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DISCERNMENT COUNSELING  

FOR COUPLES ON THE BRINK OF DIVORCE

If you or your spouse are considering divorce but are not completely sure that’s the best path, you are in a tough spot. Discernment Counseling is designed for you. It’s a chance to slow down, take a breath, and look at your options for your marriage. 

Discernment Counseling is different from typical marriage counseling. Traditional marriage counseling is helpful for couples when both individuals are motivated to work at making changes in the relationship. Discernment Counseling is a new way of helping couples where one person is “leaning out” of the relationship—and not sure that regular marriage counseling would help--and the other is “leaning in”—that is, interested in rebuilding the marriage. The counselor will help you decide whether to try to restore your marriage to health, move toward divorce, or take a time out and decide later.  

The goal is not to solve your marital problems but to see if they are solvable. 

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Unlike marriage counseling, Discernment Counseling is short term and takes place for 1-5 sessions. After each session you will decide if you wish to attend another. The goal is for you to gain clarity and confidence about a direction, based on a deeper understanding of your relationship and its possibilities for the future. 

You will explore three paths for your relationship:

  1. Your relationship can continue as it is, without a clear resolution to the issues you may be having.
  2. You will determine that separation or divorce is the healthiest option for the relationship.
  3. You will commit to ongoing couples counseling in order to work through relationship issues, with divorce taken off of the table.

You will each be treated with compassion and respect no matter how you are feeling about your relationship at the moment.

No bad guys and good guys. You will come in as a couple but the most important work occurs in the one-to-one conversations with the counselor. Why? Because you are starting out in different places. The counselor respects your reasons for divorce while trying to open up the possibility of restoring the marriage to health. She emphasizes the importance of each of you seeing your own contributions to the problems and the possible solutions. This will be useful in future relationships even if this one ends.