Discernment Counseling: 4 Ways It Helps Couples on the Brink of a Divorce
Deciding whether or not you should stay married to your spouse will be a difficult decision, no matter what. Whether one partner is leaning toward divorce, or both are undecided, it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly.
While some couples benefit from marriage counseling, discernment counseling is different.
If you’re on the brink of divorce and you’re not sure if you want to stay married or not, discernment counseling can help to steer you in the right direction. It may even help you realize things about your relationship you didn’t see before.
So, in what ways can discernment counseling help your relationship if you’re considering a divorce?
1. It’s Faster Than Marriage Counseling
Marriage counseling can go on for months, or even years for struggling couples. Discernment counseling isn’t meant to “fix” your relationship. It’s meant to get couples moving forward, in one direction or another.
Because of this, it’s typically a brief process. Most counselors can help couples make a decision in as little as five sessions. If you’re on the fence about divorce, investing this short amount of time can offer a lot of clarity.
2. It Works for “Mixed Agenda” Couples
If your marriage is on the brink of divorce, it’s probably not a surprise for either partner. But it’s likely that one partner is further along on the “path” to divorce than the other. Simply put, they’re ready to end the relationship and the other person isn’t quite there yet.
Discernment counseling is great for couples where one person is ready for a divorce while the other wants to hold onto the marriage. It helps to eliminate a lot of emotional struggle going back and forth.
No matter what decision you end up making, it can really help to build a positive relationship between you and your partner. This is true even if you get a divorce in the end.
3. It Makes the Divorce Process Smoother
If you go through discernment counseling and end up deciding on divorce, the things you learned about yourselves and each other during the counseling sessions can really make the divorce process easier.
As a result, you’ll likely deal with less fighting throughout the proceedings. Lawyers will be needed less, and you won’t have to pay as many legal fees. Ending up in divorce doesn’t mean the counseling was unsuccessful.
4. You’ll Be Prepared for Marriage Counseling
If you go through discernment counseling and decide to stay married, you might consider going to marriage counseling afterward for long-term support.
The good news? As you enter marriage counseling, you’ll already have identified a lot of the major issues in your relationship through discernment counseling. You’ll know what you each need to work on in order to move forward and make your relationship stronger.
Marriage counseling is a great way to continue to work on strengthening your marriage after you’ve received the resources provided by discernment counseling. Even if you do decide to get a divorce later, you’ll have learned a lot about yourself through counseling. Knowing more about yourself, including core things you need to work on, can help to guide you in future relationships.
Finally, though, it’s important to keep in mind that discernment counseling isn’t a “quick fix” for couples on the brink of divorce. Rather, it’s a way to stop going in circles when it comes to making a decision. Wrestling internally (or with each other) about whether to get a divorce can be painful and make the process more difficult.
If you’ve been on the fence about whether you should end your marriage, discernment counseling can help. Gaining a clearer picture of your options is ultimately the best for both of you and your peace of mind, and I would like to help you with that. Please feel free to contact me to talk about discernment counseling or read about my approach to couples therapy.