Friday, October 9, 2009

Coach Your Own Marriage: An Alternative to Marriage Counseling

Any couple that is motivated to grow and change, and willing to take responsibility to learn to use some basic coaching skills can coach their own marriage.

“Why would we want to do that?”
you ask. We’ll briefly present a couple of reasons that it is good for couples to learn how to help themselves by learning to coach their marriage.*

1. Marriage Counselors and Coaches don’t go home with you. Many couples have asked in jest if we could live with them. Why? They experience effective communication, problem-solving and goal-setting in sessions that we facilitate, and they aren’t confident that they can continue such high quality conversations without facilitators to guide and police the process. However, with enough practice and good-will, couples CAN learn to do this for themselves. Learning to coach your own marriage enables you to do something for yourselves instead of being dependent on someone else to do it for you.

2. Coaching is a set of skills and a process that can be effectively used for a variety of issues. No two marriages are alike. Each has a different set of issues, AND no Marriage Coaching couple, counselor or pastor would ever be able to hear all of the content in any one marriage even if they met an hour a week for the rest of their lives. Once you learn the process and become confident in skills, you can communicate about and set goals in every area of your marriage.

While there’s a place for every current approach to strengthening, protecting and restoring marriages, some are more effective than others, and some are more appropriate for certain types of issues.** No one approach has all the answers. However, we are confident that any couple that is motivated to grow and change, and willing to take responsibility for that process can benefit from learning a basic coaching skill-set that includes listening, asking, setting goals and supporting growth and change, and that they can learn to coach their own marriage on their own time and at their own pace.

What do you want for your marriage?

* Do you want to strengthen and protect it?
* Would you like to set and accomplish more shared goals?
* Could your communication use a tune-up?
* Would your spouse grade you as A+ in your listening?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of these, then learning to coach your own marriage might get you where you want to go!

*Our book, How to Coach Your Own Marriage is due out January 2010.

**A coaching approach is generally not the first choice when abuse or addiction is present in a marriage.

Jeff and Jill Williams are a marriage coaching couple who provide direct service to couples that want coaching and training that prepares couples to do marriage coaching. In addition to being a certified coach and coach trainer, Jeff holds a license as a Professional Clinical Counselor (State of Ohio, E-3098)., 301-515-1218.


  1. Great post Jeff. Marriage is a living, breathing organism and needs to be tended to, not just participated in. For couples with no serious issues, the value of learning to coach their own marriages is almost too big to put into words. Learning these skills at the earliest possible juncture will foster growth, intimacy and shared direction. It will also empower couples when they hit a rough patch (as EVERYONE DOES) to move gracefully and with less pain back to smooth waters.

  2. Coaching our own marriage has helped us to take a step back and listen before speaking often times. I am losing my reflex reaction to become defensive or raise my voice and become intense. Coaching has become a mirror of who I am and how I need to become repentant and need God to help me stop and think of our "team of two" rather than my own selfishness. I enjoy working on coaching for everyday discussions so hopefully when something is tough we will have already built the skills in us. Sharing the skills with others is a strengthening act for ourselves as well.
    Thank you for all that you and Jill do in mentoring us as coaches.