Rebuilding a marriage with counseling

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If you both sincerely want your marriage to be saved, you have a very good chance of succeeding. Here’s how you can ensure that your efforts pay off.

With the help of a professional marriage counselor or therapist, your mutual decision to face the problems in your marriage head-on can save your sacred union. You have to be willing to do the work, though, and some of it will be painful — if not excruciating. Then again, so is childbirth.

The first step is choosing a professional with whom you both feel comfortable. Make sure, of course, he or she has a good reputation and a history of restoring marriages for the long-haul. You need someone nonjudgmental and if there’s simpatico between you, so much the better.

Since it takes two people to make a marriage (but only one to break it) you’ll both need to attend scheduled sessions, every time, religiously. Do any homework your counselor gives, and really keep your attention focused on restoring the shattered trust, broken dreams and general disruption caused by the actions of the cheating spouse. If only one of you is doing the work, not only will it impede progress but will foster resentment — which is the last thing your fragile union needs.

Guard your marriage from outside temptations and focus on revitalizing that spark and deep friendship that you felt when you first got engaged. Although ‘real-world’ demands necessarily compete and can diminish this vibrant feeling, if you can find ways to trigger it again throughout your day, it will help strengthen and deepen the new bond between you. Ask your therapist for suggestions that can put some more light-hearted, fun shared activities back into your lives.

Mostly, go into it with determination, guarded optimism and deep compassion. Affairs hurt everyone involved (including the ‘other’ person), so forgiveness at the deepest spiritual level can release long-held toxic resentments and smooth the way for your mutual reconciliation.