Every marriage has its ups and downs, even for people who don't officially get married. You will have your first fight, the first time you end up sleeping alone, the first big misunderstanding, and the first time the two of you realize that, perfect as you are for each other, you have some very big differences. Sometimes these moments of strife, sadness, or separation can open a crack that widens over the course of the relationship and can eventually cause long-term problems that will take a lot of healing to fix, but why wait for trouble when the warning signs are right in front of you? Like preventative medicine, you can seek guidance on how to maintain a strong mutually supportive relationship right from the beginning with the help of an experienced couples' therapist.
The Techniques of Couples Therapy
Couples therapy is usually a combination of sharing, listening, practicing perspective, and techniques that make it easier to communicate. Therapists teach couples how to look at things from the other's point of view, speak with "I" statements, avoid accusatory thinking, and how to be supportive even when you're feeling bad. In couple's therapy, many people learn how to treat their partner with respect and how to respond to stressful situations with discussion rather than fighting, but they only do so after they have managed to create unhappiness in the relationship. Rather than allowing unspoken feelings or misunderstandings brew into real trouble, couples in the early stages of a long-term devoted relationship have every reason to seek out these valuable couples-skills to ensure that they don't fall into common relationship pitfalls.
Preparing for the Long-Haul
Marriages are long, and ideally, will last all the way to 'till death do us part'. Over these many years, you will change and grow, and so will your partner. Successful couples learn to evolve together, even if they don't change in exactly the same way. The key is to always make time for each other, to listen conscientiously, and to try at every turn to find the best solution for both of you. While many people manage this on their own, the techniques learned in couples therapy can help a great deal when it comes to knowing how to handle upsetting or unexpected situations. If you have already practiced taking a deep breath before getting upset, or asking for your partner's side of a story before choosing your actions, your relationship will always be stronger as a result because strife is avoided before it can occur.
Preparing for Child Rearing
The techniques learned in couple's therapy are not all reserved for romantic couples alone. The patience, perspective, and even-tempered responses are ideal for raising children as well. You not only want to treat your children well, you want them to see how you and your partner work together to solve problems without strife. This will help them understand what a healthy relationship looks like and build that for themselves when they are finally ready for romance later on. Children with loving parents who don't fight often find themselves in more harmonious relationships as adults because those skills and even-tempered responses were passed on.
Whether you are just married, thinking about getting married, or just want to start your new long-term relationship on the right foot, consider a few sessions of couple's therapy. While you may not see trouble on the horizon now, every shared life has its challenges and the skills you learn in couples therapy can help you overcome them together, coming out stronger because of your ability to work as a loving team. If you are embarking on a new and wonderful relationship or simply want to learn the ways of harmonious couples interactions with your significant other, contact me today. I'm always happy to share the secrets of a strong relationship with someone new.