There’s a common misconception that couples should wait to see a counselor until their relationship is on the rocks. While you can absolutely go to couples counseling when you’re in a relationship crisis, it doesn’t mean you have to wait that long.
In fact, if you’re tempted to see a couples counselor as a “last resort,” it’s likely that your relationship has been experiencing issues for a while — issues that probably could have been worked through a long time ago.
Couples counseling isn’t just for relationships in trouble. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the benefits you can experience from this type of counseling, even when your relationship feels relatively healthy.
Healthy communication is a cornerstone of any strong relationship. It’s okay to have different communication styles. But, you have to know how they can work together effectively.
Communication is about more than just talking to your partner. It’s about being an active listener, showing empathy and respect, and even knowing how to argue the right way. Yes, even the healthiest couples argue. When done correctly, it can actually strengthen your relationship, rather than tear it down.
A couples counselor can help you improve your communication skills and better understand each other. That will also make it easier to work through conflicts and major decisions together in the future.
Whether you want different things in your relationship or you have similar ideas but aren’t sure how to get there, couples counseling can help you. You’ll learn how to develop goals together, rather than thinking as individuals.
Beyond that, your counselor can work with you to develop strategies for those goals. You’ll learn how to support each other more fully. You’ll also learn which “roles” each person is best suited for, so you can accomplish your goals together and celebrate them together, too.
Trust can be a hard thing to develop in a relationship. But, you don’t have to wait until it’s broken or lost to work on it.
Maybe you’ve been burned in the past and you have a hard time giving your partner the trust they deserve (or vice versa).
Couples counseling can’t immediately create more trust in your relationship. But, it provides a safe space for vulnerability. When you feel like you can be open and honest with your partner and they’re understanding of your needs, trust and intimacy will start to build naturally.
You can also learn exercises and strategies in couples counseling you can use on your own time to continue to build trust outside of your sessions. When you feel more trusting of your partner, you’ll be able to enjoy your relationship more fully.
Speaking of enjoying your relationship, that’s one of the best reasons to give couples counseling a try.
Couples counseling can improve the overall satisfaction of your relationship. While the results are different for everyone, you might feel closer to your partner, improve your intimacy, or just be able to remind yourself why you fell in love with them, in the first place.
This type of therapy isn’t meant to go on forever. But, when you address any concerns, needs, or wants with a counselor, they’ll be able to determine a plan that is appropriate for your relationship. You can take what you learn from couples counseling and apply the strategies to your partnership for years to come.
So, don’t feel like you have to wait until there’s a major problem in your relationship to work with a couples counselor. It’s never a bad idea to improve your connection. You might be surprised by how much you can actually grow and learn from couples counseling by starting now. Reach out to learn more about Emotionally Focused Therapy.and how it can help you.