Everyone loves a good reality show, and WE tv’s “Marriage Boot Camp” doesn’t disappoint. It features real celebrity couples who expose all of their relationship problems during an extreme marriage boot camp. While it’s entertaining (and sometimes helpful) to listen in on their sessions, everything that’s said should be taken with a grain of salt. After all, reality TV isn’t always…realistic.
The good news is that real marriage boot camps exist, and you don’t have to be a celebrity to attend one. If you’re thinking about marriage boot camp, counseling, or therapy, here are five things you should know:
1. Prepare to Be Vulnerable
It might not be easy to open up about marital problems, but marriage boot camps, counseling, and therapy require some major vulnerability. Before going, make sure you and your spouse are willing to be totally honest about your issues.
2. Find One That Fits
There are boot camps, relationship coaches, and therapists for all types of couples (same-sex, non-binary) and can be religious-based or private. It’s important to spend some time researching which one is best for you. You should also make sure the type of therapist you see is licensed in your state and has specific training in couples therapy approaches.
3. Be Open to Learning
When you attend a marriage boot camp, you’re likely going to have marriage “homework.” Your counselor or therapist will give you things to work on, so it’s important to be open to them! You’ll work on things like improving your communication and learning how to argue in a healthy way.
Research shows that couples who stick with therapy show the most improvements long-term, so give it your best shot!
4. Know Why You’re Attending
The decision to try a marriage boot camp should be a joint one. Before going, you should have an open, honest, and direct conversation with your spouse about the reasons you want to give it a try. What specifically do you need to improve (both as a couple and individually) to get your relationship back on track? In order for a marriage boot camp to be successful, you both need to be on the same page about why you’re there.
5. Remember It’s Not a Quick Fix
Marriage boot camp or therapy isn’t going to solve your relationship problems overnight, and once you do start seeing improvements, the work doesn’t end there. Depending on what you need to improve, it can take a year or more to get things back on track. Take it slow, monitor your progress, and celebrate the little victories along the way!
Whether you choose a marriage boot camp, therapist, or counselor, remember to set realistic expectations and take it one step at a time. If you and your partner are committed to improving your marriage, putting in the necessary effort, and keeping open minds, your relationship will be back to a healthy, happy state in no time.