What Does a A Marriage Counsellor Do?

As too many marriage counsellors know only too well, many marriages end in divorce.  Reportedly as many as 90% of marriages in Portugal are reported to end this way and the rate is high in many European countries and the United States.  Many couples, for a variety of reasons now don’t get married at all and the entire institution could be thought at first to have little future.

Nevertheless, people continue to fall in love and get married even if at lower rates than in the past and even those in civil partnerships and other forms of long-term commitment may find at times that they need a neutral third party to help them repair the strains that a long term partnership, marriage or not inevitably develops. And thus so long as there is one person left on earth to love another, they will need a third to keep them from murdering each other over leaving the toilet seat up, clogging the bath with hair, or leaving dirty plates in the sink unwashed (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!)

The fearsomely high numbers in some countries would likely be even higher but for the efforts of marriage counsellors.  They may be secular professionals or practising members of their clients’ religion but in all cases, their role is the same – to do what they can to help the clients’ marriages succeed.  Yet for as much as they may wish it to be so, they can not fix marriages by themselves – it is the partners in the relationship who must do so,  The counsellor can only show them the way and help them to think differently about themselves, their partners and their marriage.

So How Do Marriage Counsellors Do What They Do?

Being advisors and mediators, trained marriage counsellors have a great deal of experience in their toolbox to help clients come to terms with the challenges in their own partnership.  First of all, they must be good listeners and fair-minded.  Without these qualities, building the trust needed to convince the couple to take the required action to heal their relationship is impossible.

Once a basis of trust is established, marriage counsellors are then able to use and teach techniques and ways that a couple may develop a closer relationship. Important steps on the way to this is helping them to open up and providing a safe space where they will be non-judgementally able to be honest with each other as well as encouraging them to listen more closely to what their partner has to say.

Conflict is often at the heart of marital breakdown whether from a lack of respect, abuse both physical and mental or general disagreements in how to lead a joint life.  It is essential therefore for a marriage counsellor to be able to teach ways that their clients can resolve the inevitable disagreements in marriage life as well as help in the healing of old hurts and wounds that are undermining the relationship.

Could You Be a Marriage Counsellor?

As mentioned above so long as there is love, there will always be a need for marriage counsellors.  For some people, helping to mend broken hearts and fix marriages and families is a calling rather than just a vocation.  The rewards of using one’s own therapeutic skills to make lives better are a reward in their own right.

Marriage counsellors thus need to be great communicators as well as listeners, able to coax out the truth from vulnerable hearts while explaining what should be done in simple, unambiguous language.  As in most counselling roles, life experience is also invaluable for the wisdom it provides.  Being able to draw on one’s own marriage for inspiration is helpful.

An aspiring counsellor should however take some training before jumping into the role.  It is essential to equip oneself with the best techniques and methods and develop the necessary skills before being entrusted with mending broken hearts.  A course, such as ADL’s Family Counselling or Relationship Counselling may be the ideal entry point towards a truly fulfilling new career.




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