What I Learned From Marriage Counseling
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What I Learned From Marriage Counseling

In 1988, I physically abused my wife. I was arrested and pleaded guilty to an assault charge. In exchange for not being sent to jail, I agreed with my wife to attend weekly counseling sessions for as long as the counselor deemed it necessary. Every week, my wife and I went to see a young woman counselor for one hour. She would report our progress or lack of it back to the court every month.

I married my wife in 1985, in 1987, we had a child whom we both love very much. I never had any problems with my son, but I had increasing problems with my wife. We argued more and more over money issues. I started drinking heavily over the course of a year.The issue came to a head in 1988 when I struck her while I was heavily intoxicated. This was a wake up call for the both of us. I knew we had issues that needed a third party intervention to resolve. At the court hearing,I had to agree to go to the counseling otherwise I was facing a short jail sentence so I agreed. Even without the threat of jail however, I would have gone to the counseling anyway at first.

My wife agreed to go to the counseling as well as I. She felt maybe if she spoke to a non- friend or family member about her problems she would feel better. I felt maybe I would feel better too.

We went every week for a little over a year. At first I liked talking to a stranger about our issues. After a few months however, my attitude changed. This counselor, however nice she was did not really care personally about our troubles. She was doing a job that she was trained for. I became more withdrawn at the sessions. I started telling her what I thought she wanted to hear, not what I was truly feeling.

if it was up to me, I would have stopped going after three months, but if I did that, I would have had to go to jail, so I continued.

My wife seemed to have gotten more out of the therapy sessions then I did. Often she went to see her alone without me after I feigned illness to avoid going on certain occasions.

To make a long story short, my probation was up after one year, I did not have to go to counseling any more so I stopped going along with my wife. I did not feel that the counseling helped me.Our son was growing up in our house so for the sake of the child, we kept our arguments to a minimum. We made it a point not to argue in front of our son. Our marriage continued for 17 more years. The bad years outnumbered the good ones and we finally divorced in 2005. I feel the divorce would have happened with or without the counseling. I realized that I resented the therapy sessions because I was being forced to go every week.

My advice for those who are considering going for marriage counseling is that both of you have to honestly want to get help. Forced counseling rarely works. It must be a three way street between you, your spouse and your counselor.


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