It's not what you think.
But having a marriage on the rocks is a very possibility.
It doesn't devalue your love, it doesn't make you "bad" at being in a relationship, but it can be easy to lose sight of those things when you're in the thick of a true marital crisis.
A lot of people roll their eyes at this idea.
Why? Because they insist that marriage counseling always fails.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
If you can learn why marriage counseling fails (when it does fail), you can learn what to do to make your own couples counseling experience a positive one.
Here are 5 reasons why couples counseling fails.
1. Because your mind is made up
For many couples, the reason why counseling fails is because it's only used as a last resort.
By the time you and your partner finally decide to try marriage counseling, at least one of you has already made up your mind. You want out.
In order for marriage counseling to be successful, you need to start it BEFORE your relationship begins to deteriorate.
Use it as a tool to learn how to communicate with each other from the beginning and maybe you can stop the worst from happening.
2. Because you aren't being honest
In order for any sort of counseling to be successful, you need to be able to be 100% honest.
That's hard enough to do when it's just you working with your own therapist, having your partner present makes it even harder.
The reason why couples counseling fails is often because we spend most of the sessions hiding our true feelings for fear of hurting our partner.
3. Because one of you doesn't want to be there
Very often the reason why couples counseling fails is becomes one really isn't invested in the therapy — or your relationship.
If one partner has realized that they are ready to move on from the relationship, and the other is trying to use marriage counseling as a ploy to keep them by their side there's no reason for them to actively participate in the counseling.
For marriage counseling to work, both parties need to be emotionally invested and willing to do the work.
4. Because it's expensive
For many couples in a marriage who are struggling, finances can become a real bone of contention.
Money is a major source of stress in even the best marriages, so add it to one that is suffering and it's a bad combination.
The reason why marriage counseling fails is often because the high cost of the treatment itself can make matters worse.
If you can't get past the cost, you can't do real work.
5. Because there's just not enough time or direction
Unlike regular therapy, people enter into couples counseling with clear goals and expectations.
But that's not how therapy works.
It's great to have guidelines and goals, but you've also got to allow time and space for the process to really work.
In order for marriage counseling to be successful, you've got to be patient and since most couples start marriage counseling in a time of crisis, patience can be hard to come by.