Yep. We go to counseling—marriage counseling.

I spent 10 years in the dating world searching for and imagining my perfect husband. My husband spent three years married to someone else before he married me. We are both pushing nearly a decade in occupational ministry, are new parents with baby two on the way, and are navigating life’s changing seasons almost daily.

Needless to say, we each bring our own history, weak spots, and relational dynamics to our marriage.

I used to be surprised by people’s reaction when I told them my husband and I go to counseling. We’ve been leaders in our church and community for many years. Perhaps “counseling” doesn’t fit people’s mold for us.

“Really? Why? What’s wrong?”  they’d say, with concerned intonations.

The truth is, nothing. Nothing is wrong.

We Don’t Go To Counseling Because We Have A Weak Marriage

We go to counseling to build a strong marriage.

So there we are in a counseling session. We sit awkwardly holding hands on faded floral couches with our McDonald’s drive-through coffees. The vertical blinds in the room are tilted just enough to let the daylight in, but not enough to expose our identity. Like counseling is something to be secret or shameful.

Counseling should not be shameful. It should be celebrated and cheered for.

When someone is engaged in counseling, it means they’re engaged in their life. It means they want to make progress toward wise, meaningful life-decisions and health.

Why are we embarrassed to need counsel or coaching? Are we ashamed to be seeking support? Ashamed that we want healthier relationships?

What does that look like?  We sit down and talk with someone much wiser than us when it comes to marriage relationships about how to have a strong, healthy relationship.

Through Counseling We Get To:

  • understand how our past impacts our present
  • learn the other’s needs in ways we don’t normally have tools to talk about
  • get an outside perspective to help us see beyond ourselves
  • dream about our future and what we hope our marriage and family will look like years down the road
  • explore what emotional intelligence looks like in our relationship—it’s worth more than money, let me assure you

Do you know what the best part of counseling has been? Someone leading us through how to have those important, meaningful conversations on our own, day-to-day.

What we have learned in counseling hasn’t stayed there. It’s given us tangible tools to build a strong marriage.

Counseling is Not One-Size Fits All

I’ll be the first to admit not all counsellors are the same. They’re not one-size-fits-all. Each one brings a unique approach, education, and skill set to the table. There are even life coaches that support you in achieving future goals and ambitions.

One counsellor might not be very helpful… but that doesn’t mean allcounsellors are not helpful.  The next one could lead to a major breakthrough.

I have also been to a counsellor when everything was not ok.  And there’s no shame in that either.

Because there are just times when we need more help and guidance than coffee with a good friend can offer.

We All Need Counseling

Frankly, life’s too short to live in pain when help is out there. And good counseling still costs less than stress-leave, sick-leave, or divorce.

In North America, why does it seem more acceptable to pay for physical health with a gym membership but not for mental and emotional health with a counseling session? Either way, the responsibility is still on you and I.

Showing up at the gym without exercising doesn’t make us any healthier than buying an apple and watching it rot. And it’s the same with counseling, we have to show up and engage.

At the end of the day, I think we all need counseling. Because we’re all human. We’ve all been hurt or broken or confused by someone or something. And there is hope. I just wish it was more socially acceptable.

So, let’s let go of the shame of counseling and celebrate the pursuit of healthy, meaningful relationships and lives.

What about you? What do you think about counseling?

We love featuring the work of many different experts and thought leaders on marriage. Want to contribute to our blog? Email admin@marriedpeople.org to find out more.

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