Are you looking to improve your relationship? Are unsure of which approach would be best for you?  Couples often do not understand the difference between marriage coaching and marriage counseling, however, they are different.  Each couple’s specific relationship status will determine which one is better.

Coaching vs counseling. Coaching is effective

Couple after marriage coaching.

Why Choose Marriage Coaching?

Marriage coaching is effective because it focuses on taking a couple from their present situation to where they want to be in the future.  Coaching doesn’t focus on past hurts or traumas.  Instead, marriage coaching as practiced by MarriageTeam teaches relationship skills and helps couples apply the skills in actionable steps.  It is focused on resolving issues now and in the future. It also helps the couple create mutual accountability for the changes they want to see.

Marriage coaching:

  • Is future focused: Creates new agreements on how to behave for future situations.
  • Focuses on behavior: Uses feelings as a motivator to drive your future actions.
  • Has a simple plan: Applies improved relationship skills. Strategy is easy to follow and observable.
  • Is couple driven: You are the expert on your relationship and goals you want to achieve.
  • Results are often quicker: Applied actions achieve desired results in a shorter time.
  • Provides an accommodating schedule: Can easily coach in person or with video conferencing.

When Would A Couple Choose Marriage Counseling?

Counseling typically addresses the past to resolve mental health and relationship issues in the present.  Counseling is based on more of a medical model that focuses on diagnosing and handling challenges.  Issues such as domestic violence, emotional abuse, mental health issues, depression, personality disorders, trauma, PTSD, and addictions extend outside the boundaries of coaching.  Individual counseling for many of these issues helps prepare a spouse for follow-on marriage coaching or counseling.

Marriage counseling:

  • Often focuses on the past: Looks in the past to understand your current behaviors and emotions.
  • Emphasizes how you feel: Centers on your emotions.
  • Has many different approaches: Methods are undefined and change over time.
  • Is more counselor directed: The counselor is the expert on relationships.
  • Driven by diagnosis: Based on pinpointing illnesses or deficiencies and insurance.
  • Often has undefined time frame: Often a long-term process to see a change.
  • Is generally less flexible: Mostly provided in the counselor’s office.


Both marriage coaching and marriage counseling can be effective approaches for couples who are struggling. According to one licensed counselor and author in Portland, OR, Dr. Steve Stevens, 60-70% of the couples that come to him could benefit from marriage coaching and do not require a licensed counselor.  Naturally, the best approach depends on the struggles you are facing.  Knowing the difference between the two and choosing the right approach can have a huge impact on the successful resolution of your marriage issues.

Are you still unsure if Marriage Coaching is right for you?  35% of couples who come to MarriageTeam for coaching are contemplating divorce.  After completing coaching, 89% decide not to divorce and stay together.  Why wait until it’s too late, contact us today.

If you found this post helpful, please remember to share it with others.

Still unsure about the coaching process and how MarriageTeam can help?  Take a look at this prior article;

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