This scary term may seem unfamiliar to you, but it is not that much different than your run of the mill marriage counseling. With discernment counseling, both partners involved are usually ambivalent about their future together.
They are unsure of what steps to take in order to progress their relationship, or uncertain of whether or not that the marriage should be ended and both parties move on respectfully.
If you and your partner have been at odds with one another for an extended period of time, perhaps you and your wife or husband should consider discernment counseling or even a marriage intensive retreat (read our list of the top ten couples intensive retreat in the US).
What Are the Signs?
How exactly do you know if you and your spouse need to undergo counseling? What kind of fights are you having? Do they revolve around fiscal responsibility? Have one of you had a recent affair, be it emotional or physical? Do the two of you have children together?
All of these stressful factors are perfectly understandable, and what needs to be realized is that it is okay when you feel as though you have no other option other than divorce.
If you feel like you just can’t win and you need to call it quits, then maybe you and your maybe soon-to-be ex partner need to find a therapist and have a serious discussion about the future of your relationship.
So What’s the Point?
Let’s be clear. There is a definable difference in ‘marriage counseling’ and ‘discernment counseling’. Marriage counseling actively seeks to rebuild the bond you once held dear with your spouse. Discernment counseling is a little more realistic.
Therapists in this field realize that not all marriages can be saved, and many times they do in fact end in divorce. While undergoing this counseling,
it is not unheard of to want to begin marriage counseling instead, but the main goal of discernment counseling is to take care of loose ends within an unhealthy marriage and decide what is best for both parties involved as individual human beings.
Is it Necessary?
Do you have unanswered questions? Are you or your spouse adamant about ending your marriage? If both you and your partner are struggling to find middle ground, perhaps discernment counseling is the right move for you both.
Often times, one party is willing to do whatever it takes to make the relationship and marriage work and grow once more; the other party is more uncertain, unsure, and believes that divorce is the best answer.
In this kind of counseling, the benefit the two of of you will receive does not truly revolve around your relationship. You will be treated as individuals with individual needs, and learn how best to part ways amicably, or to begin working with a marriage counselor.
How Much Time am I Investing?
Not very much at all. Depending on the situation, your matters can be settled in as little as one two hour meeting, or as many as five meetings of the same time.
Often times during this difficult struggles that couples face, fear of the future rears its ugly head at both parties involved. What you need to realize, if you are stuck in this unfortunate situation, is that you must make the best decisions for your future, and possibly your children.
You are an individual before you are a spouse, and if your needs as a spouse are not being addressed, you will not be faulted for seeking the proper guidance and action to correct the situation at hand.
Do Not be Afraid.
You should not be forced into any action that you are unwilling to participate in. That includes your marriage and your counseling. Your privacy and confidentiality of your specific situation will be held with the utmost respect.
Your discernment counseling is a safe space of preparing for the future and the obstacles that you will face, whether as a couple or as a divorced man or woman.
You will be given valuable one on one time with a counselor of the highest qualifications, and you won’t have to worry about being stuck in a group with strangers. Your situation is the most important one when you are in that meeting room. Nothing else matters. This is about your future and no one else’s.
Make the Right Decision.
Often times when we, as human beings, are faced with daunting change in our lives, we are tentative to make choices for fear of their long term affects. Many spouses that seek discernment counseling are uncertain about the future. While undergoing this specific type of therapy, you will find solace knowing that you actively made a decision to seek help for what you are going through. So many stressful things happen to married couples, and you are not alone in your struggles. Do not be the person that regrets inaction years down the road. Seeking help may be difficult at times, but it will be a choice you will be glad you made.
Is it the End?
Of course not! There are instances where couples seeking counsel decide that they are better of working together in their marriage, and even if that does not happen to you and your spouse, you need not harbor fear; life goes on after divorce. You will find new love. You will learn to help your children understand the ever-changing world in which they live in. You will learn to move on without your spouse and begin working on bettering yourself as an individual. No matter if you have been married for six months or ten years, regaining your identity as an individual can always be a challenging task, but with the right counseling, you will soon see that anything is possible and you will be able to conquer even the scariest of obstacles.
If you and your partner are having trouble deciding on the future of your relationship, please seek guidance with discernment counseling or even attend a marriage intensive retreat as mentioned above.
It will not only serve the both of you well, but you will gain the tools and resources you need to attack the future head on and without fear constantly nagging at the back of your mind. You deserve better as a person, and you deserve to have a therapist that understands the difficulties that you and your spouse are experiencing.