If you have recently gone through a rocky patch with your partner and the two of you no longer see eye-to-eye, then you may have made the decision to start marriage counseling. When things are a little rough in a relationship, a logical step to take is to seek the help and support of a professional who can help to guide you and your partner through the rocky patch and out the other side.

A lot of couples expect marriage counseling to be an instant fix for marital problems, but the truth is that this isn’t always the case. While marriage counseling can be beneficial when there’s a problem in a marriage, that doesn’t mean that it’s guaranteed to work, and it’s important to understand that.

That being said, it’s important to start marriage counseling with an open mind, and both people must be open to saving the marriage in order for this form of therapy to have any chance of succeeding.

Going into therapy with an open mind is crucial, but how long do you give it before you start to think that maybe marriage counseling isn’t - and can’t - work for you and your partner? How do you know when marriage counseling isn’t working? To help you to determine when it’s time to rethink marriage counseling, below is a guide to everything that you should know.

You’re not both committed to saving your marriage

If you and your partner are not both committed to saving your marriage and making things work, then you need to think about whether or not marriage counseling is worthwhile. If one of you has already emotionally checked out of the relationship then marriage counseling is not going to be able to revive it. In order for marriage counseling to work, you need to ensure that you are both committed to saving the relationship and are willing to make time and put in the effort to actively do so. If you’re unsure how your partner feels about this, it’s a good idea to sit down together and have a frank, open, and honest discussion about it.

One person has their own personal problems to deal with

Another time when you might realize that marriage counseling isn’t working is when it becomes apparent that one partner has a lot of their own personal problems to deal with. Yes, your marriage needs work, but in order to be able to improve your marriage, the partner struggling with their own demons needs to get help first from an individual therapist. This is important because unless these problems are dealt with, fixing your marriage and benefiting from couples’ therapy will be nearly impossible. What it’s important to note here is that while marriage counseling might not be working right now, due to one of you needing to deal with your own problems, it may work better in the future once these individual issues have been dealt with.

You think that showing up is all it takes

When it comes to making a go of marriage counseling, it’s clear that the therapy isn’t working when one partner - or both partners - believe that showing up to counseling is all it takes to see success. In order for marriage counseling to actually be successful, you and your partner both need to be committed to working hard to take steps to fix your marriage, and marriage counseling is just a small part of that. In order to see results, you need to take what you learned in marriage counseling and apply the principles to your everyday life, making small, consistent changes and improving your relationship as a result. These changes can’t just be short-term changes either, they need to be long-term changes if they are going to have an impact on your relationship. If you’re both taking steps to make these changes, then the therapy is probably working, however, if you are not making these changes, then it might be time to rethink.

You believe that counseling will change your partner

One mistake that a lot of people make when it comes to couples’ therapy is believing that undergoing therapy will result in long-term changes to your partner’s behaviors and beliefs. The truth is that therapy acts as a way to resolve conflicts and find solutions to move your relationship forward, it does not act as a means to change a person’s personality. If you believe that marriage counseling is going to change your partner, then it might be time to consider whether marriage counseling is doing what you need it to do. If you want to change your partner completely, this is a sign that your relationship isn’t a good fit, and it’s time to think about what that means for the two of you.

You cannot move past your marital problems

If you have been going to marriage therapy for a while but have begun to notice that you are finding it very difficult to move past your marital problems, then this could be a sign that marriage counseling isn’t working for you. The idea of seeing a counselor is to allow yourself and your partner to mitigate your concerns in a calm, unbiased environment, working through issues together. However, if you have found that the counseling you have been having has not allowed you to move past marital problems, then it might be time to think about whether counseling is actually able to help you and your partner to move forward.

You’re feeling more certain that you want to end things for good

Marriage counseling is designed to help couples to manage and move forward from problems, however sometimes what it does is highlights the fact that there are certain problems that a couple just cannot move past. When this happens, and it becomes apparent that things between you and your partner are not getting any better, this is a sign that you may want to think about moving forward without your partner. There’s only so much time and effort you can put into fixing a relationship, and it’s important to understand that.

It’s not always easy to admit it, but sometimes marriage counseling just isn’t working, and neither is your marriage.

Author's Bio: 

Carl Westwood is currently writing about technology, lifestyle and automobile. He loves writing and playing chess.