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Does marriage counselling really work?

Every marriage has its ups and downs. Thankfully, marriage counselling is freely available in Singapore and a powerful resource for couples at an impasse in their relationship. Just don’t wait until your marriage is on the verge of breakdown before seeking help – sooner rather than later is key as, left unchecked, marital problems may spiral. So, what’s involved?

Benefits of Marriage Counselling

More than half of plaintiffs in civil divorces in Singapore cited ‘Unreasonable Behaviour’ as the main reason for divorce in Singapore during 2016. This is when your spouse behaves in a manner, which you cannot reasonably be expected to live with, ranging from alcoholism to refusal to socialise. However upsetting, these issues need to necessarily be fatal to a marriage and can be remedied with early intervention.

Marriage counselling in Singapore
Find a counsellor with whom you both feel comfortable

The role of a marriage counsellor is to work with you and your spouse to overcome hurdles in your relationship and emerge as a more successful married couple. Marriage counselling will help you:

  1. Understand the issues in your marriage and communicate them to you from an objective perspective
  2. Clear up misunderstandings
  3. Manage the expectations that you and your spouse may have of each other
  4. Rekindle love, trust and commitment
  5. Discover the couple’s strengths and apply them to strengthening the marriage
  6. Work through unresolved marital issues methodically

Where can I find a marriage counsellor in Singapore?

Ditch the stigma – marriage counselling isn’t just for high-conflict couples. It is becoming increasingly common for normally happy couples to attend during a period of stress of transition and there are several avenues available:

  1. Private counsellors and family therapists: Arrange an initial session to get a sense of what to expect and discuss the packages offered
  2. Voluntary welfare organisations: Research Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE), Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) and Divorce Support Specialist Agencies (DSSAs) under the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)
  3. Religious institutions: Your local church, mosque or temple may provide assistance
  4. Family Service Centres (FSCs): Staffed by social service professionals, this community-based initiative offers services to enhance couples’ relationships, although it is primarily targeted at vulnerable or low-income families.

What happens if my spouse refuses to attend marriage counselling?

You don’t need to bin the idea entirely if your spouse is against the idea of marriage counseling. You can attend as an individual, though results may take longer than if both spouses attended counseling. Over time, your counselor may be able to bring your spouse around to the idea by broaching and encouraging conversations that you cannot handle on your own.

Divorce in Singapore

With so many organisations offering solutions, and a sincere effort to improve your relationship, attempting some form of marriage counseling is certainly worth a shot. However, in some cases, divorce proceedings may be inevitable.

If you’ve made the decision to divorce, engage a good divorce lawyer in Singapore to alleviate potential difficulties during this emotional time. Effective and compassionate legal representation is vital to help you navigate through the legal procedures, advise you on major decisions and protect your legal rights so that both parties can reach a fair settlement.

There are also Divorce Support Groups in Singapore whom you can turn to for comfort and support from people who have faced similar circumstances.

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If you’ve found this post helpful, read-up on counsellors in Singapore who might be able to help.