Is it Time to See a Marriage Guidance Counsellor?
Image Source: Flickr
Attitudes towards involving a third party in your marriage have certainly changed over the last 75 years or so. There was a time when ‘death do us part’ really did mean what it said. The very idea of speaking to the likes of a marriage counsellor, if they existed, back in the day was a complete no no.
Which was all well and good, if you had nothing to complain about as far as your marital partner was concerned. But how about the thousands of unhappy and miserable people who were stuck in a loveless marriage? Here we take a look at Relate, the charity that offers relationship support in the UK.
Originally founded way back in 1938, Relate was first known as the National Marriage Guidance Council. They were formed because it had been noted that the UK divorce rate was increasing at an alarming rate. Up until this time, married people generally remained that way, regardless of how happy or unhappy they were.
The differences between then and now are perhaps too many to list here. Could you imagine explaining to somebody back in 1938 that nearly 80 years later, a massive 17% of couples actually meet on the internet? Apart from not knowing what the ‘internet’ was, the very idea of shacking up with someone you may have only met a few weeks earlier was pretty much unheard of.
Relate is currently doing its very best to cope with a rise in the number of couples considering divorce, and that number is likely to climb even higher. It has certainly become more common for couples simply to walk away from their marriage these days. Social pressures are lower, and it’s no longer ‘shameful’ to separate if you’re stuck in an unhappy partnership. Despite this, Relate have developed a tremendous reputation for helping couples get through hard times, and it’s been earned the hard way.
Typically, a counselling course for marriage troubles could last around 10 or 12 sessions, and these can last from around 30 mins to an hour. Relate was originally set up to do its level best to uphold the ‘sacred trust’ of marriage but the focus now is on trying to find a path that will lead to a happier situation – whatever that might be.
Relate is now more about learning to value your relationships, and that doesn’t mean just marriage. By valuing all types of partnerships, we learn to value ourselves, and place trust in those that are a part of our lives.
Originally, counsellors were middle class types, and typically white women. Now there are fewer stereotypes, as cultures and classes have come together since the early days. Each counsellor now must be able to speak with ease about sex and other issues that can make or break a relationship. This in turn empowers their clients to speak up, and ultimately, disclose whatever the root cause of the problem is within their relationship.
Relate has now been established for 78 years and is responsible for saving countless marriages, as well as guiding many couples towards the best course of action under difficult circumstances.