What is marriage counseling really? A majority of marriage counseling work is each individual person doing their own separate work which will in fact affect the marriage as a whole. I don’t think any therapist can argue that BOTH individuals bring issues into a marriage, not just one person. Therefore, both people will have separate issues to work on in order for the marriage to work effectively. Each person in a marriage must quit focusing on how hard their significant other is/is not working, and not let that play a part in how hard they decide to work. Sometimes this confuses clients, and they ask, “How can us working on something completely different from each other affect the marriage, and why shouldn’t we pay attention to how hard the other is working/why not focus on them?”
How I explain this in session is to use a football team analogy. Each part of the offense has to work on their specific jobs on the field in order for the team to be successful. The offensive line must block effectively to keep the quarterback protected & allow him enough time to hand off to the running back, or pass down the field to the wide receiver or tight end. In return, the RB, WR & TE must do their work of running the right route, catching the ball, holding onto it, and having great footwork to make it into the end zone. Without each of these parts doing their own individual work, the team as a whole will suffer. The QB can’t say to his offensive line, “If you block for me better, then I’ll work on my passing”, just as a Wide Receiver can’t say to the QB, “If you throw me better lead passes, then I’ll start dragging my foot in the end zone”. Each position has to do their own job, quit focusing on the other position player, and do their own work!
With marriage, don’t make it a game of ”I’ll change if you change”, or “You’re not working hard, therefore I don’t have to either”. In marriage, each person needs to keep the focus on themselves & work on their own issues. If a couple is able to do this, they will be able to reduce defenses, and gain alot of yardage (progress) as well. Hey, maybe even a marriage touchdown!
P.S. GO COLTS!
Written by: Tamara Wilhelm MA, LMHC
*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counselingat Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.