What are the Benefits of Marriage Counseling?
Many people think that your relationship has to be at its breaking point before you should get counseling. “Things must be horrible if you are seeing a therapist.” Please don’t believe that lie. No matter where you are in your relationship, you, too, can reap the benefits of marriage counseling.
It’s true. If you are merely concerned about the way you and your partner end arguments, therapy can help. Likewise, if you are worried about the way you begin arguments, therapy is an incredible tool.
What is “kind of” annoying now will only grow and decay until it’s part of why you are filing for divorce.
Couples therapy can help in more ways than you know. You would be surprised at how much better your relationship could be with an occasional trip to the office. With this in mind, here are the benefits of marriage counseling and why you probably need it.
Benefits of Marriage Counseling: See Things Objectively
At the University of Minnesota, a social science professor named William Doherty found that marriage counseling is effective between 70-80% of the time, and objectivity is the turning point.
You probably think that you know yourselves very well, but you don’t. You know what your partner is allergic to and what they like in their coffee, but your relationship is another beast entirely.
To put it differently, consider the last time you disagreed with your partner. Was it difficult to see things from their perspective? Additionally, if you are already having issues in your relationship, in these tense moments, isn’t it easier to point out what they are doing wrong that is wrong, hurtful, or irritating, rather than stop to identify your own mistakes or bad habits?
As mentioned above, there is a tendency to seek help later instead of the moment it’s an issue, even a slight one. To take advantage of the benefits of couples counseling, it’s definitely one of those “do it sooner rather than later” situations.
By letting a problem sit and go unattended for years and years, you will inevitably develop harmful behavioral patterns and maladaptive coping mechanisms. Trust us when we say that you do not want to deal with those. For example, would you rather get an oil change regularly or just wait and replace the whole engine?
Just because you haven’t gotten to the point where you are screaming at each other, being violent, or cheating does not mean you won’t benefit from couples counseling. Whatever the problem is, whatever you are struggling with, you deserve a relationship full of happiness and joy, not anxiety and frustration.
Benefits of Marriage Counseling, From Trust to Conflict
1. Create More Trust
Trust is a major component in the foundation of a healthy marriage. And just like a foundation, it can leak and crack over time.
Not only can couples therapy help you build and strengthen your trust in each other, but it can teach you to repair lost trust. Your ability to have confidence in your partner is critical to structuring and handling life together. You need to have confidence in your partner when they say that they will do something.
As a matter of fact, in counseling, you and your partner will learn to identify factors that have contributed to the behavior that caused the loss of trust. You and your partner will learn how to protect your relationship from future problems and how to get past trust issues.
It may seem impossible now, but you will learn how to forgive and learn how to trust your person again and vice versa. So, no matter what the reason was for your trust to crumble, with marriage counseling you can recover and save your relationship.
2. Improve Your Communication
Everyone has different styles of communicating. Some people don’t like talking about their problems and would rather ignore them. Other people get over things easier than their partners, so they don’t understand when their spouse brings up something that happened a while ago, or they thought wasn’t a big deal.
If you were exactly the same as your spouse, life wouldn’t be nearly as interesting. Marriage counseling is there to help you mesh your communication styles and avoid impasses that lead to conflict or loss of intimacy.
Good communication is an aspect of utmost importance in marriage. Couples counseling creates an environment where communication is key—helping you see how you both communicate differently and teach you both how to understand each other better. During therapy, you will learn how to effectively express and receive what both of you need and want. You will also discover how to handle frustration and truly listen to each other during a conflict respectfully and constructively.
Imagine your relationship without the tense, awkward feelings that come with conflict. How much better would your life be if you could effectively communicate with your partner and they with you?
3. Strengthen Your Connection
You are growing apart. Though there are many other ways to say it this is a major reason that couples seek marriage counseling. Usually, what we perceive as “growing apart” is a lack of communication brought upon by stress and busy schedules. Counseling can help you feel connected again.
Because couples therapy requires you to share your thoughts and feelings, you also get to know each other better. Even if you and your partner spend a good deal of time together, it may not be time spent connecting.
Along with your partner, in therapy, you get to know yourself better. Far too often, partners keep a lot of things shut up inside. You might be too busy or too tired to talk about all of what you are feeling. Life can quickly get in the way of such things.
At the root of connection is communication. Generally speaking, you can’t have one without the other.
When you can communicate those matters to each other freely, you become better at letting each other see who you are, where you stand, and what you need. That intensifies your connection and serves to strengthen your relationship tremendously—as a couple and as individuals.
4. Prevent Problems
You may be thinking that there are so many problems that preventing all of them is near impossible. We would like to disagree gently.
Every successful marriage needs good maintenance. This requires effort and hard work. But sometimes, you may not be able to put your finger on precisely what is wrong. Sometimes, all you know is that you or your partner are upset or bitter about something.
One of the most incredible benefits of couples counseling is the prevention of future problems. There is no way to ensure you’ll never argue again, of course. But how many of your everyday issues come from a lack of communication or connection in your relationship?
Couples therapy can teach you skills to find and solve issues before they turn into huge problems. Or, at times, you may simply need an unbiased opinion on a specific topic from someone with more experience. Having a counselor as an advisor and mediator that can offer a different perspective is a huge benefit.
5. Resolving Conflict
Conflict is a very normal part of life. Your views and actions cannot be in line with everyone on the planet at once, so it’s inevitable.
Conflict is a normal part of any relationship, including a marriage. In your relationship, you have likely experienced conflict once or twice; however, at times, a dispute may get out of control, and one of you, or both, may say something very hurtful. Lashing out like this can reopen deep-seated and painful wounds.
Essentially, when you and your partner argue, and you may not know how to come back from it without feeling really distraught and even misunderstood.
With this in mind, marriage counseling will give you the problem-solving tools to resolve conflict. Meaning a counselor will help you understand some of the deeper reasons why you’re having conflicts so that even when you’ve determined your immediate current source of conflict, you’re empowered to solve future problems healthily.
It’s unhealthy to expect never to have disagreements, even after counseling, and a counselor will help you learn to disagree constructively. One benefit of marriage counseling is learning to process those distressing emotions and begin healing the rift.
6. Most Underrated Benefit of Marriage Counseling: Enhance your intimacy
Sometimes marriage problems are about sex.
That sentence might have just made you a little uncomfortable, but it’s true.
It can be hard to develop new, positive habits and toss out our old negative associations and unconscious actions. Your therapist isn’t going to ask you some questions while you lie on a sofa and then pass you a guidebook and send you off on your own. You will practice integrating the positive changes so that you genuinely feel closer to each other and learn to meet your loved one’s needs (and still feel comfortable) in the long term.
Remember that it’s okay to talk about sex, and it’s not superficial or taboo. If this is causing some fundamental issues in your relationship, then it deserves to be discussed, honestly.
For example, if you’re never in the mood at the same time as your partner, marriage counseling can help you find out why and what to do about it.
Marriage counseling can help you realign and recalibrate your relationship. During this process, you will rediscover your love, help you learn your partner’s love language, and spice up your love life. When you’re both open to change, a complete transformation can happen.
7. Uncover Root Issues, Dig Them Up, and Dispose of Them
Ultimately, we are products of our past—good or bad.
For that very reason, uncovering the roots of what fuels your thoughts, feelings, and behavior is an integral part of marriage counseling. Getting to the bottom of an issue will help you shed the baggage you’ve carried around for far too long and remove that weight and open yourself up to incredible possibilities.
Letting go of the past will help you get unstuck, find ways to move on, and simply focus on your marital bliss. It’s essentially a fresh start!
Feel the Benefits of Marriage Counseling
So, perhaps you’ve been hesitant to enter couples counseling for various reasons. But hopefully, these benefits have given you a reason to reevaluate your opinion about getting marriage help. After all, doesn’t your relationship deserve the best chance for success?
If you are still shy about seeking marriage counseling, that’s okay. Suppose you’ve never had therapy or seen a counselor before. In that case, it can be a little intimidating, especially if you don’t know what to expect or are nervous about sharing personal thoughts with others. Often, speaking with a stranger (especially one trained in compassionate care) makes you feel better.
Either way, except in cases of abuse, we strongly recommend first to talk to a couples counselor before ever contemplating ending the relationship or filing for divorce. Couples often re-enact familiar patterns with one another, ultimately just wanting to get their needs met and feel safe and loved.
Walking away without learning those skills robs you of the opportunity to get your needs met and feel loved. Patterns tend to repeat themselves in other relationships. The skills you lack in this relationship will present themselves in other relationships (and no, it’s not just your partner’s fault – relationships are dynamic, and both partners contribute to the dance between you).
Couples counseling will help you learn more about your feelings and needs and appropriate ways to express them without hurting your partner. You’ll also focus on your relationship’s strengths and find ways to enhance your connection with one another. Both partners are worked with objectively, so one person doesn’t feel ambushed. Marriage counseling is a neutral zone!
Marriage counseling can help you address the above dangers to your relationship. In counseling, you will also increase your connection and fondness for one another rather than only focusing on the cause of your problems and learning to fight fairly. Research has shown that simply resolving conflict differently isn’t enough to change these dynamics in your relationship. Instead, what’s needed is a higher ratio of positivity. Your focus may be more on rekindling your love in marriage counseling than resolving every argument you have.
Contact us to find out more about how a marriage therapist can help or read more about marriage counseling services. To get started now, give us a call to schedule an appointment at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.
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