Have you ever wondered what marriage counselors are really thinking when couples start bickering during therapy sessions?
“There are days when holding back isn’t easy,” admits longtime marriage and sex therapist Todd Creager. For the past 29 years, he’s helped thousands of couples deal with difficult relationship issues through his private practice. The Todd Creager Center for Successful Relationships (TCCFSR) in Huntington Beach, California.
“As a marriage therapist, it’s important to be professional and let couples direct their fate,” says Creager. “We’re here to gently guide them, challenge them and support them. But we really should not advise them,” explains Creager, who also authored The Long, Hot Marriage.
There are many couples who work hard to get through their problems and come out of counseling healthier, happier couples. And there are others who don’t. If we could put aside our professionalism and just be blunt, there may be things that a marriage counselor would like to say to these types of couples. Here’s what he’d say if he could actually speak his mind. And we got some honest feedback from two other counselors as well.
Creager’s Top 10 Unvarnished Comments
- Get out of this relationship as fast as you can!
- You’re both immature, childish, and people who act like you’re 10 and shouldn’t be married.
- Your kids are more mature than you both.
- I’m on her side!
- Keep that up and you’ll never have sex with her again.
- There’s way too much water under your bridge!
- If you weren’t attracted to him when you got married, why did you ever get married to him?
- Are you waiting for your fairy godmother to wave her magic wand and improve your relationship? Get to work!
- You’re both so stuck that you might as well give up.
- No marriage therapist could help you both since you’re committed to relationship failure.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Paul Hokemeyer, JD, Ph.D. (@drpaulnyc) of New York can relate and couldn’t resist adding a few more to the list:
- Get out of your own way!
- It doesn’t need to be this hard.
- This clearly is not going to work.
- Why are you in love with a narcissist? (his personal favorite)
Another marriage counselor (who chose to remain anonymous) wishes she could tell couples: “Kids are not – and should never be – pawns in a relationship, regardless of their ages. Also, relationships where there’s infidelity aren’t doomed, but they require more work to repair trust and relationship values. They don’t, however, give the spouse who was cheated on the free range to throw the indiscretion issues in the face of the unfaithful spouse at free will. That does as much lasting damage to the partnership as the infidelity.”
What to do if that couple is you?
If your relationship seems like it’s heading down the slippery slope toward divorce, you might want to re-evaluate how you communicate with your partner.
There are many reasons couples seek help, but problematic patterns of communication are at the core of most couples’ issues, according to the counselors. These problematic patterns form out of habits, each person’s developmental (family origin) and relationship histories, and out of laziness. Each of you has to work to change these patterns, understand them, and modify what underlies them to bring about lasting change and a healthier relationship.
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