Couples on the Brink

Should I stay, or should I go?

“Our arguments have become volatile and destructive.”
“I love my spouse but am not in love with them.”
“We have never been this distant from each other.”
“We never touch each other anymore.”
“We have nothing in common, except the kids.”

When spouses struggle in their marriage with no clear understanding of how to address these problems, separation and divorce often becomes the only solution that couples consider. However, most spouses are confused, frightened and feel stuck trying to make this decision that has so many far-reaching implications for their family and themselves.

If someone is drowning, they want a life preserver, not swimming lessons

Discernment Counseling provides greater clarity and confidence for couples in their decision making about the future of their marriage, based on a deeper understanding of what’s happened to their marriage and each spouse’s contributions to the problem. It provides a safe space for spouses who may be in different places; one leaning out of the marriage, potentially confused and feeling guilty and the other spouse leaning into the marriage but feeling frightened, angry and emotionally upset.

Discernment Counseling is a structured, one to five session therapy with the goal of having the couple explore the difficult issues in their marriage and determine a specific path to move forward in their relationship. This therapy has been developed to allow each spouse a place to evaluate their own thoughts and feelings towards their marriage as well as understand their spouse’s perspectives so they can make informed, non-emotional decisions about the direction of their marriage—maintain the status quo, separate or divorce, or intensive couples therapy to attempt to resolve the issues.

Discernment counseling is not marital therapy. The goal is not to fix the problems but rather to make an informed decision on the path to follow to address the marital problems.

The paths:

  • Path 1: stay the course, neither divorce nor seek therapy.
  • Path 2: separation/divorce.
  • Path 3: a six-month commitment to couple’s therapy, with divorce off the table for that time.

Discernment counseling has a distinctive structure.

  • Short-Term: 1-5 sessions, preferably weekly. A decision is made after each session whether to meet again.
  • Two Hour Opening Session: 1.5 hour follow up sessions. Both partners are present for each session.
  • Session Flow: first part of each sessions with the couple, then separate conversations with each partner, followed by a brief sharing of something learned during the individual time, couple seen together at the end.
  • Confidentiality: no specific information from individual sessions is shared but general impressions are discussed.

To find out if Discernment Counseling is appropriate for you & your spouse, please contact Miles Wagman @ The Relationship Center (732-345-1399).

One advantage of marriage It seems to me Is that when you fall out of love with him Or he falls out of love with you It keeps you together until maybe you fall in again.
-Judith Viorst, Author