Could You Benefit from Discernment Counseling?

preparing for divorce
discernment counseling

Discernment counseling is a unique approach to helping couples decide what they should do about their marriage. While traditional couples’ therapy typically has an end goal of saving the marriage or saving the relationship, discernment counseling allows couples to work through different processes and determine if staying together is the right choice. 

Irreconcilable Differences

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for divorce is irreconcilable differences. This is a common cause and probably one of the hardest hurdles to get over for people who are trying to save a marriage. If your partner is unwilling to work with you to even determine whether divorce is the right choice, discernment counseling might be the best way to go.

There are many issues that come up in marriage, from family life to finances and other stressors. Whether you and your partner handle these the same way can have an impact on the success of your marriage. If you feel your marriage is heading toward divorce because of this, discernment counseling may be a good choice. 

discernment counseling

If, like other things in your marriage, you’re struggling with the choice of whether to let go or hold on to the marriage, discernment counseling will help you walk through all the pros and cons of both staying married and getting a divorce. It can be especially hard to look at these options from an objective perspective, so counseling can put it more into perspective for you.

One Doesn’t, One Does

In some divorces, both parties agree that they would be better off getting a divorce. This isn’t always the case, though. For many couples, one person wants a divorce while the other person wants to stay married. 

It can be difficult for the person who wants the divorce because they know the marriage is over, and there is no point in trying to “drag things out.” They also know that it can be detrimental to others (kids, especially) involved to drag the relationship out, so they want to push to move on. 

It is equally difficult for a person who wants to stay married. Often, the person who wants to work things out and make the marriage work will have a strong connection to the commitment they made. They love their partner still and know that with some hard work, they can make things work. This person may even feel a sense of abandonment due to their partner pushing so hard to get out of the relationship. 

With emotions running high and a lot of things at stake, the decision to stay a marriage or end it with a divorce isn’t something any couple should take lightly. When one person wants to remain married, and the other wants a divorce, discernment counseling can help them determine which is the best choice for both parties. 

Reducing Conflict 

The conflicts that lead up to a divorce can be messy and uncomfortable. For some people, it can look like big fights, and for others, it can look like one partner, not even coming home for days. No matter what conflicts you’ve had with your partner leading up to a possible divorce, discernment counseling can help you work through the issues without it blowing up and turning into another argument. Couples who have trouble resolving conflict can benefit from discernment counseling even if they’re already heading toward a divorce. 

If you’ve already started divorce proceedings, discernment counseling may still be a great option. It can help you make the most of your time in court and learn more about the right way to handle your (and your soon to be ex-partner’s) emotions while going through a difficult case. While discernment counseling is less popular than the therapy some judges recommend, it may be an option that a judge suggests for couples who are struggling to come up with terms of their divorce.

Moving Forward 

If your partner has been reluctant to try marriage counseling, discernment counseling may be able to help them see the benefits that would come from more traditional counseling options. While it is not a way to force them to go to conventional therapy with you, it can be a way to broaden their horizons to what is available to help make your relationship work. For many people, submitting to marriage counseling is similar to admitting they are the one who is in the wrong. Nobody wants to feel that way. Since discernment counseling can be more balanced and look at things from more of a “realist” point of view, it may be a better option for those who are close-minded to therapy. 

If you come to a determination during discernment counseling that saving the marriage is the best option, many counselors will recommend couples’ therapy as a next step in figuring out how to save the marriage. While you may be desperate to do anything that will keep your relationship intact, it’s important to remember that discernment counseling won’t force your partner to stay. And during discernment counseling, you may even learn that divorce is the right choice for both of you!

If financial concerns are what is holding you back from moving forward with a divorce, contact me. We can work together on creating a financial plan for how to best move forward.

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