If you needed open-heart surgery, how would you pick a surgeon? Would you go to just anyone on your list of insurance providers? I doubt it. When your life is on the line, most people research which doctors are experts, which ones performed the most heart surgeries and which had the best outcomes.

When you select a marriage counselor, you are choosing someone to perform emotional open-heart surgery on your relationship. It’s important to choose someone who is an expert, who specializes in doing couples therapy and who believes in the commitment of marriage.


In his book, Take Back Your Marriage: Sticking Together in a World That Pulls Us Apart, William Doherty, Ph.D. states that couples are best to work with a therapist who values marriage. In the 1970s, “the age of the individual,” therapists were taught to be totally neutral about divorce. If a couple wanted to work on their marriage that was fine; but, if the couple wanted to work on separation, that was also fine. The enlightened therapist saw the commitment of marriage as a contract between two independent adults and didn’t focus on the consequences for individuals or the impact on children and families.

Academic literature over the past several decades has concluded that children ultimately fare better in stable two-parent families. Divorce is incredibly painful and disruptive to individuals and families, emotionally, socially and financially. The amount of change that individuals and children go through as a result of a divorce is excessive.

Each divorce is the death of a small civilization.
– Pat Conroy

In 2005, Doherty coined the term “marriage friendly therapist,” meaning that the therapist had a leaning toward working to keep couples together, before considering divorce. He founded the National Registry of Marriage-Friendly Therapists as a resource for couples to find therapists who are well-trained in couples therapy and professionally committed to restoring relationships in trouble; therapists who are not neutral in their orientation towards whether couples stay married or divorce. They also have specialized training in working with couples. We are part of their organization.

John Gottman, Ph.D. found that the average couple waits six years from the time trouble begins to go for help. If you or someone you know needs help in their marriage or relationship, we would be delighted to help.

We would love to hear your thoughts about marriage therapy on Facebook or email us at info@RelationshipsWork.com

Image copyright Wavebreakmediamicro | Dreamstime.comTherapist Smiling At Reconciled Couple Holding Hands Photo