What Not to Say in Marriage Counseling: Avoid These Relationship-Straining Phrases

What Not to Say in Marriage Counseling: Avoid These Relationship-Straining Phrases

I’ve seen couples make the same mistakes again and again during their marriage counseling sessions. Many individuals, even those with the best intentions, can unintentionally say something that causes more harm than good. These phrases that we think are helpful can be relationship-straining and further distance us from our partners. It’s crucial to recognize what not to say in marriage counseling sessions to avoid making the situation worse. In this article, I’ll share with you the most commonly used phrases that you should avoid saying in marriage counseling to strengthen your relationship.

What not to say in marriage counseling?

Marriage counseling is a safe space where couples can share their deepest concerns and work together towards building a healthier and happier relationship. However, there are certain things that should never be said in marriage counseling. Here are some things that should be avoided to ensure a productive counseling session:

  • “Don’t tell my husband/wife this, but…”
  • This statement immediately puts the marriage counselor in a difficult position. As a neutral party, the counselor cannot keep secrets from either partner. It is important that both parties feel safe and heard during the counseling session, and this statement can create an atmosphere of distrust.
  • “No, I think you’re wrong”
  • The aim of marriage counseling is not to prove who is right or wrong. It is to find common ground and ways to move forward as a team. This statement can put the other partner on the defensive and make them less likely to open up.
  • “That’s it; I want a divorce”
  • While there may be situations where this is the best course of action, it is not constructive to bring it up during a counseling session. It can shut down communication and hinder progress in the session, leaving both parties feeling frustrated and hopeless. The counselor is there to help the couple find a way forward, and this statement can make that difficult.
  • Overall, it is important to approach marriage counseling with an open mind, a willingness to communicate, and a desire to work towards building a stronger relationship. Avoiding these statements can help ensure a more productive and positive counseling session.

    ???? Pro Tips:

    1. Avoid blaming and accusing your partner in front of the therapist. It’s essential to show respect and communicate in a civil manner.
    2. Don’t exaggerate or manipulate the facts for your benefit or to prove you are right. This may create doubt and suspicion that will hinder the counseling process.
    3. Refrain from using hostile language or derogatory terms. Words can impact significantly on emotions, creating tension and anger that will not foster a collaborative and supportive environment.
    4. Avoid ultimatums or threats that may escalate the situation or make your partner feel pressured. The counselor’s primary objective is to develop healthy communication, boundaries, and solutions through a positive experience.
    5. Don’t hold back or hide your true feelings or opinions, as this may stall the progress of the therapy session. Sharing personal experiences and thoughts can lead to a deeper understanding, empathy, and even forgiveness.

    Keeping Secrets from Your Partner

    One common issue that arises during marriage counseling sessions is when one spouse asks the therapist not to tell their partner something. Unfortunately, such requests are counterproductive and can even harm the relationship. As marriage counselors, it’s essential to maintain the trust of both partners while creating a safe and welcoming environment to address their issues. Secrets between partners can only cause more significant problems in the long run.

    From an ethical standpoint, marriage counselors are obligated to maintain confidentiality between the couple. However, successful counseling requires an open and honest approach to communication. Keeping secrets from one partner would mean that they’re unable to work together to address issues, and the therapist’s role becomes minimal. Therefore, marriage counseling sessions can only be effective if both partners’ trust is established and open communication channels are created.

    Avoiding Taking Sides

    An essential role of marriage counselors is to remain neutral and not take sides during sessions. Taking sides leads to a lack of progress in addressing the couple’s issues. Being neutral ensures that both partners feel heard and respected, regardless of who caused the problem.

    Marriage counseling is not about blaming one partner or the other. It’s about understanding the underlying issues that lead to conflicts and finding ways to work together towards a resolution. Taking sides only leads to more significant conflicts and amplifies the problems, which is exactly what marriage counseling is meant to mitigate.

    The Importance of Listening

    Effective communication requires effective listening skills, and this is especially important in marriage counseling sessions. As a therapist, it’s crucial to listen to both partners carefully and rephrase their words to ensure that nothing is misunderstood. Listening skills should always be carried out without bias or judgment, which allows partners to feel heard and better understood.

    Marriage counseling requires a lot of listening from the therapist, which allows them to understand each partner’s perspective and concerns. It’s essential not to interrupt when the partner is speaking and to help them coherently express their feelings, thoughts, and emotions. This way, the couple can work towards a resolution that works for both parties.

    Communicating Effectively

    As marriage counselors, we encourage couples to develop their communication skills. We emphasize the importance of expressing oneself effectively and being able to listen actively. When couples develop their communication skills, they can work together towards a mutual resolution more effectively.

    Effective communication involves expressing oneself in a way that’s respectful, honest, and clear. Good communication lies in the delivery and receipt of a message. Couples must understand how to deliver their message without being hurtful or disrespectful to their partner. The ability to communicate is essential for problem-solving between partners.

    Staying Open to Different Perspectives

    One of the crucial advantages of seeking counseling is the ability to view problems from different perspectives. Remaining open to different perspectives is essential in establishing effective communication. We must encourage both partners to listen to their spouse’s perspective without being judgmental or dismissive.

    Marriage counselors must avoid taking sides or biased opinions that could lead to ineffective communication. If one partner has difficulty accepting their spouse’s opinion or feelings, we encourage them to take some time to reflect and give the conversation another chance when they’re in a more receptive state.

    Bullet Points:

  • Staying open to different perspectives creates a more comprehensive understanding of the couple’s issues.
  • Deliberately considering different perspectives helps both partners see things in a new light.
  • Encourages the development of effective communication and problem-solving skills.

    Avoiding Ultimatums or Threats

    Marriage counseling is a safe space, and it is essential that we maintain this environment’s integrity. As such, it is essential to avoid ultimatums or threats, aimed either at the therapist or spouse.

    Ultimatums or threats create an unhealthy environment for resolving problems. Instead, we try to explore issues in a way that creates safe space for both partners to express themselves. Once these conflicts are addressed, we encourage the couple to set boundaries to avoid any of these controls happening again in future.

    Bullet Points:

  • Ultimatums or threats create a hostile environment.
  • Threats put pressure on the spouse, leading to poor mental health or emotional responses.
  • Establishing boundaries creates a safer and healthier environment for resolving problems.


    Marriage counseling is an essential tool for couples who want to work on strengthening their relationship. However, effective counseling can only happen if both partners remain open to expressing themselves freely and respectfully. We must maintain the integrity of the counseling sessions and create an environment where couples can learn to communicate effectively.

    As marriage counselors, our duty is to ensure that couples develop healthy and safe communication channels long after therapy is over. With effective communication, couples can work to resolve conflicts that arise in their relationship, which in turn strengthens their connection.


  • Similar Posts