• The Modern Rules of Marriage Counseling
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    The Modern Rules of Marriage Counseling

    While marriage counseling may have started in the 1920s, a lot has changed in its almost 100-year history. In now in this modern day, it can mean even more.

    It had an interesting birth—marriage counseling actually began in Germany as part of the eugenics movement, meaning promoting more desirable genetic traits. The idea came to the United States soon after. It was promoted in the U.S. by eugenicists here also.

    Later, in the 1950s, marriage counseling changed its focus. That’s when counselors instead looked at issues in the family and helped couples work through them. For many cultures and communities, therapists still only treated those with psychological issues, and friends and clergy tended to be the ones to address relationship issues. For a long time, marriage therapy was a taboo thing to do; it meant you were having problems.

    But now marriage therapy has come to mean something even more different. In this modern era, where families usually consist of just parents and children, and not as much the extended families that used to create a different social norm, families are more autonomous and isolated. And so now the focus is then more on improving that marriage relationship to help the family unit as a whole.

    Over the years, people have realized that marriage therapy can be very helpful. Modern thought tends towards the idea that you shouldn’t hide your problems—you should talk about them. So the idea of marriage therapy is much more widely accepted today as a way for couples to work through issues and make the most of their relationship, especially with regard to connecting and communicating.

    The trend is likely to continue to grow. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that jobs for mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists are expected to grow 19 percent from now until 2024. That demand comes from many couples seeking help from these counselors.

    Today, marriage counseling has taken on many forms. No longer do you just have to sit in an office and meet with a therapist. The modern rules of marriage counseling are, therefore, whatever form works for you. Cater marriage counseling to your unique relationship in order to get the most out of it.

    Here are four different types of marriage counseling in the modern era to consider:

    1. Pre-marriage Counseling

    This is a growing form of counseling in the modern era, and it’s for good reason. People see the number of divorces going on, and they don’t want to become a statistic. So it makes sense to start on the same page even before taking the marriage vows. In pre-marriage counseling, typically therapists will guide engaged couples through many questions and talk about their different ideas, expectations, and backgrounds that will factor into their upcoming marriage.

    2. Marriage Counseling

    Once you are married, then you can try basic marriage counseling. This one is obvious, but not to be overlooked. Even if you aren’t having any “big” issues in your marriage, in this modern era it’s ok to still go to marriage counseling. It’s showing you are proactive and trying to improve what you already have. Marriage counseling advice can help you with issues big and small, from breaking through walls so you can be on the same page about finances, to being more romantic and loving.

    3. Online Marriage Counseling

    When you aren’t able to be at a therapist’s office, one of the newest and most modern ways to work through issues is online marriage counseling. More and more certified marriage therapists are taking their work online, meaning you don’t even have to be in the same state or time zone in order to meet up. It makes it very convenient for everyone; and if something urgent comes up typically online marriage therapists have a more flexible schedule, and sometimes lower costs as well. It’s a great option if you have difficult work schedules or don’t live near many marriage therapists.

    4. Marriage Retreat or Workshops

    Maybe your marriage is fine overall, but you really want to connect on a deeper level. You feel like you need an intense focus on developing your relationship in a short amount of time. What you might look into is also fairly new in the modern era of marriage counseling—a marriage retreat or workshop. This is usually hosted by a therapist or group of therapists and takes place over a week or a weekend. You can find locations all over, including fun destinations as well as cruises. The idea is to make it a fun getaway for the married couple, as well as talks and classes about how to strengthen your marriage. The nice thing about it is that you can start to see good changes fairly quickly.

    While any of these are great on their own, also consider doing several or even all of them. It will take time and effort, but it if helps your marriage then it will be well worth it.


    Malini Bhatia is the founder of Marriage.com, a website dedicated to providing value in every marriage. Marriage.com provides resources, information and a community that supports healthly, happy marriages. Malini has global experience in international management and communications, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband of 11 years and two daughters.


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