How Great Thou Part

One day my marriage counselor said, “Colleen, you have the ability to see your own faults and this is unusual. The average person, not even a difficult personality, does not necessarily have the ability to see their own faults.”

I realized why he was telling me this. I couldn’t reach my husband no matter how hard I tried. I was getting increasingly frustrated and disheartened.

My counselor also told me, “Colleen you are a worrier and no one is harder on Colleen than Colleen.”


Thus, more than likely, the reason I could see my own faults. I tend to beat myself up if I believe I have done the wrong thing.

We have zero control over other people’s behavior. Of course, compounding this is the fact they do not always recognize their own bad behavior.

The couples counseling odds are stacked against us unless couples choose the proper mindset.

5 Secrets to Successful Marriage Counseling:

1. Both people choose to be there:

This doesn’t mean you have talked your spouse into attending the sessions. Additionally, it is not the spouse who passive-aggressively shows up who doesn’t truly want to be there.

It is two consenting adults who make a conscious decision to choose one another and the marriage.

The old adage, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” rings true. You can’t force someone to make you a priority no matter how painful this realization may be.

And truthfully, why would you want them if you have to force their thirst for you?

Sadly, if you haven’t married a person who values you enough to protect your happiness as well as their own, you haven’t chosen well. A person who absolutely adores you should value you enough to fear losing you.

2. Both people are open to learning about themselves and not just complaining about their spouse:

Despite the reality that most individuals arrive at counseling believing the other is wrong, they must be open to learning about themselves. Even the worst relationships involve fault on both sides even if one is a caring enabler.

An individual must accept raising awareness to one’s faults as a mandatory aspect of counseling.

We all possess less than favorable traits, we are human after all. We also carry our family of origin forward. We choose the people we love for a reason. There is something familiar about them.

We also carry our family of origin forward. We choose the people we love for a reason. There is something familiar about them. In addition, we make the choices which land us in our predicaments. A person must have accountability, a self-responsibility to acknowledge their decisions and faults.

A person must have accountability for themselves. A self-responsibility to acknowledge their decisions and faults.

3. Both people have to be committed to the ugly side of counseling:

Once in counseling, the commitment to the marriage must remain.

Counseling gets harder before it gets easier. It gets uglier before it gets prettier. It is both humbling and difficult to accept we are less than perfect and how our personal deficiencies impact our relationships.

Even for a person who has the ability to see their own faults.

What can make it even more difficult is how typically reduced we are before we arrive at counseling, to begin with. Most individuals let their problems go unattended far too long. It is akin to ignoring a cold which turns into bronchitis. The relationship gets sicker and along the way so does each person. Confidence and happiness dissipate, thus, making it even harder to be strong enough to endure self-realization and conflict resolution.


4. Both people choose not to be sissies:

Otherwise, dogged and determined individuals give up on counseling too easily. The same people who run marathons, fight for promotions, tackle higher education, fight fears, and parenting issues, cowardly turn away from the emotional demands of their relationships.

Walking away from a marriage before the issues are confronted is for sissies. 

A person should not choose to end a relationship before they have fought for it. 

If we can gravitate towards other forms of self-improvement such as career enrichment, degrees, instructional hobbies, etc. we should embrace counseling.

Individuals should be tenacious enough to view marital counseling as the invaluable self and relationship improvement venue which it is.

5. Both people stay in counseling long enough to truly learn what you need to learn:

Too many people spend a few months in marriage counseling and declare themselves relationship cured.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

Marriage counseling is a long-term commitment and should be viewed as such.

You are attempting to resolve and/or improve years worth of relationship problems and patterns of individual behavior. You can’t do this in a few months and often not even within one year. It’s attractive to quit early because you walk away before it gets too ugly and you have to learn too much about yourself and not just your partner.

A word of caution, leaving counseling prematurely is a relationship BandAid. The couple ‘Boo Boo’s’ will not heal. They will scab over and peel off and come back even angrier.


What do all of these five things have in common?

All begin with ‘Both People.’

You can’t make your partner thirsty for you.

You can’t force them. They have to want to get to the water without you leading them.


(Photos Courtesy of Pexels)

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