It's hard enough to admit when your marriage is having problems, but it's even harder to find a good marriage counselor. You're trusting a stranger with the most important relationship in your life. How do you choose a marriage counselor that's right for you? Here's a checklist of things to consider when you want to find a good marriage counselor.
When it comes to marriage, there are many phrases that people use. It's hard work, it has its ups and downs, it's one continuous compromise. There are times in every marriage when outside help might be necessary- even if the problems aren't extreme. Once you've talked with your partner and made the decision to find a good marriage counselor, the next step is clear- to find one. This checklist will give you the basis for finding a marriage counselor that is right for you:
Make a list. You and your partner need to sit down and prioritize what you want individually, and then come up with a master list together. A few things to think about are: gender; the marriage counselor's experience and education; if their belief system or style of counseling is important (a Christian counselor, for example) or perhaps fees for each therapy session will come into play. Have a clear and agreed-on list of requirements before looking.
Ask around. Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to find a good marriage counselor, since they've proven themselves. A recommendation from family, a friend or a co-worker can establish a foundation for trust before the first session. In trying to find a good marriage counselor independently, check out their credentials and try to find satisfied couples that have seen the counselor.
Interview, before committing. This person is going to be a part of your most intimate details, your marriage as a whole could be in the balance. You and your partner both need to feel free to ask any questions of the marriage counselor to quiet any doubts. If either of you are remotely uncomfortable the counseling will be doomed from the start. Make sure you find someone both of you are 100% happy with the choice.
Set goals with the counselor. The counselor should be able to tell you a rough time-frame, how often they're unavailable (if a marital crisis appears), an explanation of fees and whether or not insurance will cover the therapy.
Choose a counselor. When you've chosen a counselor, follow through. Many couples start therapy and eventually stop going because 'things are better now.' The problem with this type of thinking is that the problems that existed before could crop up again if the full marriage therapy hasn't been met.
Admitting that your marriage has some problems doesn't mean you and your partner are incompatible. It means that you're committed enough to each other to solve your problems. By finding a good marriage counselor, you're strengthening your relationship together.