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A relationship between any two people will experience highs and lows. Be they family dynamics, workplace dust-ups or with a partner… there will be times when sharing a portion of your life with someone will result in stress between you and that other person. This is especially problematic in romantic relationships as the home is supposed to be the place of comfort.
Therapy and counseling are excellent tools for resolving relationship conflicts. There are a couple of popular options available, depending on your unique situation, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. When it comes to dealing with relationship issues, you’ll need to explore and compare the techniques used in couples therapy vs marriage counseling.
A Definition of Couples Therapy and Marriage Counseling
Depending on where you look, some might use the terms Couples Therapy and Marriage Counseling interchangeably… which is understandable. But each has distinct functions, depending on your overall goal as a “twosome”. What do you want to get out of the experience?
Couples Therapy is a form of psychotherapy geared towards helping two partners improve their relationship. The therapy focuses largely on helping to communicate thoughts and feelings in a constructive manner with one another. It also tends to delve more into each individual’s pasts, so as to help them better understand one another.
Marriage Counseling focuses not only on the individuals, but also on the marriage as its own entity. This form of counseling focuses less on the past of the individuals and more on the current situation… and where things are heading. This is more about the future than the past.
Couples Therapy Pros and Cons
Pros of Couples Therapy
Cons of Couples Therapy
Marriage Counseling Pros and Cons
Pros of Marriage Counseling
Cons of Marriage Counseling
To Sum Up the Pros and Cons…
To sum up what we’ve discussed to this point, we’ve put together this helpful infographic comparing the pros and cons of couples therapy and marriage counseling. You may find that one applies more to your relationship than the other does.
How to Decide Between Couples Therapy and Marriage Counseling
When deciding which option to turn to for your relationship, there are a lot of realities that need to be considered. What are you trying to improve? How much of the work to improve is on you and on the other person? How well do you think they will respond to each of these?
Go with couples therapy if:
Go with marriage counseling if:
Final Thoughts on Couples Therapy VS Marriage Counseling
Each serves such a unique purpose that a lot comes down to the needs of the situation, as well as the state of mind of each individual. Everyone has room to work on themselves. Communication is important in any relationship, be it romantic or plutonic.
Marriage is an institution. If there is no marriage, marriage counseling would not likely address the real issues in your relationship.
If the couple is married, couples therapy may be more likely to end in divorce… given it’s more directed at helping the two of you grow (potentially apart) as individuals and focuses less on the two of you as a single entity. Still, a happy divorce does trump a miserable marriage any day.
It may be a matter of evaluation of what is truly most important. If a healthy marriage is more important than your dream career, marriage counseling may be the perfect solution. If you feel stifled and aren’t sure your partner is truly supporting who you are, you may want to explore couples therapy.
Sometimes, the question really is: What matters more – you or the relationship? That may be the deciding factor. To help you figure out what you need, check out this article on Marriage Goals for ideas that couples should aspire to.
Finally, if you want to increase your happiness and life satisfaction, then watch this free video that details the 7-minute habit for planning your day to focus on what's important.