Now here's a novel thought: Husband and Wife decide to try to save their marriage. They find a marriage counselor. They attend a few sessions. One of them drops out, saying: "This isn't worth it." The other spouse continues marriage counseling in one-on-one sessions. Can this possibly work to help the couple save their marriage?" According to Ellen Bernstein, writing in the Wall Street Journal, yes--one-on-one marriage counseling can work.
Bernstein's expert had a short explanation for why this one-on-one marriage counseling can work:
"The process works best if both partners participate, experts say. But if just one partner is willing, a couples-based approach can be substantially more effective for the marriage than traditional individual psychotherapy, Dr. Markman says. This is because couples therapy teaches practical skills for improving the relationship; individual therapy often focuses on uncovering patterns from childhood and other experiences. Dr. Markman recently started offering relationship coaching on the phone for women who can't get their spouses into counseling."
That's not to say that you can do this without a few basic groundrules:
"In order for couples therapy alone to work, there are some ground rules. The relationship must be basically sound—no lying, cheating or abuse. The therapist will focus on the relationship, not the individual. And the partner who doesn't come to therapy must still want to improve the marriage and should be informed about what goes on."
You can read Bernstein's entire WSJ article here: "Couples Therapy for One: To Fix a Marriage, Some Go Alone," Bernstein, Ellen, March 6, 2012. Or follow Ellen Bernstein's column at www.Facebook.com/EBernsteinWSJ.