Making the decision to get a divorce is one of the most difficult things you will ever do. It is so hard that many people stay for months, or even years, in an unhappy marriage just because they cannot make the decision whether to stay or go.
Marriage counselling can help, but only if both parties are willing to do the work. If you have a situation where one partner has checked out of the relationship while the other is bent on saving it, it can be difficult to make any real progress in marriage counselling.
Discernment counselling is a type of therapy that is meant to help couples get out of that indecision purgatory. It is specifically designed to help couples decide whether to work on their marriage or get divorced and find the clarity to know that whatever they decide, it is the best decision for both parties.
Unlike traditional marriage counselling, which is often open ended, discernment counselling is meant to be short-term. In the first two hour session the couple decides whether they would like to continue, up to a maximum of five sessions. The goals of therapy are to achieve clarity and confidence in the direction of the marriage, identify what happened to the relationship and pinpoint each person’s contribution to the problems.
They key question used in discernment counselling is “Are you willing to work on changing your contributions to the marriage?” If the answer is yes than the couple takes what they learned in the sessions and works aggressively on their marriage for a period of six months. They may enter marriage counselling where they will have a better idea of what they need to work on because of the discernment process. After the six-month period they will have an even better idea of whether their marriage is viable moving forward.
Both spouses do not have to be on the fence about the marriage to benefit from discernment counselling. Any divorce professional will know that divorce is a process and not an event. Often one spouse is further along in the process than the other. Discernment counselling can give the opportunity for the slower spouse to “catch up” and set a more positive tone for the marriage moving forward.
Discernment counselling can also help prepare the couple for a smoother divorce process. They will have a better idea of where each other are at emotionally and help prevent conflict and reduce legal fees.
Discernment counselling is not a “magic pill” but it is an excellent tool to help couples who are unsure of where their marriage is going. Visit this website to learn more about discernment counselling and find a qualified discernment counselor near you.