Let’s start off with just talking about how we’ve even created those misconceptions. I would like to start off with an experience I had when I was younger, probably 20+ years ago. It was focused around what someone told me about duct tape.
So, I was in a conversation with this individual, who will remain nameless, and their advice or comment to me was, “Duct tape can fix anything.” In other words, “This is a simple fix. It is not going to take much effort or not going to take much time. All you just need to do is this or that and then you’re done.”
To me, it felt like they were just glossing over the real issue or the problem, because it wasn’t a simple fix. It wasn’t just something where you could do a, b, and c, and then the problem was over.
I believe that this type of perception is creating in a lot of people misconceptions about a lot of things, including marriage therapy. Misconceptions such as, “You just come in and do a, b, c or get these skills or techniques, learn how communicate better, and it is going to solve your problem. It is going to be a quick fix then we can move on.” Unfortunately, in any type of interpersonal relationship, that is not true.
Marriage Counseling Misconception #1: We Only Need One to Two Sessions to Get Through This
One main misconception I hear from couples is that we only need one or two sessions to get this done. Now if you really think about your relationship in general, think about how long it took to create your relationship with your partner. Most people tell me they been dating six months to two years before they even committed to being engaged or even considered marrying this individual, and sometimes longer than that. Then, throughout your marriage, you continue to have interactions and create those bonds that create trust and commitment in the relationship. So, to think that just few sessions is going to change those dynamics created over years up to this point, it’s just not practical.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. You are not going to change your relationship in a few hours. It’s going to take time, commitment and is going to take making a proactive approach to changing stuff about yourself. Then, that will change your relationship.
Marriage Counseling Misconception #2: We Don’t Fight, So Our Marriage Is Good
Second, one that I come across is, “As long as we don’t fight our marriage is okay.” Well, it might be true that you do not have verbal altercations or arguments, but it is important to understand that just because you don’t argue or fight with each other doesn’t mean that you don’t have marital conflict.
People who truly have interpersonal issues with each other don’t always address or verbalize what they are experiencing or feeling. If you are in a relationship like this, you might know it through your interaction with that person being distant, they might be shut down, or they might be closed. Just because you don’t fight doesn’t mean that your relationship doesn’t need to be looked at and doesn’t need to be worked on to make it better than it is now.
Marriage Counseling Misconception #3: My Spouse Will Never Understand Me
Another misconception I hear is, “My partner will never understand me, how can marriage therapy help me?” That could be a perception from your point of view that is true to you, and we don’t say it is never true. However, it is important to understand that a third-party person can help you understand where the misconceptions or misinterpretations are occurring in a relationship and be able to give you a format or a different way of looking at the issue or problem that is being addressed in your relationship. In turn, you will be able to work through it more effectively.
Marriage Counseling Misconception #4: Only My Spouse Needs to Change
Another misconception I hear very commonly is that the counselor or marriage therapist just needs to change the partner and that the others doesn’t have a problem or involvement in this problem.
Well, the majority of the time, marriage therapists find that there’s one committed individual and there’s one being drug in the door because they are being given an ultimatum or being told by their partner, “If this doesn’t work, I am leaving the relationship.”
The goal of marriage therapy is not to necessarily change your partner but to help the couple as a whole create new interpersonal interactions and understanding of each other. The changed interaction with each other will change the individual and will change the relationship.
I hope this helps. If you do find you relate to anything I listed or addressed, I invite you to give us a call. I would be happy to help. Thanks have a great day.