No one said marriage was easy. Most couples assume that the minute they’re married everything’s smooth sailing from there. But at the end of the day, even though you may be married, it doesn’t mean the work is over. In every couple’s life, there are going to be ups and downs, moments where you’re feeling disconnected and lonely even though your partner is beside you. Though these are horrible feelings to have, it’s also a great opportunity for you and your partner to accept that you may need help. Throwing in the towel doesn’t have to be your first option, rather marriage counseling can help give you the tools or the understanding of where your relationship is and where it can go. You may be scared to try marriage counseling, but knowing what to expect can alleviate any anxiety you have.

Now, before you even sit down in front of a marriage counselor, you need to decide on one. There are different types of marriage counselors who have various approaches to counseling. Some counselors give more of a “Dr. Phil” approach where they give you tools and suggestions while Naya Clinics focus on innovative Positive Existential Therapy. In order to choose the right counselor for you, it’s important that you research possible marriage counselors and make a decision with your partner.

You probably thought your years of having to do homework were long gone, but in marriage counseling, there’s more to it than just talking. If you want to truly improve your relationship, you’re going to need to work on it. Your marriage counselor may give you exercises or activities to complete which will make the sessions more impactful.

It’s easy for us to put the blame on other people but the reality is, your counselor is facilitating the process. They’re not in charge of changing your life or fixing your marriage – that’s up to you and your partner. Simply attending counseling won’t change your marriage, you need to put in the work in order to receive a result. Do the work, get involved in the sessions and reflect on them if you want to progress in your life.

If you think that the problems in your marriage are only because you’re married, think again. In fact, many issues which pop up in your marriage could date back to your childhood. Your counselor may ask you questions about your childhood, your relationships and how you communicated back then. By giving this information to your counselor, they’ll be able to see a clearer pattern and help not only to better your relationship but to also help you become self-aware.

You and your partner may go to one session, talk it out and then feel that everything is cleared up but that’s not the case. In order to touch on the problem, you need at least a minimum of three to four sessions. Of course, there are going to be things that are difficult to talk about, but rather than abandoning counseling, you need to push through those hard moments to achieve clarity and understanding.