When a couple comes in for marriage counseling, established in the first session
what their objectives are.
Counselors must be realistic in the objectives they tried to help a couple reach.
Make it clear that each mate must assume responsibility for changing himself
where he needs to, not for trying to change the other mate.
Help couples to communicate better.
Couples should be taught first of all to listen to each other, then to recognize
elements of truth in what the other person says.
An accusation may not be totally true but will usually contain a degree of truth.
After listening and recognizing a degree of truth in an accusing statement,
the individual should be encouraged to state how he or she sees the situation.
Help couples to grow in Christ and in His love.
Without Christ a couple even through counseling may be gaining more "weapons"
with which to argue.
Growing in Christ can make individuals less selfish and thus resolve many
marriage problems automatically.
What is it like to live with a person's personality is characterized by love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?
The fruit of the Spirit is character traits that result from knowing Christ
and growing in Him.
Finally, experiment with various techniques.
For example, it may be helpful to have both individuals write down what
they like and dislike about their mate and then share it with the mate.
Or it may be helpful to have both individuals make a list of their mate's needs
and how they can help meet those needs, or to make a list of their own needs
and how those needs can be met.
Or have a couple share with each other why they feel the other is their
perfect completion, or what is their biggest concern or worry in life.
It is often helpful to teach couples to use "I" statements rather than
"you" (accusing) statements, to use statements that reflect feelings
(as "I felt hurt when…").
To stick to the present, to attack behavior rather than character,
to discuss only one issue at a time, to deal with conflicts promptly,
or to speak in an adult manner (controlling aggressive emotions and behavior).