Deciding to stay in your relationship or end your marriage
Sometimes marriage counseling is not right for every situation. Perhaps you are hearing your partner say things such as:
“I love you but I’m not in love with you.”
“Maybe I never loved you.”
“I need some space.”
“I don’t think I want to be married anymore.”
Or maybe you have just discovered your partner is having an affair and they aren’t sure they want to end it and work to repair your marriage. This is a painful and extremely difficult time in your relationship and you surely want help, but are confused about where to turn. While it takes two people to enter into a relationship, it only takes one to end it. This can be truly devastating and it makes sense that you want help for your marriage.
However, marriage counseling assumes that BOTH partners are there to work on the relationship and to solve the problems in the marriage. But when one partner is ambivalent about saving the relationship and isn’t sure they want to do that work, this is where Discernment Counseling comes in and offers hope.
Discernment Counseling is a brief (typically 1-5 sessions) approach where both partners work with a therapist to discern whether they want to try to repair their relationship. One person is referred to as the “leaning out” partner (the one who is considering ending the relationship) and the other is referred to as the “leaning in” partner (the one who is more hopeful that the relationship can be repaired).
The counseling is focused around three paths:
- Path One: Keeping the relationship as it is, with no move to separate or divorce, but also no desire to move forward with marriage counseling to truly repair the relationship
- Path Two: A move toward ending the relationship through separation or divorce
- Path Three: A decision to end the ambivalence about being in the relationship and an agreement to pursue marriage counseling with BOTH partners now highly motivated to solve the marriage problems and repair the relationship.
Discernment Counseling provides:
- Clarity and confidence about what the next steps for the relationship will be
- A better understanding of what led the relationship to this low point and to help each partner see their own contributions to the marriage problems
Be please aware that Discernment Counseling differs from typical marriage counseling in that:
- Both partners are present at every session, but most of the work is done with each partner individually. This means that we will start the sessions together, but then you will be split up while I work with one person at a time. Then we will end each session altogether with each of you sharing with each other what you learned in the session about your contributions to the problems in the marriage and what you are willing to work on
- We will not be doing marriage counseling unless Path Three is explicity chosen and agreed on, which means that we will not be trying to solve the marriage problems. We will instead be focused on where each partner is in regards to the three paths, while at the same time working to deepen your understanding about how the marriage has gotten to this difficult place and how you have each contributed to where things are today
- As you gain clarity as to the issues that have eroded your relationship, you will both gain the confidence to choose one of the three paths
- I will never give up on your relationship and will remain hopeful at all times that the relationship can be saved. However, if one partner makes a move toward Path Two, I will guide you through that process
Please contact me via phone, text, or email to see if I can help guide you through this challenging time in your relationship and to help you discern the best path for your marriage.