Although couples counseling can certainly help repair a rocky union, recent studies suggest that relationships improve even when just one spouse seeks out professional help.
Beyond that, experts have found that couples tend to fare better when the wife attends marriage therapy sessions alone.
According to a University of Denver study cited by The Wall Street Journal, marriage counseling is most effective when both spouses are on board with it.
Unfortunately, it’s all too common for one partner to be less than enthusiastic about seeing a therapist. In that case, therapy can still have a positive impact on a marriage if one spouse decides to go it alone.
In the University of Denver study, the results were the same for spouses who attended counseling without their partner versus couples who received counseling together.
For couples with just one participating spouse, the research also suggests that counseling is more successful when the female partner attends the sessions.
This revelation comes as no surprise to gender communication experts. In an article for The Discovery Channel, Susan Sherwood, Ph.D., writes that men and women communicate differently.
From solving problems to handing out compliments, the gender divide is broad when it comes to conveying thoughts and feelings.
Whereas men tend to communicate via action, women typically express their feelings through speech.
This explains why female partners get much more out of marriage counseling than their male counterparts.
Women who attend counselling alone generally learn tactics for how to cope with various problems that arise in a marriage. The following six suggestions are among the most common strategies female partners take away from therapy sessions.
Each one focuses on ways women can modify their behavior to have a positive influence on their relationships. Properly implemented, these changes can create a chain reaction that enriches even the most troubled marriage.
1. Speak Your Mind
When something is bothering you, don’t be afraid to speak up. According to Dr. Leon F. Seltzer writing for Psychology Today, women tend to camouflage their emotions. Bottling up strong emotion can create feelings of resentment toward your spouse.
Men, on the other hand, are more likely to verbalize their problems. Speaking up when you sense a problem can help you and your spouse communicate more effectively and save your marriage.
After all, your husband won’t know if something is bothering you unless you tell him.
2. Treat Your Spouse as an Equal
Today’s busy lifestyles often make each day feel like an endless round of chores.
If you have children, it’s easy to treat your husband as just another child to look after.
Treating your husband like an equal will encourage him to work with you as a team.
3. Avoid Passive-Aggressive Communication to Save Your Marriage
Instead of hiding your anger behind a cold shoulder, address marital problems as soon as they occur.
Your spouse shouldn’t have to guess at what is bothering you. Some married couples even benefit from formal mediation.
Trained family law attorneys, such as the domestic relations experts at Irwin Mitchell, can assist you in mediating serious disputes. In many cases, successful mediation preserves the marriage and teaches spouses how to communicate more effectively.
4. Stand Up for Yourself
Many women are socialized to emotionally collapse when faced with conflict. As peacekeepers, women often clam up just to smooth over conflict. If you want to save your marriage, remember: until you address your concerns, they will go unresolved.
5. Don’t Ignore Intimacy
Healthy marriages require many forms of communication, including physical contact. Intimacy is just another way of expressing deep emotion. Showing your spouse you enjoy being together is critical to making him feel loved and appreciated as an equal partner in life. There are many ways to lighten up your flame with few games you both can enjoy together.
6. Say “Thank You”
Too often, people take their loved ones for granted. Close family members, including spouses, become a sort of wallpaper in everyday life. Show your spouse you appreciate him by verbalizing your gratitude.
With just a few small changes, you can make a big difference in your relationship and save your marriage.
Whether your marriage is just a little unsettled or headed for calamity, positive change can rescue it from the brink of disaster.
What are your expert tips on how to improve relationship and save marriage?
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