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Going to couples therapy or a marriage counselor is usually not an exciting endeavor for most. It’s likely that if you’re seeking relationship help, it’s because you’ve hit a seemingly unmanageable block in your marriage, and are hoping that a professional will get you through. It can be intimidating to enlist the help of a marriage counselor. It might not be nearly as scary as it sounds, and if you’re feeling anxious or worried about what to expect, here are a few things you can count on.

What to Expect in a Marriage Counseling Session

The Initial Meeting

The idea or even mere mention of counseling has a way of frightening people. Incorporate the fact that you and your spouse are expected to be vulnerable and open with a complete stranger, and the idea of counseling becomes polarizing. It’s natural to feel worried or anxious before an initial counseling session, but you’ll quickly notice that dread drifting away. It’s likely that your feelings about therapy will not change leading up to your initial session, but knowing what to expect can make the waiting period less unnerving.

A Counselor Will Ask You Questions

To get a feel for you as individuals as well as an understanding of your relationships and the troubles you are facing, a marriage counselor will start by getting to know you. The best way to get to know anybody is by asking questions. A good way to prepare yourself for a marriage counseling session is to identify what purpose you have for attending therapy. Recognize your purpose or longing for counseling, your spouse’s purpose for counseling, and determine whether you have the same purpose. Whatever you come up with cannot be wrong, it can only help you to answer your counselor’s questions, and help them identify what you are working towards as a couple.

It Will Be Uncomfortable

Relationships are messy. The truth of the matter is that the majority of marriage counseling happens to save a marriage. Most people don’t seek the help of a marriage counselor when their relationship is thriving. Counseling is often a solution to a problem, and society teaches us to hide our problems. Being vulnerable and opening up about the messiness of your life is foreign and uncomfortable, but it’s necessary to see the results you wish for. Fulfilling the purpose of your marriage counseling sessions the way you hope to, means that you can expect to be uncomfortable. Just remember that visiting a marriage counselor is probably not your first time feeling uncomfortable, and it definitely won’t be your last.

Set Low Expectations, Especially for Your First Visit

Marriage counseling is not a one-stop fix. Like anything great, it takes time, work and persistence to see lasting results. You wouldn’t go to the gym one time and expect to lose 50 pounds by the next morning. The same idea is true for couple’s therapy. Unrealistic expectations can lead to a failed marriage counseling experience. Set your expectations low for the first session, and you’ll be surprised by how pleased you are with the results.

Marriage counseling does not have to be scary. Knowing what to expect in a marriage counseling session can help ease the anxiety, and prepare you for what is in store.