As a counselor, I got into this field because I love people and I am a huge believer in hope. I believe it is something everyone needs to know that they have. In fact, instilling hope is always our first goal during an initial session in our marriage ministry, Expedition Marriage. After all, who is going to fight for something if they don’t have the hope they can achieve it? The number one goal of a counselor is to help you change your life and your marriage, and hope is always a necessary part of that.
If you’re in marriage counseling or have been thinking about going, here are some things you may want to know but your counselor likely won’t say…
Most times, as counselors, we can see the potential for your marriage more clearly than you can – which is why we give you assignments and tools to help. But the thing we likely won’t tell you is how dang frustrated we get when you don’t do them or use them! You come in for help, we know these tools work, we have so much hope for you, but more often than not, the tools or assignments you’re given get put on the back burner and left unused.
If you’re in counseling for your marriage, please do the work. Use the tools you’re being given. And remember, we’re not frustrated with you, we’re frustrated because we see the potential and we want you to achieve it.
We also likely won’t tell you that it is so hard for us not to work harder than you do for your marriage. If you knew how many times your counselor is praying and thinking and brainstorming all these things for your marriage while they could be enjoying some mental downtime, you’d be shocked. We have to sometimes try really hard to leave work at work and not be putting in more effort on your behalf than you are. This is a counselor must because the drain is real. In fact the average burnout rate for a counselor is 5 years. So, keep in mind that in counseling you sometimes could be getting so much more if you were putting in more yourself.
Lastly, please don’t take this personally, but we want you to leave.
Yep, we want to wrap up your sessions and send you on your way. Counseling is one of those fields where we succeed by working ourselves out of a job! We want you to heal, to grow, and to leave with a transformed marriage, BUT, here’s the hard part, if you’re not doing the work or putting in any effort, we still want you to go. We want you to leave at that point because you’re not ready and we don’t want to drag you along. That is not helping you, and remember, that’s what we’re about. We’d rather get you out and pray for your return when indeed you’ve had enough of things remaining the same, and you are indeed ready for change.
So, that’s it. Those are the secrets your counselor may be holding out on you. Don’t get mad at them, they really are for you and your marriage. Oh, one last thing, we really aren’t upset with you if we’re not the right fit for you. We want you healed and thriving more than we want to be compatible with you. It’s ok if you part ways with us to find someone else and sometimes we even encourage it.
If you’re currently in marriage counseling or thinking about starting it, be sure to show up and do the work. Your counselor truly wants what’s best for you. And in the meantime, if you want some free resources, be sure to check out the Expedition Marriage podcast as well as many other resources at www.expeditionmarriage.org