If you and your spouse have been struggling lately, one or both of you may have suggested going to marriage therapy. Marriage therapy can be highly beneficial to couples, no matter what state their relationship is in. However, you may be nervous about the prospect of going to therapy. Rather than continue to feel unsure and nervous, get to know more about what you might be able to expect from marriage therapy. Then, you can go into your first session with a better idea of what is going to happen and you can feel prepared to dive right in.
Expect to Be Given the Opportunity to Both Speak and Listen
One of the things you should expect off the bat from marriage counseling is to be given the opportunity to say what you need to say but also the opportunity to listen. You and your spouse are likely going to counseling because of some type of communication issues (as well as other problems). Because of this, the listening might be lacking on one or both sides of the equation.
In marriage counseling, you will be asked to speak and then give your partner ample time to speak to "their side" of the situation. Take that opportunity to listen carefully, not with the intent to rebut or refute what they are saying, but with the intent to truly understand and hear where they are coming from.
This alone can be one of the greatest benefits of marriage counseling because listening can be so difficult when you are in the midst of a fight or conflict.
Expect to Dive Deeper into the Issues
If you and your spouse are fighting over something seemingly simple, like a credit card bill, the argument is rarely as simple as it seems. There are underlying issues, assumptions, and emotions at play that may stem from long before you were married (even back to childhood, in some cases).
In therapy, expect to dive deeper into these issues you are having with your spouse than you ever have before. Expect to get to know your spouse on new levels, and to learn a great deal more about their perspectives and feelings about situations. With this learning comes understanding, and then you can develop better ways to address problems, avoid problems, and communicate with one another to avoid blow-ups and major fights.
Now that you know more about what you can expect from marriage therapy, you can go into your first session feeling ready and prepared.