our everyday life

How to Prepare for Marriage Counseling

by Sierra Koester, studioD

Frequent disagreements, infidelity, lying and financial difficulties are issues couples may experience in their marriage. When marital issues arise, it can be difficult to work them out with your partner, and one or both of you may wish to seek marriage counseling. A counselor can provide an objective perspective on marital issues, helping you and your partner make positive changes in your relationship. When you prepare for marriage counseling, you will show your partner and your therapist that you are serious about wanting to improve the relationship.

Ask yourself what events led you to schedule the appointment for marriage counseling. Understanding what led you into marriage counseling will help you set goals for your sessions.

Write down your primary concerns regarding your marriage. To determine these, consider which issues surface most often in disagreements with your partner.

Determine what you want from your relationship. For instance, would you like more quality time with your partner? Would you like your partner to be more expressive? Do you want better communication in your marriage?

Be open to change. The therapeutic process is all about change, which can be scary. However, if you and your partner are each open to making changes, you will have a better chance of succeeding in marriage counseling.

Realize that you cannot change your partner. Couples often go into therapy pointing the finger at one another, saying, "If only he would ... everything would be fine." Instead, focus on changes you are willing to make yourself.

Bring the lists you created to the first therapy session. Being able to refer to your lists will help you create therapy goals with your partner. Referring to these lists also ensures that you won't forget something important you want to share with the therapist.

Realize that marriage problems don't happen overnight. Likewise, your problems will not be fixed immediately.


  • Check your insurance company's provider directory to find a therapist in your network.
  • Be open to any suggestions the therapist gives.
  • Complete any assignments given to you.


  • Failing to show up on time repeatedly may result in the therapist terminating services.
  • Expecting your partner to change may result in failure.


About the Author

Sierra Koester has been writing professionally since 2006, contributing to several websites and blogs. She received her B.A. in psychology from DePauw University in 2004.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images