Marriage isn't as easy as Hollywood lets on. It can be a source of happiness and fulfillment, but often it has its own unique challenges that aren't covered in the movies. These challenges aren't insurmountable, but if left unattended, they can take their toll on matrimony. A marriage counselor may be able to help with such issues, but many people feel uncomfortable with letting a stranger in on their marriage. To help clear the fog, here are some common questions asked by marriage counselors.
What are the main issues?
One of the first things a marriage counselor will want to know is what issues are a constant cause of tension and conflict in the relationship. Common sources of relational problems include child discipline, career concerns, finances, in-laws, communication, illness, addictive behaviors and infidelity. It's important for the couple to identify to the counselor, and to each other, all the issues that are pressing to them, even if they seem small, since smaller issues often point to larger problems in the relationship.
What is each spouse's largest issue?
After a list of issues is put out in the open, a counselor typically asks the couple to prioritize the problems. Often, the couple will not see eye-to-eye on the significance of each issue, and will have different answers for which problem tops the list. This is a common source of conflict with couples, and the counselor will step in at this point and, using his expertise, will choose an issue to start working on. The counselor is not choosing sides by doing this, but rather, is trying to find the healthiest point to try to resolve some problems, and after some progress is made, he will focus on the other prominent issues.
What measures is each spouse willing to take to resolve the issues?
It is healthy to put each spouse's marital concerns out in the open, but what is most important for the couple is to express what they are willing to do to ameliorate the largest issues. The counselor will not tell the couple what they should do, but will rather try to decipher how much, or how little, a spouse is willing to change to improve the marriage. Gaining this information will gauge which issues can be overcome and which can't, and from there a counselor can tell the couple what steps can be taken to fix the resolvable issues and what steps can be taken to deal with the irresolvable ones. If one or both members of relationship show a lack of interest in making any change at all, it may be a sign that the relationship should come to its end. However, if each member shows the dedication to work for their relationship, some real progress can be made.