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What to Expect in Marriage Counseling?

There are lots of benefits to pursuing marriage counseling. But couples often don’t know what to expect when looking into therapy for their relationship.

At Wellspace Counseling, we try to make the process of starting counseling as easy as possible. And our online counseling portal makes it possible for us to serve marriages in Tualatin, Lake Oswego, Portland, or anywhere throughout the state of Oregon.

But more than an easy start, there is more to the process of marriage counseling you should expect. Here are a few:

Expectations of Marriage Counseling #1 — Hard Conversations:

Hard conversations are typically part of counseling. The conversations tend to get more difficult during marriage counseling.

There is a reason for this. It’s because you are adding one extra person to the counseling process.

Does this mean it is worth pursuing marriage counseling?

Actually, it makes marriage counseling more valuable. A marriage counselor can help you navigate the conversations that need to happen for the health of your relationship.

Expectations of Marriage Counseling #2 — Not Every Session Ends with Good Feelings:

You’re probably thinking, “Jason, you’re not making marriage counseling sound all that enticing.”

Sorry about that.

But the truth is that most marriages come in with a few years of hurt feelings. And a system of relating with one another that isn’t working anymore.

Therapy for your marriage can help you examine those hurt feelings. Work through them. And repair them. But that takes time. More time than can be completed within a 50-or-90-minute time frame.

Patience and perseverance, as well as the guidance of a trusted marriage counselor, will help you reach a place of peace over pain, however.

Expectations of Marriage Counseling #3 — Learn About Your Marriage Relationship:

You can expect to learn more about your marriage relationship — and that’s a good thing! You’ll learn how your communication style impacts your spouse, and visa-versa. Marriage counseling will help you understand how your spouse is affected by your behavior and actions.

Marriage relationships are dynamic and will often change over the years. If you haven’t seen a counselor for your marriage in a few years, then things have changed. Communication has changed. And that is worth looking into.

Expectations of Marriage Counseling #4 — Learn Skills to Communicate: Are you needing help in the realm of communication within your marriage? Maybe a little too much arguing? Or perhaps there is a feeling that no communication is taking place at all?

A marriage counselor will show you techniques to help you improve your communication. Using tools like “I Messages” and active listening help to avoid an increase in verbal arguments.

But just as valuable as learning communication tools is learning the emotions involved, as well. And in learning about the emotions behind your interactions, you’ll be able to make your communication a strength in the relationship.

Expectations of Marriage Counseling #5 — Vulnerability is Required:

This goes back to the hard conversations. Strong marriages need a high level of trust in your partner. It is important to know that your feelings matter to your spouse. And for your spouse to know that their feelings matter to you.

That is not always the case.

Marriage counseling can help you rebuild trust in the relationship. But that will not happen without each person becoming vulnerable.

I get it. Sharing emotions can be scary. Especially when trust is low.

But to reach your goal of having a strong, lasting relationship in marriage, you must foster trust. Vulnerably sharing your emotions and thoughts is the only way.


The process of building or rebuilding the marriage and relationship you desire is not an easy one. But marriage counselor can help you get there.

Knowing what to expect from your marriage counseling experience will help prepare you for success in pursuing the goals of having a healthy and long-lasting relationship to the person you married.


Jason Wilkinson is a mental health counselor and owner of Wellspace Counseling in Tualatin, Oregon. He is passionate passionate about helping marriages in Tualatin, Lake Oswego, Portland, and throughout Oregon reach their relational goals through marriage counseling.


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