Angie's LIST Guide to
Marriage/Relationship Counseling

Many relationships face problems and issues regarding money, sex, children or just basic communication. Couples counseling helps both people find common ground and understanding to improve a relationship.


It may seem effortless at first, but over the years it will take effort and attention to keep your relationship healthy.  Talk honestly with each other about your feelings and be willing to see a counselor.
It may seem effortless at first, but over the years it will take effort and attention to keep your relationship healthy. Talk honestly with each other about your feelings and be willing to see a counselor.

Seeking relationship counseling

Lack of communication is a major problem with some couples, yet many relationships continue to suffer without addressing the issues that erode them.

One of both you may regularly feel frustrated about different facets of your relationship. You may worry that your partner will dismiss you when trying to express your feelings. You may feel your marriage or relationship is not working and find yourself unhappy all the time.You may no longer want to spend time together and find yourself angry all the time. These situations signal that you may need some outside help to help you resolve painful issues.

When a marriage or relationship faces a crisis such as illness or money, couples can sometimes grow apart when they're unable to face what's happening to them. Often, an experienced therapist knows how to get to the root of the problem and help you both find solutions in a safe environment.

Maybe your relationship has become stale and boring and both of you avoid spending a lot of time together. When the joy of the relationship no longer exists but both of you want to stay together, you should get some expert help.

Benefits of couples therapy

To achieve success with couples counseling, both you and your partner must seriously commit to it. The length of time for marriage counseling may vary depending on the seriousness of the problems you both face. 

Going into counseling with the right attitude will yield the best results. Understand your goals in getting help from a professional, and know what you want from your relationship. A good therapist will work on communication skills and help you develop loving and understanding communication without destroying each other's self-worth. You will learn to face confrontations and gently communicate with each other about many things that may have felt too painful to discuss. Very often when people reach this realization, old barriers drop between couples.

A good therapist will teach each person to listen to a partner and clear up old misunderstandings. In turn, you and your partner will feel more cherished and will be able to create a loving, intimate relationship. Your therapist will teach you to communicate about past and future crises. Learning constructive conflict resolution strategies will help ease those arguments where two people walk away frustrated and angry.

Learning new strategies for dealing with frequently occurring issues is one of the main reasons for going to a relationship therapist. You will acquire knowledge to avoid or overcome the same old painful reactions that occur when a specific event happens. Your therapist will constantly motivate you to create awareness of your communications, both verbal and nonverbal. You'll learn that agreement between two people is not always necessary, but resolution is about having understanding for others and their feelings. Learning to appreciate and love the strong points of another person leads to a loving and satisfying union.

Finding a marriage counselor

When you seek marriage counseling, you'll want to find a therapist who possesses at least a master's degree in social work or counseling with training in marriage and family relationships. Marriage and relationships therapists must spend many hours of supervised clinical experience in relationship training.

Be sure to look up local relationship counselors using Angies' List, where you can see member reviews and ratings.

You may want to check to see if the therapist accepts insurance and what the rate per hour is. Many counselors who do not accept insurance will work on a sliding scale based on your ability to pay. You may determine whether you both would be happier with a male or female therapist.

Find out where the office is, make sure the location is convenient and find out how easy it is to make appointments. You may want to have either a telephone conference or a brief meeting to see how comfortable you feel with the therapist and how the therapist runs a session.

Some therapists will want to see you individually before a joint session. Find out how many times a week he or she wants to see you and if that works for you. You may also feel after a few sessions that the therapist you have selected does not work for the both of you.


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