When one of your friends tells you she and her spouse are thinking about attending couples’ therapy, your natural response might be to start panicking.
- Are they having problems?
- Did one of them cheat?
- Are they headed for divorce court?
While these conclusions are possible they are not all of them. Lots of healthy, happy couples participate in and benefit from occasional or regular marriage counseling.
Think of it as a check-up for the health of your relationship (or routine maintenance on your vehicle).
Here are a few ways any couple can benefit from couples’ therapy:
It Prioritizes Your Marriage
If you are like many adults, you might feel like you take care of everyone else – your boss, your employees, your kids and even your parents. Couples’ therapy is a time to nurture yourself and your spouse.
It might seem selfish, but in fact the opposite is true. Your children will benefit from their parents’ choosing to prioritize their relationship. Your marriage and family as a whole will benefit.
It Nips Problems in the Bud
No marriage is without its issues. For example, even if you and your spouse rarely argue, you might have different communication styles.
Counseling allows you to address issues before they become overwhelming. To use the “check up” analogy, your doctor checks your cholesterol before you have a heart attack.
When a couple is trying to balance work, family and outside activities, it can be tough to chat for more than ten minutes at a time. Getting to the bottom of a bigger issue is even more difficult.
Who has an hour to really talk without hearing “Mooooommmmm!” or receiving an urgent text from work? That’s what is great about a counselor’s office.
It is one hour at a time, uninterrupted, to talk about your marriage. If it doesn’t seem like you and your spouse can spare that amount of time, keep in mind most counselors offer evening appointments.
It’s a Safe Space to Talk
Every relationship has a few hot-button issues partners might be apprehensive to address with one another. Who wants to bring these up when you are out for date night or climbing into bed?
This is especially true if you think these matters might start an argument. The great thing about a therapist’s office is that it’s a controlled settling in which to address any issues.
You don’t have to worry about starting an argument that will last all night. Plus, if you and your partner tend to make a fight about everything else in addition to the issue at hand, a trained couples’ therapist can make sure you stay on track and fight fair.
Next time a friend or coworker mentions she and her partner are attending couples’ therapy, you should smile and say “Good for you!” It means she and her spouse care enough to work on their marriage. And that is something to be proud of.
Phone counseling does seem like a great option for those not close to good counseling services or desiring the convenience of counseling in the privacy and comfort of home.
A concern I have is the counselors inability to observe non-verbals like eye contact, body language, etc… which I think is especially important during couples’ counseling. A counselor may be missing a significant part of the communication if they’re unable to see the non-verbals. What do you think?