Are you and your spouse or partner thinking about couples therapy as a way to help or enhance your existing relationship? Congratulations! Seeking outside assistance to improve and strengthen interpersonal relationships can be very beneficial to both of you in terms of your long-term happiness and health. If you’re wondering if couples therapy is the right course of action for your situation, here are a few of the primary reasons why it might be a good idea:
Your fights and arguments are getting worse:
Disagreements between couples and family members are healthy, normal, and expected, but arguments that escalate into heated verbal fighting or physical violence are not – and even more so when children are involved. Counseling can help change your communication styles and the language you use to stop issues from heating up to the boiling point.
You feel like you’re on “repeat”:
Are you and your partner bickering over the same issue(s) over and over again about subjects such as the division of labor, individual spending habits, or child rearing techniques? Couples counseling can help get to the bottom of these “trigger points” and establish solutions.
Are you feeling less connected to your spouse or partner than you used to? Relationships in “drift” are also prone to divorce, break-ups, and affairs. Counseling can help drifting couples to reconnect and find new ways to interact.
In addition to the top three issues listed above, couples therapy can also help with the following relationship concerns:
- Relationship and family roles, rules, and expectations
- Life changes such as starting a family, caring for elderly parents, chronic illness or retirement
- Anger management
- Lifestyle choices (career, religious faith, parenting)
- Difficulty understanding emotional cues
- Lack of intimacy
While you’re considering if couples therapy is right for you and your relationship, here are a few additional points to keep in mind:
Will your spouse or partner agree to attend counseling with you?
Couples therapy can more efficiently address issues within a relationship – but what if your “other half” refuses to go to therapy with you? Undergoing individual therapy may still help you to address the dynamics of your relationship and give you the emotional tools needed to improve your happiness and satisfaction.
Counseling may result in the relationship ending
While most couples go into counseling wanting to improve and save their relationship, the fact remains that on occasion counseling convinces a couple that their relationship is unhealthy and that the best course of action for all family members is separation or divorce. However, counseling may still be beneficial to help couples with their communication throughout a separation or divorce and into the future, especially if children are involved.
“Waiting it out” rarely improves a worsening situation
Taking the plunge and starting therapy can seems unsettling and even frightening at first, but resist the urge to delay or “wait it out” hoping that the problem will improve on its own. The longer a couple waits to enter therapy once issues arise, the more difficult it becomes to improve upon and protect the relationship.
Take the time to find an approved therapist
There are many different kinds of medical and mental health professionals who can provide couples counseling such as marriage counselors, social workers, psychologists, and mental health therapists, and each state has different licensure requirements. You may also have certain restrictions based on your health insurance provider that you will need to consider, so it’s worth taking the time to do a little research before making an appointment.
When Couples Therapy is Right
Once you’ve decided that couples therapy is the right course of action to take, it’s important to remember that much like a garden, relationships require attention and care in order to remain healthy, vibrant, and enjoyable spaces. When you and your significant other embark upon the process of seeing a therapist, you can begin to restore the vitality and strength in your relationship that once brought you together.
With the help of a couples therapist, both of you will begin to better understand one another and learn new strategies to resolve conflicts. You’ll develop the tools you both need to communicate more effectively, negotiate your differences, solve problems and – when an argument arises, approach the problem in a healthy, respectful way.
With consistent and persistent effort, relationships can be revitalized and repaired, and you can rebuild the foundation of trust and love that is needed for all family members to feel secure and be emotionally healthy. When couples decide to enter into counseling and are committed to improving themselves and supporting their partner to the best of their abilities, the rate of success improves, and in time, the relationship can become stronger and better prepared to take on future challenges.
Laura Monty Law is a Fort Collins divorce attorney that serves clients across Northern Colorado. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.