As a therapist, I always tell those who come for marital counseling that I will do everything in my power to help them overcome their difficulties and make their marriage stronger and more joyful. If both individuals want to do this, I have an abundance of strategies to accomplish this objective. When both are committed to this objective, the success rate is very high.
Sometimes, however, the commitment is simply not there for one, or both. The one who wants the marriage may be stymied by the fact that the therapist cannot convince the other to commit. He or she may even conclude that the therapist did not do a good job.
A good therapist, however, will explore deeply with the uncommitted partner to see if there is any possible way his or her feelings might be changed. By the time a professional is saying it may be best to separate, it should be because she has been assured repeatedly by the distancing partner that there is no hope, or that she feels the relationship is unhealthy to the point of being toxic.
Unfortunately, it is often the case that by the time couples come for counseling, the problems have been there, steadily worsening, for years. Instead of coming for marriage counseling when the problems first began, they are actually coming for separation counseling, because it is too late. Sadly, only one of the partners may truly know this, while the other struggles in vain to resuscitate something that is over.
The sad part for the therapist is knowing that had they come earlier, things might have been different.
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