Couples counseling is often painted as the last resort before a divorce. There is a lot of stigma and taboo surrounding marriage and couples counseling, making those who need help feeling like a failure to some degree.
However, couples counseling is not just for those struggling in a relationship — it is an opportunity for any couple to bring new life, fresh communication and renewed dedication into their relationship.
The stigma behind marriage and couples counseling
Some individuals who are struggling with their relationship might hesitate to suggest it to a significant other, fearing that therapy suggests failure and that bringing it up is an unnecessary risk that will only make things worse.
This fear is present in many relationships, and research has shown that only 25 percent of divorcing couples have participated in couples’ therapy, and those who did waited an average of six years before finally attending a counseling session.
There should be no shame in beginning couples therapy. Marriage can be incredibly hard sometimes, and, in order to make it work, you and your significant other may require help through the hard parts. Consider it routine maintenance for your relationship, and forget about the stigma. If it’s what is best for you and your partner, it doesn’t matter what others think.
Not only that but there are many reasons to begin couples counseling. Even when things are going well in your relationship, there may be outside factors that you and your significant other are tackling head-on that require an external perspective or advice.
How will couples counseling help my relationship?
Couples counseling offers all the benefits of counseling, like increased communication skills and better understanding, in addition to relationship-specific benefits which can significantly improve marriages in the long run.
Guidance in managing relationships
Setting boundaries with in-laws, children, siblings, friends and others that please both individuals in the relationship can be tough. A therapist can facilitate communication between significant others to help manage these existing outside connections, and establish how they can have a positive — rather than negative — impact on the relationship.
Assistance with blending families
Combining two existing families through a relationship or marriage can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Counseling can help a couple work through finding the identity of their new blended family, combining parenting styles and expressing any concerns in an effective manner.
Overcoming technology issues
Social media and video games are a huge part of our everyday lives, meaning they also factor into a relationship. Couples can use a therapy session to establish how they’d like their significant other to handle interactions on social media when it’s appropriate to communicate via technology and what boundaries need to be in place.
Sometimes a relationship can struggle because one person simply fails to understand the needs of the other while the other struggles to communicate those needs. A rift occurs, usually unintentionally, because of an inability to communicate. Couples counseling can help increase communication so that the individuals can begin to better, and more clearly understand one another and their respective needs.
By improving communication, couples can begin to also increase their support of each other. When they take the time to learn about each other’s needs, they’ll be more capable of meeting those needs. Not only that but couples might be surprised in a newfound desire to meet the needs of their significant other and show their support for the other in this way.
Having an impartial third party
A counselor can be beneficial to many a relationship as an impartial dynamic or someone who has no emotional investment in the relationship itself. Unlike talking to a parent, sibling or friend who might have a bias, a counselor can see the problems objectively and begin to help the couple work on these problems in a practical, effective manner.
Should I seek couples therapy?
If you feel like your relationship or marriage is struggling, you might consider the benefits of couples counseling. For marriages that have exhausted all other options, relationships that feel dull or stale or couples that can’t seem to find effective methods of communication, couples counseling might provide the assistance and guidance you need.
Even if you just attend a session or two, you might begin to experience the benefits of counseling in your relationship in ways you didn’t expect.
Find couples and marriage counseling today
Although couples’ therapy may have a negative stigma, there are many happy and healthy relationships that receive counseling in order to continue to have the relationship they desire. The Light Program has many therapists who are qualified to provide couples counseling. To learn more, call (610) 644-6464 today or visit our website.