Even Happy Marriages Can Benefit From Couples Therapy
Couples Therapy is important for all couples - even if your marriage is going well.
No one goes into marriage predicting all of the things that could go wrong and all of the issues that might arise. People marry people with whom they are compatible, and at the start, most marriages are happy. So why don't they stay that way? One of the main reasons is a lack of understanding. One partner may feel unsatisfied in a relationship, while the other partner feels that the marriage is fine. Many times it's a lack of understanding how the other partner communicates, so much so that communication begins to fade altogether.
Help Reverse Negative Patterns in a Marriage
Marriage counseling is one the biggest steps that couples can take to reverse the negative patterns in their marriage and re-open lines of communication. Many couples don't feel like their problems are 'bad enough' to seek out help, but participating in counseling when problems are small is the best way to deal with them. Often small issues can turn into huge problems that eventually lead to unhappy marriages and divorce. Take the example of Ted and Andrea:
Ted and Andrea had been married for five years and always felt that they had a good marriage. The only problem that they seemed to have was solving arguments. Ted was a quiet, non-confrontational man who hated to argue. To avoid prolonging a discussion, he would eventually 'give in' to whatever Andrea - the outspoken, opinionated one - decided on.
While their marriage looked good on the outside, their relationship was only growing more and more strained over time. The reason was that neither one really knew how the other communicated. One problem that many couples face is not knowing where their partner is coming from, and why they act the way they do. Upbringing has a lot to do with how a person reacts in a relationship - understanding each other's childhoods would be a huge step forward in helping Andrea and Ted understand each other:
Andrea grew up in a boisterous, lively family where she was encouraged to voice her opinions. She enjoyed bouncing ideas off of others and 'arguments', in her mind, weren't necessarily bad things.
Ted, on the other hand, grew up in a strict household where most of his ideas were shut down. He learned that it was better to go with the flow than try to make his own decisions.
Both of their upbringings now affected how they reacted as adults, and these learned behaviors were causing problems in their marriage. Ted began to feel powerless and resent Andrea for making all of the choices in their lives; Andrea began to resent Ted for not helping to make those choices, and for putting all of the decision-making pressure on her.
Couples Therapy Provides a Venue to Be Honest
The good news was that once they became honest about what they were feeling, they were finally able to work together to fix the problem. Andrea learned how to slow down and listen before jumping to conclusions about things. Ted learned that he was not only free to voice an opinion, but that his input was appreciated. Now that they both understood where their struggles came from, they were better able to work together and support each other.
Ted and Andrea's story had a happy ending, but seeing a therapist earlier in their marriage could have saved them years of strife and conflict. Couple's therapy is not a sign that you and your partner are 'bad at marriage' - far from it. Going to a therapist is a sign of dedication to your relationship, and it shows that both of you are committed to making your marriage even better and stronger than it is already.
If you're ready to try couples counseling and would like to set up an appointment, contact me today.