The stat that half of all marriages end in divorce has been debunked (it’s actually closer to about 30 percent now, according to the most recent census data), and the reason why is more and more couples are going to counseling — and it can really work.
In a survey of 1,000 engaged, married, and divorced people, participants were asked who was attending marriage counseling in 2017, what reasons they were going to counseling, and how often. A whopping 49 percent said that they had attended some form of counseling with their spouse. Yay for therapy! “Out of the three generations who were surveyed (Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers), the youngest age group — Millennials — were most likely to attend marriage counseling with 51 percent of Millennial respondents indicating they had attended with their spouse,” reports the study.
Income also plays a large role in who is likely to attend marriage counseling. Oddly, respondents who make the most amount of money ($100,000 or more per year) were least likely to attend counseling with their spouse. Respondents who made the least ($30,000 or less per year) were most likely to attend a marriage counseling session.
But just because couples are seeking help for their differences, doesn’t mean it’s a weekly thing. Though nearly half of respondents say they had attended a marriage counseling session in the past, not many couples are regularly attending sessions. “Just one in four respondents who said they’ve attended marriage counseling previously say they still attend on a regular basis with 18 percent of respondents indicating they attend counseling once a week and 11 percent indicating they attend once per month. However, 51 percent of respondents say they have only attended a counseling session a handful of times,” says the study.
The reasons couples are attending marriage counseling vary, of course. The number one reason couples attended counseling was because of lack of communication. That was followed by an affair, money/debt, children, parenting style, in-laws, and work.
Dr. Todd Frye, Professor and Dean of Behavioral Sciences and Counseling at MidAmerica Nazarene University, says that couples seek out marriage counseling because they want the truth.
“I think truth about relationships can most easily be found in the characteristics of the Holy Trinity. Within the three parts of the Trinity are characteristics of intimacy, vulnerability, dependency, equality, and respect which all marriages need,” he says. “Accomplishing this can be very difficult as we tend to move easily toward our own defenses and individualistic ways of managing our fears. These become a threat to the mutual give and receive that we were designed for.”
Some good news: Out of the couples who attended counseling, 71 percent of those say their experiences have ranged from helpful to very helpful. Of those who haven’t yet attended marriage counseling with a spouse, 52 percent were interested in trying it out.
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