Why Couples Should Go for Therapy (When Things Are Good)
Everyone will undoubtedly benefit from therapy.
Yet, people often associate therapy as a go-to only when things have become horrendously bad, and it’s employed as a last-ditch effort.
What happens if we flip this process?
Former professional footballer turned best-selling author, Lewis Howes, shared recently how he and his new girlfriend decided to go for couples therapy from the get-go, and how he’s loving that decision as it led them to amazing discoveries of one another.
Going for couples therapy together earlier rather than later is highly beneficial.
Learning About Each Other
One of the joys of being in a partnership is discovering more of one another – learning about each other’s strengths and flaws, childhood experiences that shaped how adults today, what past hurts are still present, and what dominant character traits are driving the show.
Therapy introduces a neutral party who can help you and your partner navigate through that with much ease for a healthy relationship.
“An objective third party can be just the ticket when couples feel they can no longer communicate effectively.” Rather than viewing therapy as the solution to a crisis, look at it as an integral aspect of a healthy life suggested Ashley N.
Through this process, as you learn more about each other’s love languages, conflict resolution styles, unique triggers, deal breakers etc,., you’re presented with incredible opportunities to learn to love one another better.
Less Damage During Difficult Issues
Bear in mind that when a couple first kickstarts this journey, you’re trying to download both your personal histories and your history together (however long you’ve been together) to your therapist in the shortest amount of time, so that the professional can assess what needs to be worked on, before beginning the actual work. That’s a lot to process.
This is where therapy can help, by giving tools and techniques to improve conflict resolution,” explained Kristie Overstreet, a licensed mental health counselor. “The majority of couples that I work with say that they should have started therapy years earlier.”
Needless to say, it helps when a couple enters the therapist’s room more united than apart – It just makes things a whole lot easier to unpack.
Also, going for therapy earlier means you’ve lesser damage accumulated over the years, lesser resentment, and lesser anger. It’s easier to recall great memories of one another to anchor the sessions with love and laughter.
Manage Expectations Early On
Most couples navigate have to spend a fair bit of time figuring each other out along the way, possibly through numerous arguments.
What if you brought your first argument to a family therapist, and within a session, can accurately pinpoint the root cause, and work on effective communication in a manner that doesn’t trigger one another?
That would set a great precedence for the rest of the relationship.
As opposed to being in a tense situation or even a fight, it is much easier to understand each other’s differing points of view when you’re calm and less triggered or defensive.
“There are three sides to every story: his side, her side, and the truth,” psychotherapist Kimberly Resnick Anderson said.
That will take place in therapy when things are good, because you don’t have that anger to push through just to be able to talk things out, and they're no misunderstandings to clear up.
Show of Commitment
At any point in the relationship, going for therapy when both parties are happy further reinforces your mutual commitment to this relationship.
By taking that step alone, you’re both effectively saying to your partners: I am here for you. I’ll show up, and I am willing to do the work. Let’s always create a safe space for our relationship to flourish. You can count on me.
A Safe Space
The creation and emphasis on a safe space from Day 1 will be one of the most important cornerstones in determining the success of this relationship.
The standard recipe for a long-term partnership involves stability and security. These things don’t happen overnight – they’re accumulative over a dozen things both do for each other which either add or subtract from that equation.
The therapist’s office becomes this safe bubble where both parties can trash things out, or even just share about what it was like growing up, what explains their attachment styles, and what can their partners do to be able to properly support them. This space will be especially helpful when there are difficult topics to broach.
Building Relationship Resilience
When two builders arrive on site equally committed to establishing a solid foundation for years to come, you’re essentially building relationship resilience.
So that one day, if and when the wind blows by, the house you’ve built together is less likely to crumble to the ground.
Saves Much Time
Proponents of the dating experience would probably say, “What’s the rush? Let’s take our time, and enjoy the journey.”
While that is true and lovely, the upsides of early therapy sessions or premarital counseling are that it allows you both the chance to understand each other so deeply and on an accelerated timeline, that it’ll give you an excellent idea of whether both of you are truly meant to be with each other.
And if you’re not meant to be together, you’re able to waste less time and cut your losses short. That said, it is only understandable to consider the following before opting for couple’s therapy:
- Whether your partner is willing – Have an open, honest conversation to see where he/she stands on this topic.
- Whether the cost is something you both find workable – We cannot ignore the practicality of financial stresses in life. If the cost does work for you, and/or you’re able to find a cost option that works, that would be ideal.
- Fears of any sort of social stigma attached to the idea of therapy – Owning it and talking openly about therapy is one great way to get over self-censorship. With that, your true friends will emerge from the crowd, the ones who support your growth and learning no matter what.
Whether you’d like to think of it as fate, or just chance that your path crossed with an amazing person, it is not every day two beautiful people stumble upon a precious connection, much less commit to safeguarding a wonderful relationship.
Celebrate that love, for there is no greater thing.
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Deborah Choo loves discussing relationships, platonic or not, as that remains at the heart of human existence. She draws upon learnings from couples’ counselling, and continues to celebrate an incredible journey of growth.