bitter fact.
We were happily married, what went wrong?
A lot of things can go wrong in a happy marriage. You don’t even have to invite trouble, because from personal experiences, trouble finds its way in! But the most common reason, again from the stories I’ve heard from other couples, is that “We just don’t know each other anymore.”
It’s true, and you might have loved your spouse and tied the knot, hoping to live the rest of your lives together and then one day, reality snaps. You become strangers when you no longer have the same ideas, the same thoughts or the same passion. It’s not uncommon for two people to be married for years, only to find out that life isn’t what they expected it to be. [Read: 12 real reasons why couples drift apart over time]
So what do they do? They opt for couples therapy, thinking that maybe someone else can help them solve their problems, but does it work? Yes and no.
Why couples therapy doesn’t work for some couples
#1 “Couples therapy is for losers.” This is exactly what you’ll hear from one partner to another when it comes to couples therapy. To give you an example, a friend once came over to my house with her husband and asked me to help her out. While I was familiar with the therapy, I didn’t know where to begin!
In an instant, her husband blurted out that couples therapy was a crazy idea – a last resort for losers. That is when I realized that if only one of the two is willing to participate, even an expert can’t help them. [Read: 7 signs you’re trapped in a troubled relationship]
#2 Some couples therapists are not personally qualified. I asked my friend to go visit an expert therapist, because I personally knew it was not something I could fix. Of course, her husband was hesitant, but he did finally visit one, and that evening, they came back. I wasn’t sure how to begin, but lucky for me, my friend told me that the expert, who has years of experience and a certificate, wasn’t qualified.
I was surprised, and naturally, curiosity got the better of me. I asked her why she thought the therapist wasn’t qualified. Both of them agreed that because the therapist was divorced, she wasn’t qualified! And to make their point her husband said, “It’s only natural, I mean, would you take fitness advice from an overweight person who just had a bypass surgery?” As you can imagine, I was speechless.
#3 “It will only make matters worse!” This might come as a surprise, but a lot of couples, especially women, think that a couples therapy would make things much worse. First, I couldn’t understand why, but about a few years ago, my neighbor was having a really tough time with her husband.
Naturally, when we were alone, I invited her over for snacks, and when she came over, she started complaining about how rough their marriage has been. After speaking to her for about an hour, I casually asked her to invite her husband, so we can talk about things and sort it out. The moment I said that, she begged me not to do it.
Most of the time, after a couples therapy, these couples focus on each other’s faults and argue all the time. They go to an extent that they can make the other feel more resentful and hopeless. You see where the problem is? You want a solution, but you’re afraid to take it.
#4 “We’re not meant for each other… Anymore.” When this happens, I know for sure that no matter how hard you try, couples therapy won’t work. This is simply because not one, but both of them are not interested in living under the same roof. If this is the case, why stay married in the first place?!
You know, the fastest way to burn a relationship is to focus on each other’s faults and expand them so much that you no longer see the person you fell in love with anymore. What happens then? Finally, you feel that maybe you were not meant for each other, so why try couples therapy when you’re sure you don’t love each other anymore? They decide the results before even trying. [Read: 12 signs you’re walking on eggshells in your love life]
#5 “Couples therapy is for women, but I’m a man!” If all men were designed to share their feelings like women do, it’s obvious that it would be a dream come true! But unfortunately, that is not the case, and no matter how much women crave that emotional connection, sometimes, it isn’t possible.
This is because many men think that feelings, emotions and sentiments are not a “guy’s thing,” and therefore, couples therapy is a woman’s thing. When I asked my neighbor’s husband, quite casually, what he thought of couples therapy, he told me, “It’s like asking a woman in her bikini eating a creamy cupcake how much she weighs!” Well, that did leave me speechless! [Read: 7 reasons why empathy is so important in a relationship]
Why couples therapy isn’t going to work as expected
Now you must understand that while I did manage to help revive dead relationships, others only failed, and the reason is that couples therapy isn’t for everyone. You can’t just hope to hire some therapist and expect them to snap their fingers, and voila! Marriage fixed!
If therapies aren’t working for you, you still have hope, so you’re not alone. Attend some marriage seminars, maybe some couple classes, read a book or two about how to get your marriage back on the track or watch movies.
There’s a lot more you can do provided that, and this is important, you’re both willing to change. But if you’re clearly not willing, you might think that couples therapy is definitely a recipe for failure, but a lot of times, therapy has helped couples separate happily. It has helped them accept that their marriage was a failure, and most of them are happy with their new lives. [Read: 14 most common reasons relationships fail]
Couples therapy is not a magic spell that will fix a broken marriage. It requires participation, an open mind, and effort to make things work. If you have none of that, not even the highest paid couples therapist can help you.
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