Every marriage has its ups and downs. If you decide to seek counseling to help you weather some of those “down times,” there are some things you should be prepared to talk about. One of the most important factors that determine success in counseling is your willingness to be honest.
Although some subjects may seem unimportant, embarrassing, or awkward to discuss, it is important to share them with your marriage counselor. Based on the information you share, your counselor will make suggestions on what you can do to improve your marriage. There are also times that the information may lead the counselor to recommend that you seek individual treatment to help you resolve some specific issues that can help you in your relationship.
Keeping secrets will only make things worse. Be honest about your history. Also, be willing to share things about your spouse when your spouse isn’t. Make it clear to your spouse that you are willing to be honest in an attempt to make a real attempt at improving your relationship.
Although most people would like to think they have overcome any problems stemming from childhood, the truth is, our childhood influences us. As you grow and your brain develops, you learn about yourself, your family, and the world. What you learn is heavily dependent on the environment you grew up in.
A marriage counselor will want to know if you grew up in a single parent home, a home with a lot of conflict, or if your parents were divorced. These sorts of things can influence your marriage. It’s also important for the counselor to know about your parents’ relationship. What you witnessed between your parents is likely to affect how you view love and marriage.
Sexual problems can be difficult to talk about. Quite often, couples haven’t even ever talked with each other about their sexual issues, let alone share them with a complete stranger.
However, it is important for your counselor to know what your sex life is like. Unfortunately, many people will say to their counselor there sex life is “fine” or “good.” And sadly, some counselors don’t ask any further questions.
It’s important to share with the counselor whether or not you are satisfied sexually with your spouse. For example, are you bored with sex? Do you have sex often enough in your opinion? Are you tired of being rejected by your spouse? Do you worry about sexual dysfunction? Has there been an affair? All of these are important things to share with your counselor.
Sometimes sexual problems are a problem within themselves. Couples who are not satisfied with their sex life often begin to experience other problems, such as lack of emotional intimacy and resentment. Other times couples who are not happy with their marriage, their sex life deteriorates as a result of the poor quality of their relationship.
If you are feeling too embarrassed to talk to your counselor about your sexual problems, swallow your pride and talk about it. Marriage counselors are comfortable talking about sexual issues. They’ve heard it all before and won’t judge you if you share your sexual problems. Your success in counseling may depend on your willingness to talk about it.
Mental Health Issues
It is essential that a marriage counselor be aware of both partner’s mental health histories. Even though you may be seeking treatment because you are having difficulty getting now, make sure to share with your counselor if you have ever sought past treatment. Mental health issues, past or present, can make a big difference in how a marriage counselor approaches a problem.
Mental health issues include any treatment you’ve received in the past. For example, if you were diagnosed and treated for ADHD as a child, make sure to share this. Or if your physician once prescribed Prozac or a sleeping aid, be sure to share these types of things with your counselor as well.
Substance use, whether it to be drugs or alcohol, can play a big role in a marriage. So even if you only “drink socially” or “smoke marijuana to help you sleep,” make sure to share this with your counselor. Also, if you have had past problems with substances, such as you have had legal problems or if it has caused medical problems, be sure to share this.
If you are concerned about your spouse’s substance use, make sure that your counselor is aware. If you think your spouse drinks too much of I you notice arguments seem to only happen when your spouse is using, this is important to share. Whether you think your spouse’s substance use is too often or too much at one time, express your concern.