Recharge the Relationship
Did you know that on average, it takes about 6 years for couples to attend couples therapy after initially considering it ? Oftentimes, this means it might have been helpful before therapy was even mentioned. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Much like our yearly wellness exams with our primary care physicians, our relationships could benefit from this check-up too. Whether there is a therapist present, you are attending a workshop or investing in materials to guide a self-led check-in, consistent support can make an enormous difference in your relationship.
A lot can happen in one year for one person, let alone the relationship between two or more people. Hence the need for a tune-up every once in a while. Consider changing out the batteries of your fire alarms (every 6 months) a helpful indicator to also recharge the batteries in your relationship. Or perhaps every time your computer needs an update, your relationship might benefit from minor updates in communication too. Setting a time of year for you and your partner to have an outside perspective could be extremely beneficial. And the more often, the better.
Why Couples Therapy?
Sometimes we fall into patterns of communicating that are not as effective as they could or used to be. Perhaps there are underlying needs that continue to be swept to the side to address the family, the home, the job, etc. These aspects of our lives are important. At the same time, when we have our partners beside us and with us, the aforementioned stressors become much more manageable. The following are only a few of the many ways couples therapy can be beneficial to your relationship:
- Build upon the connection you already have or rekindle it in new and exciting ways
- Check-in on your communication patterns
- Gather tools or brush up on old ones to better manage conflict
- Process past fights that have continued to fester despite your efforts to deny their occurrence
- Address intimacy needs and differences
- Discuss parenting differences or struggles
What’s the Delay?
Often, one partner expresses interest in therapy while the other is still warming up to it. This is a natural part of decision-making regarding reaching out for help, especially with one’s relationship. Some couples fear that therapy is an automatic indicator of divorce. This simply isn’t true, but quite the opposite: therapy is a place to clarify perspectives, deepen the connection and gain clarity on where you want your relationship to be. Others believe their relationship is “too far gone” for any positive change to happen, so why bother? Therapy can be a place for couples to perhaps explore the option of ending their relationship in a way that is respectful, fair, and healthy for them and their family. So, while these experiences are valid, these might be essential reasons to consider attending couples therapy.
Are You Considering Couples Therapy?
Would you like to revamp your relationship in some way? Do you feel as though you don’t know your partner anymore or that you have drifted? Are there things you want to say to your partner but aren’t sure how? Are there issues you try to address but that, like clockwork, turn into a larger fight and leave both partners feeling unheard, hurt, or alone? Do you want to explore sexual or intimacy needs with your partner, but don’t know where to start?
Alternatively, perhaps your relationship is solid, but there are differences in values, cultural backgrounds, or family traditions that are greatly impacting your relationship and need further clarification. Or maybe you are blending your families or expanding it with a new child. As discussed earlier, checking in every few months surrounding a particular issue or perpetual problems could not only lessen your relationship distress but also strengthen your connection.
- Gottman, J. M., Gottman, J. S., Cole, C., & Preciado, M. (2020). Gay, Lesbian, and Heterosexual Couples About to Begin Couples Therapy: An Online Relationship Assessment of 40,681 Couples. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, jmft.12395. https://doi.org/10.1111/jmft.12395