If you’re unhappy in your marriage or common-law relationship, you owe it to yourself to do everything in your power to save it before resorting to divorce. This is especially true where children are involved.

For some, the idea of entering marriage counselling (or counselling of any kind) carries a stigma. This is an outdated notion. Considering the fact that approximately 50% of marriages end in divorce, the number of couples turning to specialized marriage counselling has increased significantly over the past few decades. Engaging the services of a counsellor is not an admission of defeat; it’s a necessary step in exhausting all available avenues through which your marriage might be saved.

If you have decided to try marriage counselling and your spouse is reluctant, you may wish to speak with a therapist on your own first. You should select a therapist who you have a rapport with; one who you believe can help you. Your therapist shouldn’t be simply a neutral listener to vent to- he or she should be a zealous advocate for your marriage. Even when you and your spouse want to give up, your therapist should offer useful solutions to improve your relationship. Ultimately, if you do decide to end your relationship, the decision should be yours and yours alone, and should not come as a result of any recommendations by a therapist.

In choosing a therapist, don’t hesitate to ask questions about his/her qualifications. Many therapists who provide marriage counselling lack specific training. If you have a unique issue, consider seeking a therapist who specializes in that particular issue. If you don’t feel that your therapist is providing you with workable solutions, consider finding a new therapist instead of resigning to separation or divorce.

Recent research shows that 2/3 of couples in unhappy marriages who commit to therapy are able to achieve happiness in their relationship after approximately 5 years. This may seem like a long time, but your family is worth fighting for. Consider what you stand to lose and work hard to save it.

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