There are two primary reasons why it is a good idea for one person to do some individual counselling. Either when your partner is unable or unwilling to participate in couples counselling; or if you just want to check-out and to get some advice on your own thoughts and feelings about a situation within the relationship.
You can make a difference….
A good marriage will make life more meaningful as well as teach and support each person in the marriage. When a person is open to the lessons that a relationship has to offer and they apply a genuine effort to learn the relationship skills and perhaps new ways of thinking, then a marriage is simply an awesome experience.
However, when we don’t do this, a marriage can become like a ‘bus ride from hell’, where the same issues are reoccurring again and again until finally there is such a hard knock, or last straw, that you have no choice but to take a good hard look at yourself and the marriage, and simply question….
When the disconnect between a couple is weighing heavier than the good in the relationship, then it’s time to get some outside professional help.
A marriage can teach us about ourself…
It can be argued that a marriage is like a classroom for personal development. The issues that are holding you back from really embracing life will show-up in some way within the marriage.
These issues do not appear, at least not to any great extent, in any other relationship. Issues about ourselves are often difficult to identify, let alone to truly understand or to take positive action to address them.
“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.”
It is at this point that individual counselling can help a person to identify, understand and change behaviours giving their marriage its best chance of success.
Getting “fresh eyes” onto the problems from a qualified and experienced couples counsellor helps people get their relationship to a place where they want it to be.
My partner doesn’t want to do counselling…
Sometimes, one partner is far less motivated to be open to getting professional help when needed. this could be because the problems having been going for so long and have become entrenched. One person in the marriage may become gridlocked into their beliefs and feel that nothing could make a positive difference.
Another reason why one partner may be unwilling to seek outside help is the belief that couples should be able to work things out themselves. This belief could be several reasons such as ‘not making problems public’, or, ‘if we can’t sort it out ourselves, then maybe we are wrong for each other.’
For whatever reason, even one person seeking professional help for their marriage can make a significant positive difference. The process of positive change however, may be slower than if couples attend together.
By attending counselling personally, you are showing your partner that the marriage is important and that you are willing to go that extra mile to make it work. You may feel that the opposite could be said for your reluctant partner.
Whilst this is a natural conclusion, this line of thought is unhelpful at this stage. The Couples Counsellor is likely to discuss strategies to encourage your partner to participate in couples counselling and to help figure out your next course of action.
In our counselling practice with couples, we have seen many times over that when just one person works on themselves, with a focus on their relationship, this can lead to good improvements in their marriage.
This approach to lead to a reduction in the stress levels in the marriage, which creates a safer space for the couple to begin constructive conversations about their marriage.