If you read my recent article, 3 Times to Consider Therapy, you now know the importance and benefits you get from going through couples therapy. Couples therapy has that negative stigma attached to it, but it is actually a good thing. And many successful relationships have figured out it is a tool to improve their relationship versus something they should be ashamed of.
Blogger Michael Hyatt shared this quote from a counselor, which I think is spot on.
“The healthy people (relationships) get help, the unhealthy people (relationships) don’t get help, and get worse”
When your relationship is healthy, you do your best to keep it healthy and don’t wait until you’re sick before taking action. It’s no different from eating right, exercising, keeping your finances in order, or caring for your car. Preventive maintenance does wonders!
But I realize some of you, no matter how good all of this sounds, still don’t feel comfortable going to a counselor’s office, sitting next to or across from your spouse, and discussing the “status” of your relationship. I understand, and I have some alternatives. These methods can serve the same purpose as couples therapy and relationship or marriage counseling without the stigma. And they can actually be fun!
Here are 5 fun alternatives to couples therapy you may have never thought of:
1.) Weekend couples retreats
Who doesn’t want to get away for a few days with the person you love? My wife and I have gone on a handful of couples retreats over the years, and they have been amazing! Retreats are intended to get away from everything and focus on your relationship. Sometimes that’s all it takes, but in addition, most retreats have activities, speakers, and resources to help your relationship. We always come back refreshed, in love all over again, and with a better perspective on our marriage.
2.) Marriage seminars
These are similar to couples retreats except it may just be one day, or a few hours of a day. Seminars are great for teaching you about marriage. They are compact courses with tons of great information for you to learn and then take home to implement in your marriage. It’s also refreshing to be around other couples who are proactively working through their issues. You’ll learn you aren’t alone, and you’ll be given tools and resources to help you better your relationship.
3.) “Structured” small group gatherings
These are like the holy grail of couples therapy for me. When you find a good, committed, small group, your relationship will be impacted in a tremendous way. We’ve been a part of three of them throughout our marriage. The first set the tone, and it helped shape our relationship. It was fun, engaging, and gave us a safe place to share the challenges we were facing in our marriage. If you don’t do anything, try to find or create a small group to be a part of.
4.) Online relationship courses
This is a new thing to me as I’ve only recently been exposed to them. This is another learning-based type of therapy, and one beautiful part is you can do it anywhere you have an Internet connection. So from the comfort of your home at any time of day or night, you can get therapy for your relationship in the form of an online course.
5.) Marriage or relationship building classes
This was the first form of therapy we had in our marriage. Hindsight is 20/20, and I wish we would have taken pre-marital classes prior to marriage, but we did the next best thing and took a marriage class soon after we got married. The class we took taught us so much about marriage and ourselves. We were DiscoveRING quite a lot, and this class provided the direction and foundation to help us through it.
No matter which form of therapy you choose, make sure you make getting help a priority. Remember, healthy people (relationships) get help, the unhealthy people (relationships) don’t get help, and get worse.
How do you view these forms of couples therapy?
More on relationships from Jackie: