Time for Couples Therapy?
Jack and Mary had been married for 12 years. They had 2 young children aged 8 and 10. Jack worked full-time while Mary was a stay-at-home mom. In their first 2 years of marriage, they couldn’t keep their hands off each other. But when the kids came, responsibilities increased and they stopped spending time together. They did everything for their kids. At times, Mary felt overwhelmed but she never talked to her husband about it. She started going out with her friends, spent a lot of time alone, and eventually had an emotional affair. When her husband found out, he was devastated. He suggested they go to couples therapy and Mary agreed. With time, their marriage became as happy as it once was.
If your relationship is in distress, you may feel like there’s no way out. Incorrect statements about couples counseling can make you dread seeing a therapist. Many couples in unhappy relationships often wonder if therapy will work for them. Yes, therapy works. All relationships go through rough patches. The frustrations and feelings of hurt that arise from relationship problems can affect both partners. When most couples encounter difficulties, they go to therapy to make their relationships better.
Couples therapy – also known as marriage counseling and relationship counseling – isn’t something most people are excited about. In fact, the idea of counseling is frightening to some people. Truth be told, nothing can really change the anxiety you’ll feel before your first appointment, but when you know what to expect, the experience will be less frightening.
The Goals of Marriage Counseling
While the main purposes of marriage counseling are to open communication, create safety, repair rifts in relationships and to help couples rejuvenate their marriages, it also enhances many other relationship aspects. Here are 4 goals of marriage counseling.
To Unearth Bigger Issues
Some couples may be dealing with bigger issues like infidelity, money, in-laws, children, or sex. A professional counselor can help uncover the underlying issue and help couples deal with it. In some cases, couples have no idea that there are bigger issues affecting their relationships. A therapist helps couples to make sense of what’s going on.
To Teach Couples to Communicate Better
It is common knowledge that couples who communicate better are happier. But while many people know this, they don’t know how to communicate effectively. Some communicate very well in the beginning but gradually get overwhelmed by work, children, and even finances. Couples therapy helps couples learn how to communicate constructively.
To Change Bad Habits and Patterns
As partners in a relationship become familiar with each other, they may start forming bad habits. Some may stop being affectionate, others may stop communicating, while others may start fighting over tiny things. Qualified therapists can identify these bad patterns and help couples address them in a neutral setting.
To Build or Rebuild Trust
Trusting someone wholeheartedly isn’t easy. Some people find it hard to trust their partners while others have to learn to trust again after getting hurt. Building or rebuilding trust doesn’t happen overnight. They both take time and involve baby steps. Partners must make promises and follow through. Therapists usually teach couples how to learn to trust through different relationship counseling exercises.
How Couples Therapy Helps
Couples going through tough times should not give up in despair, troubled relationships can be fixed. Marriage counselors can help couples build and maintain happy relationships. Here are 4 ways relationship counseling helps.
Changes a Couple’s’ View of Their Relationship
Many people see the faults in their partners and not themselves. They always think they are right and that their partners are wrong. But everyone is full of flaws and placing blame on your partner every time you disagree can end up pushing them away. A therapist helps both partners to see the relationship objectively. They are able to identify their faults and stop the blame game.
Diminishes Emotional Avoidance
Some partners grow apart and later wonder how it happened. One of the biggest reasons couples grow apart is emotional avoidance. People fail to express their private feelings, become emotionally distant, and grow apart. Relationship therapists help people to express the thoughts and emotions they never share through couples therapy exercises. They create an environment where partners feel less fearful to express their feelings. Most of the time, people who are afraid to talk about their feelings were emotionally deprived in childhood. They fear showing their partners how much they need them because they think they will be rejected.
Promotes Relationship Strengths
Every relationship has its good points and bad points. Since couples counseling mostly focuses on the problem areas, it’s easy to forget the strengths. A marriage counselor promotes relationship strengths to help partners appreciate their relationship. They may tell one partner to perform a task that pleases the other when they get home. As therapy comes to an end, a therapist may draw attention to the strengths.
Alters Dysfunctional Behavior
Therapists carefully examine relationships to ensure partners are not participating in actions that can cause any kind of harm (economic, physical, psychological,). They carry out careful assessments to find out whether their clients are at risk. If necessary, they may tell one partner to sign up for anger management classes or refer them to a domestic violence shelter.
Couples Therapy Is Worth a Try
If you enjoy watching TV, you’ve probably watched VH1 couples therapy which chronicles jobless reality TV stars receiving relationship counseling. It’s very easy to watch others get relationship advice, but can you go to couples therapy when your relationship is on the rocks? Counseling has helped save many relationships, and it can help save yours. Do not be afraid to seek professional advice. Sometimes, you need a third party to fix what you can’t.
It helps to decide that you really do want a relationship that is open, communicative, loving, safe, trustworthy, playful, fulfilling and expansive. When your intention is clear and strong you can hold that as your highest focus and let the other little things go.
Don’t wait until problems escalate to seek help. Marriage counselors say that counseling works when couples seek help as early as possible. If you wait until it’s almost too late, your partner may have given up on the relationship, and saving it may be impossible. To increase your chances of success, seek help as soon as possible.
Author: Esateys Stuchiner
Esateys (pronounced Ee sáh teez) is an International Life Transformational Speaker, Author, Master Facilitator, Life Coach and Expert in the Human condition. She is a Nationally and Board Certified Nurse Practitioner. For over 30 years, she has practiced, taught and lectured extensively in the allopathic and alternative medicine field.
Esateys is known for her groundbreaking work in the areas of personal empowerment and health restoration using mindset and inner connection as the catalyst for all change.
Esateys describes herself as the ‘Architect of the New You’ and has dedicated her life and professional career to helping her clients create “New Beginnings” by facilitating self empowerment, economic freedom and restored health.
For more information, go to esateys.com.