Mandy Kloppers

Do Marriage Counsellors Ever Tell You To Get Divorced?

When couples decide to go to a marriage counsellor, it’s usually because they can tell that their relationship is on its last legs. No matter how hard they try, they just don’t seem to be able to keep it together. 

It might sound strange to say, but sometimes the relationship isn’t destined to work. In many cases, marriage counsellors might actually be doing the couple a favour by telling them to split. But do they? 

Therapists Usually Stay At Arm’s Length

Before marriage counselling, many couples assume that the marriage counsellor will give them clear instructions on what they should do. Actually, that doesn’t usually happen. Therapists rarely give direct advice. Instead, their job is mainly to facilitate a conversation between the two parties to see if they can work things out. 

Sometimes, counsellors will run out of tools to help the couple. If neither individual is willing to make changes, sacrifice or effort, there isn’t much the therapist can do. In those situations, they might say something like, “sorry, but there isn’t anything more I can do for you.” However, they won’t tell a couple to split up. Instead, they may recommend a different therapist, approach or lifestyle. 

Most couples still want to fight for their marriage. While they’re in a lot of pain, that’s usually a good sign. It means that their relationships still matters a great deal to them, and they’re not willing to throw in the towel just yet, 

In some cases, therapists may tell couples to get divorced but then the couple can improve once they find the right guidance. Counsellors don’t know the ins-and-outs of every relationship, and many will wrongly believe that the partnership is doomed, even when it isn’t. 

Therapists Usually Won’t Tell Couples To Divorce, Even If They Ask Directly

marriage therapist

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Many couples say to the therapist things like, “you’ve seen how awful our relationship is. Should we give it up and get divorced?”

Therapists won’t immediately recommend local divorce lawyers. Instead, they’ll usually just come back with questions about what’s being said, or statements to the effect of “that’s your call.”

Therapists are also great believers in the art of “cooling off.” When couples are embroiled in the height of emotional turmoil, it can be difficult for them to make any sensible decisions about their futures. There are too many feelings involved. 

Counsellors will routinely split couples up, sit them down in separate rooms, and then talk to them individually. Often this approach is much more effective because it affords both couples the opportunity to speak freely. They don’t feel constrained by the other party in any way. 

What If There Is Evidence Of Physical Abuse? 

Even if there is evidence of physical abuse, therapists still won’t recommend divorce. Instead, their role at that stage is to protect the victim and provide them with access to resources that can help them. Their primary concern is getting the abused person out of the dangerous environment. Divorce is a secondary legal matter that can happen later. 


Featured image: Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels