Are you considering divorce but having mixed feelings about it?
Has marriage counseling failed?
Is your spouse talking about divorce, but you really want to save your marriage?
Your marriage is in trouble and either you or your spouse is considering divorce. You may be the one who wants to save the marriage, or you may be the spouse who is considering divorce but also unsure if this is what you really want. In this situation, each spouse has different goals. One spouse wants to save the marriage and the other is trying to decide whether or not divorce is the best option. When a couple has mixed agendas, traditional marriage counseling is often unhelpful at best or may even cause more conflict and emotional pain.
This is us and we need help! If we have different agendas for our marriage, what can we do?
Thankfully there is a type of counseling that can help! It's called Discernment Counseling. Unlike traditional couples counseling, Discernment Counseling can help each spouse with their different goals. For the spouse who is leaning into the marriage, Discernment Counseling coaches that person to be the best, most attractive version of themselves while not doing things that are counterproductive (like nagging, begging, etc.) in order to try to save the marriage. For the spouse who is leaning out of the marriage, Discernment Counseling helps give one last look at the marriage so a decision can be more confidently made about whether to try to restore the marriage, move toward divorce, or take a time out and decide later. Discernment counseling is considered successful when spouses have clarity and confidence in their decision making about the future of the marriage.
How can Discernment Counseling help both spouses with such different goals?
Although both spouses attend a Discernment Counseling session together, the majority of the work occurs as I work with each spouse individually. This allows each spouse to be honest about how they feel without the fear of hurting their spouse or inflaming the situation. I will respect the reasons for divorce while trying to open up the possibility of restoring the marriage to health. During the sessions, I'll be encouraging each spouse to better understand their own contributions to the current problems in the marriage as well as the possible solutions. This will be useful in future relationships even if this one ends in divorce.
How long is the Discernment Counseling process?
Generally, the Discernment Counseling process is no more than 5 sessions. After 5 sessions, each spouse will have a deeper understanding of their contributions to the problems in their marriage and clarity regarding their decision about the future of their marriage. When a decision emerges, I help each spouse either find professionals who can help them have a constructive divorce or formulate a reconciliation plan to create a healthy, successful marriage. In some cases, couples decide to take a time out from the discernment process and return later.
Are there situations when Discernment Counseling is not helpful?
Discernment counseling is NOT suitable when:
One spouse has made a final decision to divorce and wants counseling to help the other spouse accept that decision
There is a danger of domestic violence
There is a Protection Order from the court
One spouse is coercing the other to participate
How long is each session and what are the session fees?
Because I am meeting with each spouse during the sessions, Discernment Counseling sessions are a bit longer than typical counseling sessions. The first session is 2 hours long and costs $270. The subsequent sessions are 1 1/2 hours long and cost $200 for each session.
I want to save my marriage, but my spouse refuses to attend Discernment Counseling. Is there anything I can do?
Yes! Please contact me. I work individually with spouses who are trying to save their marriages. Through this process you will learn more about your contributions to the problems in the marriage, learn how to avoid common mistakes that can make the current crisis worse, and learn how to have a more collaborative relationship with your spouse even if the marriage ultimately ends in divorce. A great resource for you is the book The Divorce Remedy by Michele Weiner-Davis and her website: www.DivorceBusting.com