If one spouse is not sure they want to stay married AND doubts that couples therapy can help, then Discernment Counseling is exactly where the couple belongs. The leaning-out partner is supported where they are emotionally, and the leaning-in spouse is equally supported in their own emotional state, Discernment Counseling avoids starting half-hearted couples therapy with these mixed-agenda couples. It accepts ambivalence rather than trying to work around it or overcome it.
The initial commitment for the couple is simply the first 2 hour session. During this session, each person decides separately if they would like one more session, up to a maximum of five. The goals are clarity and confidence in a direction for the marriage, based on a deeper understanding of what has happened to the marriage and each person's contributions to the problems. The outcomes are framed in terms of three paths: stay married as it, move towards divorce, or decide to do full-on couples therapy for six months to see if the marriage can be put into a good place, with a clear agenda for personal change and with divorce off the table during this time.
I am a nationally certified Discernment Counselor (currently the only one in Alabama) through the Doherty Relationship Institute. If interested in Discernment Counseling, please contact me. See https://discernmentcounseling.com/ for more information.