Updated: May 3, 2019
Relationships take work. It is 100% common for issues to come up and for emotional bonds between the couple to shift. Before major concerns arise or when long-standing problems become too much to bear, it’s is a perfect opportunity to seek couples counseling.
Relationship counseling is primarily focused on helping a couple address problems or issues that may be causing distress between them. Although we tend to think of relationship counseling as being limited to romantic relationships, it can also include other family relationships, friendships and work relationships. Marriage therapists agree that more couples can be helped and more relationships improved if they seek help earlier and before couples are at their breaking point.
Here are 5 benefits of going to couples counseling
1. It can help you clarify your feelings about your relationship
One of the aspects that makes relationships confusing is sorting out how we feel about our partner. Some couples come in knowing that they want to stay together and work on issues, while others come in confused about whether they want to stay in the relationship. Counseling allows you and your partner to have a set time and space each week to express your thoughts and feelings in a safe environment, which can help paint the path towards the direction you want to take. In couples counseling, your therapist can act as a guide through this process by shining a light on aspects of your relationship that you may not be seeing and providing an objective outside perspective.
2. It can help resolve relationship roadblocks before they become impasses
If you’re constantly squabbling over minor concerns, it could be that the spats are actually about deeper issues that aren’t being addressed. Often people come for couples counseling because they’re struggling to address topics that have come up as their relationship has matured. Having a forum to tackle these topics in a confidential setting can help to accelerate the growth of your relationship by highlighting and understanding both points of view and discovering if your values are aligned. By continued participation in couples counseling, you can work through these potential roadblocks before they spiral into a relationship stalemate.
3. It can deepen intimacy and connection
Part of the reason relationships feel so exciting in the beginning is because both parties are making an effort. Dates happen frequently and they’re planned ahead of time. Over time, comfort and routine sets in and date nights turn into ordering takeout and watching Netflix. The very act of coming to couples therapy can reinvigorate passion, if only because the relationship is finally getting some attention. This is why date nights have become so popular, because it mimics what the relationship felt like in its early stages.
4. It can help promote self-awareness and personal growth
Meeting with a therapist each week can help you learn about your unique personality and what motivates you in life. Although the focus of the therapy will be on your relationship, how you relate to your partner might correlate with how you relate to other people, such as friends and coworkers. It’s not only your primary relationship that can reap the benefits of couples counseling; the other areas of your life can be transformed as well.
5. It can help negotiate commitments
One of the most problematic areas for couples can be focused on commitment. Commitments can take many shapes and forms, including a commitment to the relationship itself, a commitment to having children or a commitment to supporting a particular career choice or life path. Working with a relationship counselor can assist both members of the couple to voice their concerns and fears about what the commitment will mean to them and how it may change their relationship.
Whether you’re trying to make a major decision such as whether to get married or have children, or if there’s been an affair and you want to rebuild trust, or if things are going relatively smoothly but you hope to deepen intimacy and improve communication, couples counseling can be the avenue to help you achieve those goals.