15 Reasons Why Marriage Counseling Does Not Work

By David Small •  Updated: 10/25/17 •  13 min read

Are you worried about marriage counseling not working for you? Well, many couples were probably once in your shoe. The truth is only a few of them ever pondered on why it never worked.

Most of the time what took you years to fix could have been resolved following simple principle of intimacy. Laura Doyle explained the Principle of Intimacy in “ The Surrendered Wife: A Practical Guide for Finding Intimacy, Passion and Peace with a Man”.

Marriage Counseling

In this article, I have helped you found out why you’re not having success with marriage counseling.  Relax and read on to find out…

15 Reasons Why Marriage Counseling Does Not Work

Related Articles On How To Fix Your Marriage Without Marriage Counseling


The first sign of failure in marriage counseling is to not investigate before choosing who counsels your relationship. Like I always tell my friends who believe picking just any marriage counselor works, it wouldn’t work. The reasons are not far-fetched; they’re either unmarried or divorced or even living in an unhappy marriage.

What would you expect from seeking an advice about marriage from a bachelor or someone with a broken home? I can’t but maintain that one of the reasons many marriage counseling fail is because they’re themselves failures. Many of them are struggling to restore their estranged home and helping others isn’t going to work any magic.

So, if you must seek counselor’s advice in your marriage dispute resolution use the best hand. Although there are many factors to consider in your choice of a counselor consider watching out for:

  1. A marriage counselor with past high success rate or experience in marriage dispute resolution.

  2. One that is married or living in a happy, intimate and healthy relationship already.

  3. A counselor having the kind of home you want in a relationship.

Taking these factors and others into consideration, the odds of failure will be highly non-existing.

What your partner meant by asking “If you’re ready for marriage counseling?” is simply taking you for a loser. From that point, perhaps your partner has lost confidence in your ability to fix issues internally without seeking an external intervention.

In case you don’t know, nearly every marriage faces one case of dispute or another in their marriage. But what often time your partner needs from you is nothing but that assurance they are emotionally safe. When your partner offends you do you just go to your friend or relatives and seek intervention? Or do you start reporting them to your friends or even your partner friends hoping they will help you out? None of these will ever help you out!

And this same reason explains why seeking a marriage counselor wouldn’t work in such situations. The only ingredient you need here is intimacy. Learning to not to wash your dirty linen in the public is the solution in any marriage dispute resolution.

More so, raking abusive words will not help matters when your partner offends you. You should just correct your partner in a warm and mature manner rather than in a harsh and abusive way.

Most couples unknowingly fail from the beginning of the counseling process. You can’t achieve any success with marriage counseling if you don’t appreciate the better part of your partner. Most couples complain a lot about their partners’ shortcomings than they do appreciate their better parts.

Your partner is never a perfect that you think he should be but remember how you endure during your dating. You didn’t show your partner they had any shortcomings instead you build your relationship. Deviating from this now and thinking marriage counselor will help you fix issues is a big lie. It wouldn’t work.

On top of that, if you’d like to get back that happy and healthy homes you’d need to follow simple tip. Always find time to appreciate something about your partner by saying “thank you” to them. Look for those things that you loved about your partner and express your gratitude. Doing that, you can restore your tattered marriage fast than any marriage counselor would do.

As I always say, every marriage is not without its defects, you need to figure out when there’s problem. The greatest mistake most couples make is to wait for things to degenerate into something bigger. If you’re feeling your partner is acting weird it’s better to act than waiting for it to grow out of control.

Call your partner immediately and find a way to fix it between yourselves. Doing otherwise and thinking marriage counseling will help you out wouldn’t work.

Again, most issues that led couples to marriage lawyer could have been resolved internally had they not delayed it. According to Dr. John Gottman, most couples wait an average of six months before seeking for marriage counseling.  So before you aggravate your own marital bug take action now or else it would be too late.

Another great reason marriage counseling wouldn’t work in most marriages is lack of readiness, to tell the truth. If you’re going to resolve marital issues you need to be holistically honest with your marriage counselor.

Spilling the beans might sound embarrassing to you but believe me it’s the only way out for you. By telling the truth about your behaviors and shortcomings you’d have solved 90% of the problem. And when this happens, you’ll only be left with little issues for your counselor to deal with.

Additionally, have you ever wondered why a patient is diagnosed first before treatment? It’s to help find out the real cause of sickness in the sick person. So, the same way diagnose works in treating the sick the same way truthfulness would to your marriage.

Marriage Counseling

Another factor responsible for failure in marriage counseling is lack of motivation on the couple’s part and wrong timing. At times, the time you choose to go for marriage counseling might be wrong because the partners aren’t ready.

If couples aren’t ready or motivated for counseling at the time you chose then you shouldn’t try it. This is because if you do, you’re likely going to fail woefully. You can check here for reasons why “motivation level of couples and timing” will affect your marriage counseling’s success.

Have you given a serious thought about your partner before seeking an aid from a counselor?  How ready is she/he for reconciliation or change?

Many partners fail for not carrying along their partner in the process. Why should you do that? You’re starting on a very wrong footing if you are thinking going there alone is going to be a hideout.

You want your partner to change, right? Then she/he need be there with you when the counselor is trying to fix the issue for you. You can’t achieve any success if the other person wouldn’t be there with you. You both need to be present at the counseling session.

Again, you might be working tirelessly to make her change but without the readiness, on her part, you’ll fail.

As if that is not enough, many people still think I am against the use of marriage counselor. Listen carefully before you make a huge mistake again. It is true that marriage counseling has worked for many couples but knowing why it wouldn’t work is important.

Let me emphasize this over and over again; it wouldn’t work. Why I guess you ask? The simple reason is, you’re trying to change someone who isn’t ready to change. But, there might be a way around this. Except you accept your partner for who they are and be ready to help her/him improve. Did you see that? Let’s move on…

Resolving disputes in marriage, like in every other situation have a better approach to address it. Some couples start off wrongly by thinking they need external help better than self-counseling. Sometimes, because of the hurt or stress, you’re facing in your marriage you tend to become worn out. And in this case, you might not easily accept any external counseling until you’re able to self-counsel yourself.

You don’t even feel like you want to see a marriage counselor. The best option here is to get over the trauma and stress first before going for marriage counseling. What ultimately this means is getting yourself and your partner individual counseling first.

The greatest mistake many partners make about marriage counseling is to believe it is the only way out. The worst mistake of it all is to believe your partner is being puffed up than they should be.

You might be thinking what you need to get your partner to connect with you is making her/him share their feelings with you. You’re very wrong; your partner only loves to be respected. Persuading them to share they, feelings in marriage counseling will only make them look like they are at fault. And that’s the first sign marriage counseling wouldn’t work for you.

Fortunately, there is only one thing that would have made it work; by showing your partner respect. Forget about partner’s flaws, shower more respect for her/him. Believe me doing that is more powerful than using any counselor.

One bitter truth no marriage counselor will ever tell you is that it’s a time and money waster. I mean you can only try, but trying to control your spouse can be time-consuming. It distracts you from paying attention to other serious things more useful in building your home. You need self-care more than you need marriage counseling.

What this means is you need doing things that will make you always up and running than wearing you down. A very good part of your time is already taken by relationships and this means exerting efforts by you. Think about the home chores, taking care of the children and other things you do at home. All these wear you out but you need to be happy and strong for your family to thrive. So, investing in self-care is the only way out.

Above all, you shouldn’t think it is your spouse’s role to make you happy. They love to see you delighted and that makes them happy too and want to delight you. In quest of this, you will have to stop getting marriage counseling and learn to create intimacy with your partner.

Nobody ever likes to blamed or accept responsibility for his behavior. Not being ready to give up the blame might lead your marriage counseling effort to absolute failure. This is because you continue to find faults in your partner and expect her/him to accept it thinking they will willingly. Even at that, you could have helped settled the matter amicably the other way round.

The best way to change people is by taking responsibility for your own part in the matter. Doing this will help you appreciate the fact that all humans are in one way or another flawed. So next time whenever there is a problem rather being angry, pause and ponder over it before blaming her/him.

Marriage Counseling

The first step of failure many couples take is to believe change will happen overnight. No, not at all, change is a gradual phenomenon that requires more than a few sessions to take effect. So failure to understand the dynamics and the process of change is another reason why many marriage counseling fail. Give yourself time and watch to see if your partner is really going to change or not before giving up on him.

What level of trust and confidence do you have in your partner’s promise to change? Without having an iota of trust and confidence in your partner no effort by the marriage counselor will work. If you want marriage counseling to work for your marriage, start building trust and improve communication. You never know this might be what is missing in your interaction with your partner. And without first fixing this there can never be any success in resolving your marital bug.

The greatest mistake I have seen many marriage counselors make is denying the couples an open dialogue. If you’re doing this as a couple and think it will help please stop immediately. Have you ever imagined what will happen sewing only one part of a cloth and leaving the other unsown?

I guess you would say “the wrong method of sewing”, right? That is exactly why it’s important to always allow your partner to say her/his mind in any counseling. Listening to both partners first and knowing their grievances will help quench the rift fast.

It’s one thing for the both of you to really want the change, without decision and commitment no way. This where I believe the overall success of marriage counseling is premised upon. Go forward and backward, you will continue to remain in complete inertia. Until you both make up your mind to rebuild the marriage and make a renewed commitment you’ll never succeed.


You’d undoubtedly agree with me some of the above accounted for why you’re still divorced today. If you’re struggling with restoring your tattered relationship it’s better you pause a bit. Ask which of the above factors could be militating against your success with a marriage counselor. I’m sure avoiding these 15 Reasons Why Marriage Counseling Does Not Work is all you need to fix your home. So keep it handy and reference anytime your marriage is about going into a tatter.

Hope you enjoy my article? Is there anything you think I missed? Please do make your comment in the box below.

Cheers! To your Marriage success!!! Please Share


 Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



David Small

is the founder and editor of relationshiptips4u. He is a dating, marriage & relationship coach, speaker, and author. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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