10 Good Gifts Counseling Can Give Your Marriage

10 Good Gifts Counseling Can Give Your Marriage

I once believed marriage counseling was a life preserver reserved only for couples in doomed marriages with pens and divorce papers in hand. And that if you had to go, you’d surely admit it only in a whisper. 

Now I proudly fly the marriage counseling banner and shamelessly recommend it to friends and family. We have done it and hope to again. It is not just for those strongly considering divorce. It’s for couples like us, and maybe like you, who are ready to experience the glorious surrender of admitting we need help.

My husband and I used to think we had it all together, that we were strong, and could take on anything by digging deep and working hard. But life has brought more challenges than we ever could have planned for, along with four kids, work, and all sorts of family, social, church, and community obligations. I could never have fathomed all we would have to carry as husband and wife.

Marriage counseling helps us navigate it all better, together. My young, headstrong self was wrong and far too closed-minded.

Let me urge you to make that appointment if you are considering it. The gifts are there for the taking. 

1. The Gift of Time

In a world jam-packed with distractions and loaded down with obligations, simply scheduling time for therapy can feel like a big, hopeful win. It reminds us that on our list of priorities, first comes God and then our marriage. Our healthy marital connection comes before all other relationships, including our kids. That ranking often gets rearranged and skewed toward our kids and work.

Making space for the appointments, setting aside all else, sends us a message that we value each other and prioritize our marriage.

2. The Gift of a Third Party

Circling up with a third party grants us equal footing. No matter the hurts, mistakes, or blame carried in, both spouses enter on even ground.

In marriage, relational ruts show up in our communication, emotional health, and treatment of each other. Small, unshared hurts snowball until we no longer feel safe to share our needs, opinions, and honest frustrations. Walls go up brick by brick.

Struggles can form due to daily pressures and all the storms we face, but we must also acknowledge that we bring unhealthy habits and thinking to the table as well. And no matter the cause, a rut is a rut, and we want out. Joy is worth fighting for. 

Letting a therapist help shift our gears is sweet relief.

3. The Gift of Deeper Understanding

There’s always more to learn about our spouses, and more empathy we can develop. Time and experiences, hardships and victories, all continuously change and grow us. They’ll never be an end to new territory to cover within each other.

Often it takes therapy to gain the freedom to share tucked away thoughts or feelings. A therapist’s questions help us uncover what’s hidden. Their guidance helps us deepen our awareness of each other’s thoughts, feelings, reactions, and behaviors. This understanding does not come easy. It’s hard but fruitful work.

4. The Gift of Clarity and Refocus

Affection for our spouse can easily be squelched. Therapy helps refocus us on each other, giving us a chance to consider again what we love and value about the other person. It also brings clarity to how we are misreading each other or are veering too heavily on either feelings or facts in our communication.

Most beautifully, a Christian therapist reminds us that our great purpose is to grow in the knowledge of the Lord, and then bring Him glory as we serve one another. Marriage is a covenant union that He’s designed with great intention to grow families, effectively serve others, and be light in the darkness. Being reminded to look to our Father breathes life. 

5. The Gift of Grace

Nothing can wreak havoc on a marriage as an unwillingness to forgive each other. Not forgiving ourselves also further impacts our intimacy. We are flesh and blood, fully imperfect humans. We fail each other and bring in past mistakes. A wise counselor helps us discover past mistakes that keep calling for grace.

6. The Gift of Communication

Somehow, it is so easy to forget to talk. After a day of school and work, evenings spin into juggling acts. The kids have homework and neighbor friends knock at the door. There is also soccer, dance, Cub Scouts, and dentists’ appointments. By the time the kids finally head to bed, we want Netflix to numb us. We get into a pattern of allowing our conversations to be consumed with logistics. That pattern steals our time to laugh together or to address each other’s thoughts and emotions.

This can often lead to having those needed discussions with everyone but our spouse. Talks with our parents, friends, or gym buddies start to take the place of all our conversations.

Learning how to communicate again is the biggest gift of counseling. Gates unlock when someone else asks the questions that help us become more receptive to each other’s needs. 

Feeling listened to and having the freedom to express ourselves more fully is tremendously healing. New communication skills are lifelong gifts we carry far beyond sessions.

7. The Gift of New Strategies

A great therapist listens and coaches, offering practical advice and hopeful strategies. Being given in-between session assignments is so helpful. It’s more set-aside time to focus on each other, and if we are paying for the counseling, we want the full benefit. These activities stretch our ability to communicate and encourage us to relearn how to enjoy each other. The homework might be something such as the strategy of going on a hike or walk (doing something active) together when we need to talk about difficult topics.

8. The Gift of Now

Healthy couples must deal with the past while also planning for the future. But we also must be present with each other in the here and now. Learning the mindset of presence in therapy is hard but life-giving.

9. The Gift of Identified Triggers

Healthier individuals create healthier marriages. Part of the important work of therapy is figuring out what our emotional triggers are so we can deal with them and be honest about them. We then can become more sensitive to those needs in our spouse.

10. The Gift of Ending the Blame Game

So often, rather than facing potential conflict and committing to self-reflection, we take on a victim mentality. We think we are the ones who have been wronged. We start to blame our partner for everything that is wrong and fail to take some responsibility for the part we play. In therapy, we learn to accept one another’s flaws and how to check in with what might be going on within ourselves when we feel upset. And then, when we no longer constantly place blame on each other, we start to have fun together again.

Our families need our marriages to be strong, as do our neighborhoods, communities, churches, and the world. Strong marriages shine God’s light on a watching world. Together, we are a better team for leading families and are more effective as servants to others. He has purposefully joined us together and we want to discover and walk out His plan for us.

We also need our marriage to be strong for us, so we can enjoy each other, give and receive empathy, have adventures, lead a home, co-carry burdens, be the people we were made to be, and have some fun together too.

Rebecca Radicchi, her husband and crew of kids, live outside Atlanta, where the summers are hot and the tea is sweet. She’s ridden the waves of adoption, breast cancer, and being the mom of kids with complex medical needs.  And, through it all, she’s seen that abundance can be found in the uncomfortable hard and in the easy beautiful.  She’s also discovered that whether she’s passing bread at the kitchen table, clock-watching in a hospital waiting room, or listening to a neighbor on a porch swing, God always has something to say. It’s a wonder really. She encourages others to listen for it too on her website and Instagram, and also connects with adoptive families at No Hands But Ours.

Image Credit: ©Getty/monkeybusinessimages


About Relationships

Today's role for a Christian woman takes many forms working together - mom, sister, wife, home maker, career women, and more. All of these relationships demand your time and attention. At iBelieve.com we want to help you grow in healthy relationships whether you’re single and dating, newlyweds, married or widowed. Find encouragement and feel uplifted with the sharing of personal experiences from women in every walk of the Christian women’s life.