After a certain age, society expects boys and girls to get married. Nobody knows how the marital relationship will go further. It is like a mechanical route which everyone is supposed to take, but nobody teaches you how to make it a smooth ride. Conflicts happen in every relationship, whether its friends, parents, siblings, or a spouse. What matters is whether such conflicts can be resolved or not. Other relationships may end without communication. However, there is an official escape from marriage called ‘Divorce’. Marriage counselling is the practice to make spouses take a relook into their marital relationship before everything is struck down. In the courts, usually the family lawyers are appointed as counsellors. There may be psychological experts providing professional services privately in the name of couples therapy.
In the usual course, whenever a couple files for divorce, the judges send them for mediation/ counselling to resolve their disputes. The motive is to avoid a lifelong permanent decision after a few minutes of temporary aggression among married couples. However, failed attempts of counselling make the judges understand that things are a bit more complicated and begin with the proceedings in the family court.
Section 4 (4)(a) of Family Courts Act, 1984 specifies appointment of a judge in the family court who has the following qualities:
The number and categories of counsellors is determined by the concerned state government in consultation with the concerned high court as per Section 6 (1) of the same Act.
In the latest trend, couples planning to get married also go for counselling to understand each other better. Hence, based on the phase of marriage, kinds of couples therapy are categorised.
Our Gen Z (term used for people born between 1990s and 2010s) is becoming more and more sceptical towards the institution of marriage. Before taking the marriage vows, they wish to understand the pros and cons of getting into a civil relationship with the partner. For such couples, counselling before marriage helps understand the needs, thoughts, behaviour, etc. of the future spouse. The professional in couples therapy allows them to understand each other and decide if they see their prospective husband/ wife in another. They also get to understand how to deal with a future conflict.
Most conflicts occur when two different people totally new to each other start living under the same roof. It takes loads of time, effort, patience, love, respect, etc. to nurture a relationship, especially a marriage. When there is a conflict between husband and wife and things have turned bitter, rather than putting it to an end through divorce, it is advisable to take a step back and look for ways to reconcile the relationship. Couples therapy helps husband and wife take a relook into their marital relationship and see if things can work out for better.
This kind of counselling requires conflicting couples in a marriage to express their feelings to their spouse. The marriage counsellor helps one partner convey all such feelings to another partner. This helps them understand each other’s feelings and identify the gaps in communication during couples therapy which need to be worked upon.
In a matrimonial relationship, digging graves of past events is usually the root cause of conflicts. To help with this, marriage counselling sessions particularly focus upon finding a solution to the problem and helping couples work on it. If every time a solution is sought by couples after a dispute, relationships will rarely reach their climax.
Sometimes, there is an emotional attachment which leads couples to detach from each other. Couples therapy focused on emotions helps identify the relationship events with specific emotions that are the root cause contributing to conflicts. If such vulnerable emotions are understood during the therapy and worked upon in the right manner, a lot of trouble can be saved for the marriage.
Life is all about one’s narrative of events that take place. In a shared household with 4 people, there will be one single event whose narrated version is different by all. The reason being that everyone has a different sense of understanding and going into depths of the matter. The same is applied in this kind of couples therapy. The professionals seek a narrative of the marital relationship of both husband and wife and make them take a relook at the versions to correct the self-defeating or negative narratives. A negative mindset of one of the partners could ruin the relationship for both
An individual’s thoughts define what kind of person he/ she is. A person’s way of thinking reflects in his/ her behaviour which could be affecting the conjugal relationship of the husband and wife. The cognitive behavioural couples therapy focuses at identifying such thought processes which influence one or both spouse’s. The professional makes the couples understand the same and take control of their behaviour.
Childhood is a crucial phase in one’s life which plays a vital role in adult life. Sometimes, some bitter childhood experiences, those unmet emotional or other needs, trauma, etc. end up being a problem for a person during marriage. In such cases, a marriage counselling professional helps identify the reasons behind certain behaviour which could help both the spouses understand and be sensitive towards one another.
People often have doubts like “Does marriage counselling work?” or “How does marriage counselling work in India?”. The answer may vary from case to case. A third person may provide a platform for couples therapy or even provide them with the ways to sort out their conflicts. However, it is upto the couple to take action for their marriage, to work for their relationship. Even if the counselling expert is someone with years of experience, if the couple in front is not willing to mend things for good, nothing can help save their marriage. It may definitely work for couples who were earlier not communicating and after couples therapy, analysed their conflicts and looked into resolving the issues. Marriage counselling also does not work when one of them is adamant not to resolve the conflicts and work for their marriage, regardless of whether it is the husband or wife. Hence, if things are still not working for you after a few sessions of couples therapy, you may start searching for ‘lawyers near me’ and gear up for divorce proceedings in the court.