Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. You’ve probably already seen decorations in the stores—along with heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, bouquets of roses, and stuffed animals. 

Maybe, at one time, you relished in the holiday with your spouse. It was a wonderful experience. You had a love affair with your spouse early on in your marriage when the sparks were still strong and nothing could tear you apart. But now, things have changed.

If you feel differently about Valentine’s Day this year, it’s okay to admit it. Marriages go through ups and downs.

However, not being content or happy in your relationship for a long time is a problem. And if you would relish the chance to be alone on Valentine’s Day, that’s an even bigger red flag that something is very wrong.

Perhaps you’re conflicted because of these feelings. And maybe you struggle with whether to stay in the relationship (after all, it’s been a stable and secure place for you for many years) or leave because you don’t feel the same way you once did. What can you do?

Discernment counseling can help. 

What Is Discernment Counseling? 

Discernment counseling can be useful for couples who aren’t sure whether they want to end their relationship or not. It can also help if one person is leaning into the relationship while the other seems to be backing away. 

In essence, it’s a type of therapy that helps you to look at the overall state of your marriage. Then, you can decide together if it’s best to end it or stay together. 

Sometimes, couples who go to discernment therapy are referred to as “mixed agenda” couples. You’re just not on the same page with the state of the relationship. But having a trained discernment counselor help you to understand your options can make a big difference and give you peace of mind when making your decision. 

The Core Principles of Discernment Counseling

Discernment counseling isn’t necessarily a treatment. Rather, it’s a short-term assessment of your marriage that can take up to five sessions. Within those sessions, you’ll focus on a few basic principles.

This may include examining the answers to questions such as: 

  • Why are you considering ending the relationship? 
  • Has either partner done anything to try to “fix” relationship problems?
  • What did the best times of your relationship look like?

If you have children with your spouse, that will also be considered the sessions. That’s because they may ultimately be factored into your decision to continue the relationship or not. 

Throughout the sessions, each partner will have a chance to talk with a counselor and go over their feelings. Then, you’ll come together as a couple and go over a “summary” with the counselor. 

The counselor will address both partners and help them to better understand how they might be contributing to issues that are impacting the relationship in a negative way. 

Is Discernment Counseling Right for You?

If the upcoming holiday has you thinking more and more about your desire to be alone, but you’re still not sure you want to end your marriage, discernment counseling can help. It’s different from couples therapy in that it requires a limited number of sessions and focuses more on whether your relationship can be put back together, rather than how to do that. 

If you do decide to stay together, you may benefit from couples counseling after discernment therapy. If you do, you’ll have the benefit of already knowing what the relationship conflicts are and what you need to work on. Marriage therapy can give you the resources to do that. 

You don’t have to spend another Valentine’s Day—or any other day—wondering whether you should save your relationship. 

The San Diego Divorce Counseling Center offers discernment therapy for couples who have a “mixed agenda” and for those who are wondering if saving their marriage is the best thing to do. Uncertainty can be a hard thing to live with. Starting this type of counseling can help you to find more peace within yourself and your relationship.

If you’re going through a divorce or you need help re-harnessing your sense of self, please contact the San Diego Divorce Counseling Center at and click the Book Online button, or call us at 619-865-3203, to set up an appointment.