20 Aug Couples Therapy for Preventative Maintenance? Why It Works
Navigating the relationship we have with ourselves is tricky enough, add in a partner, and relationships can be downright hard. In a partnership, you’re merging differing backgrounds, stories, possible triggers, preferences, and experiences. No wonder relationships are so much work.
In the past, you may have heard of couples going to therapy together to do some repair work on their relationship after something had been “broken.” Maybe there were huge communication issues, abuse, mistrust, or a betrayal. Couples therapy has often had a certain seriousness surrounding it, since it used to be commonly viewed as a last resort to save a failing marriage.
Today, however, many couples are happily stepping into therapy together when they don’t have any concerns. Whether they’re partnered, dating, or common-law, these couples are taking a proactive step to help figure out how to “do” relationships better before any problems arise.
Couples therapy can help to address any communication patterns that leave us feeling stuck, or keep us from feeling happy and secure in a relationship. Therapy encourages us to develop new and healthy patterns that can help those in a relationship feel more intimacy and closeness with their partner(s).
As a population, we’re getting better at looking after ourselves, but relationships can still get the cold shoulder in our long list of rituals we use to look after our appearance, mind, health, and bodies. People may go to couples therapy long before anything “significant” is going on, like marriage or kids. They do this to understand more about each other’s communication styles, and how they can chat about the small stuff before it can become big stuff.
You may be worrying that this is a little dramatic. Even if you already get along great, the fact that you’re taking a stand to make your relationship even better tells your partner how much you care. Rest assured that many couples are sitting down on our therapists’ couches to learn to become better as individuals, as a partner, and as a parent or friend.
Here are some reasons why attending couples therapy before you think you need to is a great idea:
If you love a good self-development book or enjoy moving your body, improving your relationship can also help you to grow as a person. Since couples therapy focuses heavily on learning how to communicate better—anyone can benefit from this! You could even think of it as physical therapy, like a regular trip to the gym to help strengthen a particular muscle.
Learn to solve conflict efficiently
You’re always going to have conflict and problems throughout your life, so learning smart problem-solving techniques sooner rather than later can save you headaches in the long run. And when problems pop up in the future, you’ll have new tools to handle them.
Communicate better for a lifetime
Therapy can help you learn how to truly listen to each other and understand what’s behind your latest argument. Often, the source of your conflict is something that’s just on the surface and isn’t a true issue. These are skills you’ll take with you for a lifetime of rock-solid relationship success.
Feel like part of a team
Couples therapy can help you feel like you’re working together as part of a team to create a relationship that feels happy and healthy for everyone. And when you put each other first and prioritize your relationship, this puts the relationship in the spotlight.
It’s like a tune-up for your car
You may decide that visiting a couples therapist regularly is a fantastic way to check-in with each other and your progress as a couple. You could even look at it as an occasional tune-up, to help keep your relationship working in a way that’s healthy for you both. Many couples decide that engaging in brief stints of couples therapy offers them a chance to check in with each other in a safe space. Looking after your relationship can fall behind our growing list of responsibilities—work, parenting, and being a good friend. When you nurture your relationship, this allows other areas to thrive as well.
It doesn’t have to be forever
Therapy that is. After some time you may both decide that you’ve come a long way and no longer need a mediator anymore. You could continue setting time aside each week to check in as a couple, and communicating what’s working well and what’s not. The skills and communication tools you have at your fingertips from therapy will serve you for life.
When you’re ready, go into couples therapy with intention. Visiting with a couples therapist can help you create a better relationship or give you a clearer vision of the kind of person or people you want to be.
If you’re ready to explore the idea of regular couples therapy, get in touch! We’re happy to help you figure out if therapy is right for you.
Written by Bliss Therapist Kelly McDonnell-Arnold
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