How many intending couples have thought it important to visit a marriage counselor before they finally take their vows? Likewise, how many married couples seek the help of marriage counselors when marriage becomes very messy? Sandra Ofili, 40-year-old accountant, explains “Not many intending or married couples see the relevance of a marriage counselor in their relationships. We all have different cultures, religions and tribes. A marriage counselor could be the imam of your mosque or even the pastor of your church. Marriage counselors do not necessarily preach religion; their major concern is the sustainability of the marriage. Many intending couples dislike the idea of premarital counseling because they believe it’s a sign that something bad is going to happen in their relationship and some also believe that they don’t need any third party even when the going gets tough. But they forget that most times, all we need sometimes is to sit back and let the counselor reset what has gone wrong.”
Raliat Rufai, 42-year-old nurse, says, “Many people assume that marriage counseling isn’t necessary for their relationship. These categories of people are only in denial. I was once there also and thought I knew it all when it comes to my marriage. Once, I decided to listen to the counselor, everything fell in place. Since then, I have been an advocate of marriage counseling. Marriage counseling helps in putting marital problems in a different perspective. We are all humans and are bound to have misunderstanding from time to time in relationships. All we need is for an unbiased party like the marriage counselor to give us the right perspective to right the wrongs.” “Marriage counseling puts you back on track when the going is tough and reminds you that marriage is for a lifetime, better or worse and not just for a limited time. Marriage counseling, most importantly premarital counseling, should be encouraged in all relationships before and after the marriage. It is one institution of marriage that we need to revive in our homes, mosques and churches” says Hajiya Maryam A. Ibrahim, a marriage counselor with the Abuja Marriage School. An article written on www.wakecounseling.com , talks on how marriage counseling can help couples. Marriage counseling is important for addressing marital concerns because:
Counselling helps couples take time out of their busy lives and come together to really focus on themselves. The counsellor acts as a sort of mediator between the spouses and facilitates healthy and effective communication. It is particularly helpful where couples are set on improving their relationships but are not sure how to go about doing so. The counsellor can help to analyze the behavioural patterns of the spouses and identify those which lead to conflict. Once such patterns have been identified, the couple can, with the help of the counsellor, work on modifying them. Effective communication is one of the most important aspects of any marriage, however, it is not uncommon for couples to reach an impasse and lose their ability to share their feelings and needs with one another. Counselling can give the couple tools to start improving their communication, for example by eliminating bad habits such as constantly interrupting the other partner or speaking too much and not giving the other partner a chance to respond. In addition, where the couple has been reluctant or too busy to face the underlying issues that are causing problems in their marriage, counselling can serve as a platform where these issues can finally be confronted.