Marital Counselling for Stronger Relationships
In 2021, Singapore saw 7,890 couples dissolve their marriage, and the median duration of marriage was 10.7 years (Tan & Toh, 2022). As a counsellor, I am curious how many of these couples sought help from marital counselling when they first detected an issue in their relationship. Couples can benefit from marital counselling to overcome challenges in their relationship and strengthen their marriage. Counselling does not need to be a last resort before going for a divorce. Below are some benefits of marital counselling.
Having a safe space to talk
Counselling provides a safe space for couples to talk openly without feeling judged or condemned. Couples experiencing marital distress or conflicts often do not feel safe to be honest and vulnerable to one another due to past hurt or negative experiences. In counselling sessions, the counsellor facilitates conversations within safe boundaries for both parties to share their feelings and thoughts honestly.
Gaining a new understanding
It is normal for both parties to see things from their own perspectives and fail to understand each other. Counselling helps them to understand the situation from one another’s perspective and prevent misunderstandings from happening in future. Couples can also gain a fresh perspective of their issues from a neutral third party’s perspective and can help couples understand the root causes of their issues to manage conflicts better.
Getting unstuck from unhealthy interaction patterns
In my work, I see many couples who become stuck in unhealthy interaction patterns, especially when faced with conflicts. Some of them start a cold war with their partners, get their children to pass messages to their partners, or become hostile and contemptuous. Some distance themselves even when their partners are trying hard to resolve their issues. Couples are usually unaware of their unhealthy patterns until the counsellor highlights them and helps them learn healthy interaction ways.
Learning new skills and strategies
Poor communication is one of the main causes of couple conflicts. Counselling offers couples an excellent opportunity to learn to be better listeners so they can better understand one another. Besides communication skills, couples can also learn to better manage conflicts and their own emotions in a safe space. As they learn and apply these new skills, they can help each other by reinforcing each other’s efforts through feedback and affirmation.
Having a renewed sense of commitment
There is a saying, “Couples who grow together, stay together”. Marital counselling allows couples to grow together and become stronger in their relationship. It also leaves couples with a renewed sense of commitment to their relationship as they gain a better understanding of one another. One couple I worked with shared the good news that they are expecting their second child when the counselling ended. With another couple, the wife who had contemplated divorce, shared that her commitment to the relationship is stronger than before because of counselling.
Marital counselling can strengthen a couple’s relationship and prevent couples from taking the painful path of divorce. I advise couples to seek help early instead of allowing their relationship to be consumed by negativity as time passes.
If you would like to seek marital counselling, reach out to us via [email protected] or call us at 62355229.
Alternatively, join us for a Marriage Enrichment Programme to rediscover each other and strengthen the core of your relationship. To find out more, visit https://www.family-central.sg/courses/pe-mep/ or register your interest with us at http://go.fycs.org/MEP
Written by Eileen Chua, Senior Counsellor, Fei Yue Community Services
Tan, T, & Toh, N. (2022, July 9). Sharp rise in marriages and divorces last year with Singapore’s easing of Covid-19 restrictions. The Straits Times.