Marriage counseling or couples therapy, is a valuable source of support for couples facing challenges in their relationship. It offers a structured and safe environment to address issues, improve communication, and strengthen the bond between partners. However, there might be situations where marriage counselling doesn’t yield the best results. In such situations, couples can explore alternative options and strategies through their difficulties. Some of these alternative strategies are listed below:

  • Reflect

Couples usually come into marriage counselling with the hopes of resolving their issues. Hence, it can be heartbreaking to realize that marriage counselling isn’t making things better. However, at such times, it is crucial to take a step back and reflect on why the counselling process isn’t working. Sometimes, the style of therapy opted for by the couple’s therapist might not be a good fit or sometimes couples might come to marriage counselling expecting immediate solutions or results. Either way, reflection will decide on the next course of action

  • Assess Readiness

The outcome of marriage counseling depends a lot on the commitment and willingness of both partners to put effort and make changes in their relationship dynamics. Thus, it is important to reflect on and evaluate the commitment levels of both partners towards the counseling process. Are both partners actively engaged and willing to work on the relationship? Lack of commitment from one or both partners can hinder progress. Having an open conversation about each other’s commitment and willingness to change can be helpful in this situation.

  • Explore Individual Therapy

Sometimes, underlying individual issues or unresolved personal challenges can impact the dynamics of a relationship. In such situations, both partners can benefit from individual therapy sessions where they get a safe space to focus on personal growth and healing, which can eventually benefit their marriage or relationship in the long run. Some couples may opt for individual sessions alongside marriage counselling.

  • Consider A Different Therapist

The outcome of marriage counseling also depends on the relationship between the couple and the couple’s therapist. Sometimes, it is possible that a couple and the therapist aren’t the best fit for each other, and the couple might benefit from another style of therapy. In such situations, it is important to have an open conversation with the therapist and find another therapist who can be the best fit for the couple’s needs. 

Sometimes couples might need specialized care, such as trauma-informed care or family therapy, In such situations, it is best to find a therapist who is specialized in those areas, along with marriage counselling

  • Consider Other Sources Of Support

Couple’s therapy or marriage counselling isn’t the only source of support for couples. Sometimes couples might benefit from other sources of support, such as couples workshops. These workshops provide opportunities for deepening connections, learning new skills, and gaining insights from experienced facilitators or therapists. Couples may also choose to attend marriage support groups or group therapy, where they can meet other couples going through similar issues and learn how to overcome them.

What To Avoid When Marriage Counseling Doesn’t Work?

  • Avoid Being Too Hard On Yourself

It can be overwhelming and heartbreaking when marriage counseling doesn’t work. Sometimes both partners may feel like failures as well. However, it is important to understand that many factors impact the outcome of marriage counseling. Hence, partners need to avoid blaming themselves if the counseling process hasn’t worked. Self-blame can make the situation worse as well.

  • Avoid Blaming Your Partner

Just like being too hard on yourself, blaming your partner for the failure of marriage counseling can make things worse as well. Instead, it is important to remember that your marriage or relationship can work when both of you are on the same team. Thus, focusing on supporting each other might be helpful rather than blaming.


In summary, it is important to remember that there are situations where marriage counseling might not work. However, it is important to approach the situation with openness and consider alternative options, such as finding another therapist or exploring other sources of support, such as individual therapy, group therapy, workshops or support groups. Remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, and there are various resources and strategies available to support couples in their journey toward creating a healthy relationship


  1. Markhowell. (2019, May 6). My Marriage Counseling Failed … Now What?! After the Aisle.
  2. When Couples Counseling is Not Working – What NOT To Do. (n.d.). Relationship Therapy, Raleigh NC. Retrieved March 25, 2024, from
Dhruva Koranne

Dhruva Koranne has completed his Masters in Applied Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, BALM. He has been practicing as a counsellor since 2020 and works to create a safe space for clients where they can open up. In addition to this, Dhruva loves researching and studying about upcoming theories in the field of Psychology. Connect with him on Linkedin