Nine Reasons Why You Should Consider Couples Therapy
One of the most common questions I hear from couples is, "When should a couple seek couples therapy?" Unfortunately, the answer to this question seems to be more often than not: "Six months ago."
Couples often wait until their relationship reaches a breaking point before deciding to give couples therapy a try. The reasons most commonly cited for this procrastination are either that their day-to-day lives are already too busy or that they didn't realize how serious the issues they're facing really are.
The "real" reasons for this delay seem to be either that the couple's communication has broken down to such a degree that they find discussing even the smallest of issues to be contentious or that the partners are afraid to discuss their problems for fear of making them even worse.
That having been said, simply trying to avoid divorce and trying to achieve the best relationship possible are two very different goals, and both are equally valid reasons for couples to seek out couples therapy.
Partners who want to create a healthy, thriving relationship are often quicker to seek relationship counseling than those who wait to get help from a couples therapist in a last ditch attempt to "save" their marriage.
Being proactive about your relationship can make all the difference between relationship success and failure. So, with that in mind, the following are just nine reasons when and why a couple should consider seeking the professional help of a couples counselor or marriage therapist:
- Premarital counseling — If you're already married and you didn't attend couples counseling sessions prior to tying the knot, there's use worrying about it at this point. However, if you're considering getting married, premarital counseling can help you and your partner uncover and resolve any issues you've been avoiding as well as learn the skills necessary to resolve any future conflicts.
- An opportunity for growth — Attending couples counseling in order to learn more about yourself and your partner, better understand each others' needs and desires, and increase your mutual trust, intimacy, and joy, can help you resolve issues that may be lying beneath the surface and grow even closer together than you already are.
- When experiencing a major life transition — Major life changes, such as the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, or a profound career move, can cause uncertainty, anxiety, and upheaval. Couples therapy can help you negotiate the changes you're experiencing and navigate them together with confidence and optimism.
- When you become too busy or focused on things other than your relationship's success (children, career, etc.) — As noted above, many couples use "busyness" as an excuse not to work on their relationship. However, whenever partners become too busy to focus on making their relationship a success it is likely to suffer accordingly.
- When you're having difficulties communicating — Successful relationships are all about open and honest communication. Unfortunately, barriers can arise that make effective communication difficult. Couples counseling can help you overcome these barriers and make sure you and your partner keep the lines of communication open at all times.
- When you notice intimacy issues — Relationship intimacy can come in a variety of forms — whether in your communications with one another or in how you share your romantic and sexual life — but when you notice a decline in your intimate experiences with your partner, couples counseling and therapy can help rebuild and improve your relationship's intimacy.
- If you experience criticism, defensiveness, contempt, or stonewalling — Renowned marriage expert John Gottman refers to these "Four Horsemen" as being strong predictors of divorce. If addressed quickly, couples therapy can help you keep these detrimental factors from becoming habitual features of your relationship.
- When one partner feels resentment towards the other — Resentment can be extremely damaging to a relationship's longevity if not dealt with quickly and effectively. Relationship counseling can help you and your partner uncover and resolve the sources of any resentment you may be experiencing.
- Whenever your partner suggests you seek counseling or therapy — It is not at all uncommon for one partner to suggest counseling or therapy years before the couple actually gets help. Now that the other partner has finally agreed they need help, the first partner has more often than not already given up hope of saving their relationship. Don't wait until it's too late!
If any of the aforementioned sound familiar, the time to take action is now. Don't wait until it's too late to try to give your relationship the chance of success it deserves. After all, this is about the future happiness of you and the person you love most. There's no time like the present to begin building the happiest life possible together and couples counseling can help.
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For more information contact:
Haleh Rambod, M.A., MFT
2111 Geer Road, Suite 505-507
Turlock, CA 95382
4100 Moorpark Avenue, Suite 106
San Jose CA, 95117