Couples therapy, marriage counseling, relationship counseling — no matter how you say it, most people view it as a bad thing. The unspoken definition is “your relationship has problems,” and this is your last resort to save it. That is probably the case for most when they decide to get counseling or therapy. But not always. It doesn’t have to mean your relationship is on the rocks, and you shouldn’t wait until it is. There are at least three times you should consider couples therapy in your relationship.
When my wife and I got married, we were clueless. We entered our marriage with child, something neither one of us recommend to couples today, as children bring a whole new dynamic to marriage. So, not only were we mid-20-somethings trying to learn how to live as one, but we also were trying to learn how to care for our baby at the same time.
If it were a perfect world, or marriage, we would have waited to have children until after we were married, and we we would have done couples therapy or premarital counseling prior to getting married. We didn’t do that, but we did the next best thing. We went through a couples therapy in the form of a marriage class at our church. That saved our marriage before we even knew it needed to be saved.
Had we waited until we knew we needed counseling, or until we had no other options, we may have never made it. First, one of us was going to have to persuade the other to actually go to counseling, which this YourTango article discusses. What we learned and what we shared in the marriage class changed the course of our marriage and our lives. I’m almost certain we would have become one of the divorce statistics, or at least be in a marriage that neither one of us really wanted to be in. But here we are today, 12 years later, three kids later, writing and speaking about marriage.
Maybe you are part of the group that believes couples therapy is a last-ditch resort, and only for those whose relationships are all but over. Don’t let that stigma prevent you from doing something that can change the course of your marriage, and your life. Here are the 3 times you should consider couples therapy.
- Before making the biggest commitment of your life — marriage.
I say it all the time, but marriage is the biggest and probably most important commitment you will ever make. When you are at the engagement ring stage, it is crucial that you seek counsel or therapy. It’ll help you determine if you even want to, or should be married, and it’ll help lay a great foundation that’ll give your marriage the chance to beat the odds.
- Soon after making the biggest commitment of your life.
Once you get married, things are going to be a little different. Your adjustment from it being all about you to the adjustment of it being about you two takes some getting used to. You’ll begin to discover things during this “discoveRING” stage of marriage, about your spouse and yourself. Couples therapy can help you navigate this successfully and strengthen that foundation you set earlier.
- Throughout each stage of your relationship.
Things may not get easier for all marriages as time passes, but they can become more fulfilling. And no matter how long you’ve been together, you still will encounter challenges, some new and some old, that can derail your marriage. Keep learning and growing together. During this stage your career, children, in-laws, friendships, and everything in between will have an impact. Being proactive and seeking some type of counseling will help you thrive.
Thus, I strongly support the idea of doing couples therapy throughout your relationship. Not one of us knows everything about marriage, nor have we experienced everything. Having something or someone in your relationship to help you see things without bias can be a great help!
What are your thoughts on couples who seek therapy?
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