The sad fact is that by the time most couples come to therapy they have already left the relationship. Yet..one small part of them whispers "perhaps.this can still work". This is the happy fact.
The role of the therapist is to attune to this small part and uncover its 'real' size. It may, very well, be extremely small. It will have been diminished by misunderstandings, mis-communications, past hurts, and a misguided template for relationship dynamics. It may be too late. It may not be. Identifying the issues within and outside the relationship and developing a safe and honest way of communicating needs, doubts, and fears is part of the process of couples therapy.
The goal in couples and marital therapy is for each individual to feel respect for themselves and for the other..regardless of the outcome. It is a commitment to address communication (verbal, body, and tone), to address empathic understanding, and to develop healthy conflict resolution and problem solving skills.