Marital Therapy: 3 Common Misconceptions

marital Therapy

Are you getting ready to attend marital therapy?  If so, this blog series is for you!  If you haven’t already read the first article in this series on marital therapy, it is here.

As a Marriage and Family Therapist, many couples come into my office with misconceptions and false expectations about what will happen in couples therapy

I want to help you prepare for what marital therapy is actually like so that you come in with realistic expectations!


Without further ado, let’s look at common misconceptions

Marital Therapy Misconception #1

You have (unconscious) expectations that the therapist will take sides… specifically your side!

Let me start by stating the obvious:

You are coming to marital therapy to improve your relationship…


Therefore it is important to remember that when one person is right and the other person is wrong, the relationship suffers.

Marital Therapy

Additionally, ask yourself this:

How much do relational dynamics change if the therapist is the judge of who is right or wrong?   

Lasting change occurs when each individual changes the way they interact in the relationship.

The therapist isn’t very interested in being the judge of who put the toothpaste in the wrong drawer OR whose family you should go to for Thanksgiving.  


A marriage therapist is well aware that you are interested in the specific issues… and that is fair! 

A marriage counselor is keenly interested in how you negotiate and communicate about your problems whatever they be

Marital Therapy Misconception #2

You assume that the marital therapist will improve the relationship immediately.

I’ll be honest, how I’m wording this expectation is a bit misleading- and it’s because the reality behind the expectation is a bit more nuanced.


So, let me be more nuanced:

You will likely start to see some improvements rather quickly when you start marital counseling.

You may leave the first session filled with a new sense of hope (which is AWESOME!).  


However, whatever tools/changes you were able to see in the therapy room will likely be short-lived (at first).


As I said in my last post:

Change is hard  


Rome wasn’t built in a day.


Yet, it’s easy to have sky-high expectations when things start going well- even if you logically know that true change takes time.  


Let me be even more nuanced:

Another common pattern I see with couples is that they gain tools, their relationship improves, their hopefulness increases, and they have a new momentum…

Marital Couples

Until 3-4 weeks into counseling and everything seems to unravel and the couple comes in deflated and hopeless.  


If this happens, fear not!  This is normal.


Let’s face it:

Newness wears off.  

S*#^ sometimes hits the fan.  

You revert back to old patterns.


Expect this will happen because that’s part of the process and the progress.  

Couples Therapy Misconception #3

You’re going to have a platform to share all your partner’s faults and ways they need to improve.

Marital Therapy

Relationship counseling is about identifying and understanding your own patterns and reactions and working to change them.  

It is ideal to keep in mind that the only person that can change your partner is… your partner.

What you can do is change how you interact with your partner… and that is where your true power in the relationship lies.  


I hope you enjoyed these tips.  Stay tuned for more tips on managing your expectations start marital counseling.  

Are you ready to give couples therapy a go?

Free free to contact me directly if you have questions or to schedule a brief call to see if I might be able to support you as you journey forward.


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