Table of Contents
A successful marriage is every couple’s goals. Many people get into the institution of marriage with the hope of living a happy life together. However, not all marriages work out in either the short run or the long run. Often, when things fail to work out, couples resort to counseling: with the aim of possibly restoring the initial happiness. For this reason, couple counseling has become a critical institution within the social network. Some people have sought the help of counselors without success while others have completed their sessions with effective results. Many factors contribute to the success or failure of counseling for any given couple. Various researchers have studied the effectiveness of couple counseling on restoring satisfaction to a marriage. Nonetheless, most of the recorded studies have shown limited success in their evaluation of the advantages of couples counseling.
The present paper aims to establish whether couple counseling contributes to successful and happy marriages.
Background of the Study
Many people hold marriage as a sacred institution thus valuing a successful one. According to Boss (2009), a large percentage of people regard a successful marriage as a meaningful life purpose. Many reasons motivate people to get married though being diverse. Most people think of marriage as a union that comes with its benefits such as emotional and physical support (Kepler, 2015). Despite many people desiring happy marriages, few have managed to establish such. Various factors including financial constraints have led to an upsurge in divorce cases. Kepler observes that despite most people looking forward to happy marriages, there is a 40-50% possibility of couples divorcing.
There are no specific causes for failed marriages. Most of that fail often do so following a variety of diverse reasons. However, there are some common reasons that in one way or the other contribute to the collapse of the marriage institution. For instance, communication breakdown, infidelity, and financial issues are among the most common factors that lead to marriage breakdown. However, communication plays the most critical role in the success of failure of a marriage. Perhaps, it is because communication entails discussion on the pertinent issues that affect the marriage (Kepler, 2015). As such, there has been a growing social thoughtfulness in couple counseling to promote communication and understanding within the wedlock and possibly promote happiness.
Couples counseling has been focusing on helping couples to identify and resolve conflicts to succeed in their marriages. Marriage counseling focuses on the reconstruction of breaking relationships (Kepler, 2015). However, the ultimate goal is to leave the couple happy either together or as individuals if need be. Although it is the desire of most people to have a happy marriage, the divorce rates are at an alarming level. Therefore, the present study seeks to establish whether there has been any positive impact on the level of satisfaction in marriages due to couple counseling.
The Significance of the Study
The process of couple counseling is deeply rooted within the social work profession. Working closely with the emotionally and socially disturbed people is a noteworthy commitment in the social context. Understanding and resolving distress within marriage has been a fundamental process within the profession. In intervening with the distressing situation, social workers have focused on the treatment of the basic unit of the family (Petch, Lee, Huntingdon, & Murray, 2014). Therefore, a significant paradigm shift focuses on the couple as a family as opposed to the individual. The practice aims to restore happiness and help couples in living an accomplished life. While couples start happily when getting into marriage, they often become distressed with time (Petch et al., 2014). When marriages fail, couples will respond in diverse ways. Most resort to counseling, which has been the most popular intervention (Bond, 2009). Despite couples undertaking to counsel, the divorce rates keep on increasing. There is a critical need to improve the success of the marriage as a whole for the benefit of both individuals. It is only through a clear understanding of the effectiveness of couple counseling that the institution of marriage can be reconstructed.
The fact that most people value a successful marriage makes many people aspire to get married at some point. Nobody aspires to get married to get sad. Usually, a person will seek a partner to increase their happiness. Various factors determine whether the marriage turns out to be happy or not. Perhaps, couples in a successful marriage will often communicate and understand each other’s flaws in sustaining their relationship by fulfilling their obligations (Bond, 2009). However, there is never a single element making a marriage successful. Both positive and negative ratios determine the stability of a marriage. The uncertainties render the determination of the success of couple counseling difficult.
People’s experiences with couple counselors are many, but the ensuing results and their effects on the well-being of marriage are not aptly recorded. Some people will even question whether marriage counseling ever works. However, using randomized clinical trials, (McAdams III et al., 2015) concluded that it is simplistic to argue that marriage counseling is a futile attempt in salvaging a marital union. Just because a person underwent therapy and the counseling did not work, does not necessarily discount the fact that it works for others. Many factors determine the success or failure of couple counseling. Most researchers, however, agree that there is little success in showing the advantages of counseling for married couples. Nonetheless, the average couple needs to understand that counselors are consultants that and not fixers. For that reason, it is the responsibility of the couple to make their union work; the counselor only offers assistance.
Currently, there is limited information on the efficacy of couple counseling. Although many researchers have been conducting random tests and trials on the efficacy of couple therapy, minimal results have been documented. Most of the couples that are involved in the trials fail to give critical information to third parties due to emotional breakdown in instances where their marriage fails. Anker, Duncan, and Sparks (2009), after conducting a comprehensive survey observed that there is a confidence crisis among counseled couples. Therefore, when conducting the efficacy studies, it is easy to get unbiased results. Indeed, marital issues are very emotive subjects hence the disclosure of such details may not always be welcome. The effects of feedback may distort the results of any research. Anker et al., (2009) state the lack of confidence in the study of the efficacy of couple counseling results in uncertainties.
Other problems fail couple counseling. For instance, Moller and Vossler (2015) conducted a study using open-ended questionnaires and observed that the issue of marriage is very ingrained and personal to be resolved by the efforts of an outsider only. In fact, the marriage counselor happens to be a third party in marital issues. If the couple were not comfortable disclosing their affairs to one another, then it would be ignorant to assume that they will do so to another person. Besides, one or both the partners may be unwilling to respond to the instructions of the counselors. On the other hand, the presence of indolent therapists may lead to incomplete results. The motivation of the partners is the core of the success of couple counseling (Moller & Vossler, 2015). Unfortunately, most people will seek the help of a counselor when they already have given up in their marriage. Counseling is a consuming process as regards finances and time. Therefore, it should be conducted effectively if results are to be seen.
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Previous researches have documented the role of couple counseling in marriages. Some have shown the advantages of seeking professional help when things fail to work in a marriage. However, critical information has been lacking on the extent to which the counseling programs have been effective. It is unfortunate that despite many people aspiring to have successful and happy marriages, the divorce rates are increasing. Various studies have revealed the major causes of inefficiency, yet they have not addressed the ways in which couple counselor can ensure that the merits are visible. The present research would serve a critical role in sealing the existing loopholes in the field of marriage counseling by ensuring it is appreciated as a noble undertaking.
- Anker, M. G., Duncan, B. L., & Sparks, J. A. (2009). Using client feedback to improve couple therapy outcomes: A randomized clinical trial in a naturalistic setting. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 77(4), 693.
- Bond, S. (2009). Couple and family therapy: The evolution of the profession with social work at its core. Intervention, la revue de l’Ordre des travailleurs sociaux et des thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Québec,, 131, 128-138.
- Kepler, A. (2015). Marital Satisfaction: The Impact of Premarital and Couples Counseling.
- McAdams III, C. R., Chae, K. B., Foster, V. A., Lloyd-Hazlett, J., Joe, J. R., & Riechel, M. K. (2015). Perceptions of the first family counseling session: Why families come back. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 26(4), 253-268.
- Moller, N. P., & Vossler, A. (2015). Defining infidelity in research and couple counseling: A qualitative study. Journal of sex & marital therapy, 41(5), 487-497.
- Petch, J., Lee, J., Huntingdon, B., & Murray, J. (2014). Couple counselling outcomes in an Australian not for profit: Evidence for the effectiveness of couple counselling conducted within routine practice. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 35(4), 445-461.