Coaching Marriage: Can couples really be coached?

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“Almost no one is foolish enough to imagine that he automatically deserves great success in any field of activity; yet almost everyone believes that he automatically deserves success in marriage.”
Sidney J. Harris

I hope the title has raised an intriguing question that will make you ponder this for a moment; and drive you to read the article. Coaching is a wonderful science and art. It takes what people have and helps them get to what their goals are. Everything in this life is about finding out what you want to do and figuring out a way to do it while realizing your own potential and understanding your limitations. With that in mind, let us talk about marriage.

            Marriage is the union of two people with the blessing of their respective religion or law, depending on where you live. Marriage merges two people trying to live with each other, start a family, love and care for each other and plan a life where they support each other and help each other grow. It is a merger of two people who are supposed to help each other achieve their dreams, live healthy and be supported. Now all of that sounds great, but keep in mind that this has to be done with TWO people having to almost think and act as one. We have trouble living with ourselves, understanding ourselves and what we want and being able to achieve our own goals. Now we are asked to do that while understanding someone else, changing our trajectory in life to be complimentary to another person, and then have children who take on a whole different value and role in our lives. And you wonder if coaching has any role here?

            The truth is marriage has its own counselors, its own coaches and its own experts. But it all comes down to a simple truth: It is the two people who chose each other that need to ultimately make it work, no matter the advice or direction they are afforded by any expert. As it stands now, most people seek coaching or counseling when they or their marriage is in trouble. I mean most people think that if something is not broke why try to fix it. And in a society like ours, it is taboo to talk about troubled marriage, divorce or problems because that just means that we made a mistake and we will be judged and we will be ashamed and we will live without mistake. For the most part, most people try really hard to make their marriage work. None of us gets married to get a divorce or to have problems, but we do.

            Marriage coaching involves sitting down with the couples together and as individuals and go over their goals, plans, visions and their expectations. It is used prior to marriage, for people who want to maximize their marriage and for people who have trouble in their marriage. Coaching takes the marriage as a whole, and as I mentioned, takes the individuals into account. It tackles marriage as a goal like everything else. To help reach that goal, it goes over abilities, a plan, a desired outcome and looks at different ways to achieve those goals. It involves in depth analysis and discussion with the couple, and it studies them, their outlook and helps them navigate themselves, their partners and their partnership. Marriage is a dynamic state, not static. We grow older, we change, we have children, we change jobs, income, place of residence, and so much more. Coaching is a dynamic approach also that takes into consideration the current state and the possibilities of the future state and prepares the couple for come what may.

            Some of the most common topics coaching tackles in marriage and pre-marriage include setting goals, possible troubles, communication skills and listening skills, money and the financial wellbeing of the family, work, intimacy, children, and other responsibilities, aspirations and dreams.

            Marriage can be one of the most wonderful experiences we can ever have. It takes work, lots of work, but it is so rewarding if it works. And that my friends is exactly why coaching works in marriage: To try and remove the “if” and replace it with “will”.