One of the touchstones of saving a troubled marriage is heading off to marriage counseling. Unfortunately marriage counseling can often be a time and money wasting red herring. On one hand it’s supposedly about communication, but often troubled couples are communicating to each other just fine, it’s simply that they aren’t attracted to each other. So all marriage counseling does in those cases is explain in greater clarity that they aren’t attracted to each other.
It’s the old thing where if the husband stacks the dishwasher wrong… if the wife is horny for him she just restacks the dishwasher and runs it. Maybe she playfully tells him off about it, but it’s as much to instigate sex as anything. If she isn’t hot for him she screams that he’s an asshole and can never do anything right. Then he restacks the dishwasher and she still isn’t happy about it and does it herself anyway.
If those two go to counseling, the wife is going to complain about is inability to help around the house – especially the dishwasher screw ups. Then the counselor will likely suggest to the husband that he should really pay more attention to the household chores etc. After all, there’s good research that shows that husbands that help out around the house get on better with their wives. But it’s never actually about the dishes, so he’s stacks the dishwasher right for a while and she still isn’t interested in him sexually. So the problem of their low attraction continues.
Plus sometimes I suspect marriage counseling is just a social rite of passage before a divorce as a way of making the divorcing partner look better. “We tried everything! I’m not a bad person, we tried marriage counseling but he just wouldn’t listen to what the counselor had to say! I FOUGHT to keep this marriage together. Even the marriage counselor agreed he was too stupid to stack a dishwasher.”
Unless both sides of the couple really want to work and listen and are going to a counselor that works on the process of short term objective goals, (see Solution Focused Brief Therapy as a starting point) it’s all just a waste of time and money in my opinion. Especially for the man if the counselor wants to do nothing but talk about the past and feelings. That’s likely just means he’s going to lose the arguments he’s already lost with his wife again, but this time for $150-200 an hour.
But even so, $150-200 a half a dozen times could likely be more productively spent on gym memberships, a couple of sexier outfits, date nights, some flowers, a couple of sex toys and the teeth whitening place at the mall. In any case, if you can get together in the middle of the day or evening without the kids in tow, getting a hotel room for an hour and just having sex is cheaper anyway. I’ll bet my way does more to fix a relationship than just talking about your relationship problems with a counselor does. Action beats talk everytime.
And maybe I’m just cynical… but one of the vocations with the highest divorce rates is marriage counselors! Isn’t talking to a marriage counselor about your marriage like going to a dentist that has crappy teeth?