Healthy Expectations for the Healing Process

Counseling can be a bit like surgery—most people don’t seek out the help of a counselor until they’re desperate or facing an emergency. No one comes to counseling when things are running smoothly, but rather, when the pain has reached such a high level that they can no longer tolerate it. Like surgery, the counselor isn’t there to wave a magic wand over it all and make the mess go away. Surgery is painful and the rehabilitation after can take time, but most people want the fix without the work of changing.

“Will my spouse change?” That’s the biggest question, possibly the whole point in your mind, of coming to counseling. And the answer is maybe. Maybe not. It will totally depend on what they decide to do with the tools they’re given to do relationships better. It depends on what they want to do, what they want their relationship to look like, how willing they are to change the behavior that is hurting you, how humble they are, and how courageous they are. You can’t and don’t control any of that.

“Will I change?” Well, now you are talking about something you do control. You will get out of these sessions what you put into them. If you remain shallow, hiding behind a facade, your growth will be shallow and more of the facade. If you want to learn to be authentic and real, you have to be authentic and real. Counseling is your opportunity to intentionally reshape your character and direction in life.

Here are a few things to consider as you start the counseling process:

  • If you come willing and ready to grow, you will grow. It would be beautiful if BOTH of you came with that frame of mind, but your part is to do your part. This will be the most influential way to invite your spouse back into the relationship.
  • If you are trying to appease your mate by coming to counseling, but are unwilling to grow, there will be very little change.
  • You will learn how to manage conflict in such a way that you simultaneously maintain connection. We will help you practice and will provide accountability while you work to break the old habits and replace them with the new.
  • God does not always remove the consequences of sin when we repent. There may be things about your relationship that have been broken by sin that you will have to navigate. For example, if you have broken trust, be prepared to prove your trustworthiness.
  • Restoration of your heart may not end up looking like restoration of your marriage. Your spouse may still choose to walk away, but the changes you make in your own thinking and the tools you learn to help you do relationships better will still be worth the work you do in counseling.
  • Growing, healing, changing, and becoming who God is calling you to be is a life-long process. What you launch through counseling will need to be intentionally maintained in real life.
  • At the end of the day, this marriage is what you make it—the two of you together, linking arms and doing life together. The counselors, mentors, and friends in your circle can speak into it, but the work of the marriage is up to you.

If your marriage is in a dark place and you are determined to give it the best possible odds of surviving, counseling is the most effective process to set that stage. Our mission is to help you experience what a healthy relationship looks like, and to provide a “healing container” in which you can be vulnerable and real to develop a healthy plan to move forward.

If this is your last-ditch effort to save your marriage, be prepared to change your old ways, which probably haven’t been working well anyway. And as you enter the process with humility, the hard work of counseling can transform you and, hopefully, bring healing to your marriage.

We would love to help in your healing process. Contact us to learn more about our individual and marriage counseling services and start the brave work of making changes in your life and in your marriage today.