Do We Really Need Couples Counseling?
Studies show that couples counseling can save—and even strengthen—relationships. However, many couples seek help too late. Maybe we incorrectly assume therapy is only for individuals who suffer from mental health problems or, in the context of couples therapy, as a last resort to save a completely broken relationship.
But, if you’ve even considered asking a third party for relationship advice, there’s reason to see a couples counselor. Even if you haven’t talked to your partner about couples counseling, but think it might help your relationship, it can be a good idea to seek a consultation.
Consider couples counseling if…
You address the same patterns or contentions over and over again
If you and your partner revisit the same arguments, you need to explore and understand the root of the problem. Sometimes couples don’t recognize the problem until it’s brought up by their partner or a third party. Couples counseling can help you address the problem directly.
Your partner wants to go to counseling
If your partner asked you to go to counseling, address their request. It takes courage to seek help. Their ask also shows they’re interested in working things out. Whether you believe you need counseling or not, it’s important to respect their request and commitment. Give it a try.
You think about having (or had) an affair
If you’re even considering an affair while in a monogamous relationship, then something might be off. And, if you’ve been involved in an affair, there’s definitely reason to talk about it. Infidelity can be deeply traumatizing for the mistreated party, but it does not mean your relationship is over.
You and your partner are not sexually aligned
Every individual experiences sex differently. From desires to frequency, approaches to sex vary significantly. In any relationship, these variations can cause confusion, contention, frustration, and a communication breakdown. Coming to couples therapy to talk about sex can be incredibly rewarding for your relationship!
You’re considering separation or divorce
Any couple considering separation or divorce may want to talk to an objective couples counselor. A therapist can help you decide the next best step. In therapy, we call this discernment counseling. Discernment counseling is a series of short counseling sessions that guide you and your partner through focused conversations and exercises that help you decide whether or not you want to stay together and work on your relationship.
You fight constantly without resolution
Believe it or not, there is a way to “fight well.” It’s natural to disagree in a relationship. After all, you are two unique individuals. But if your disagreements consistently devolve into unproductive fights, you may want support. Come to couples counseling to learn how to communicate your needs, listen, and respond to one another. These skills will help you resolve conflict without relationship-damaging resentment and anger.
You’re about to get married or go through another big life change
Even if you’ve been in a relationship with someone for a long time, getting married can still feel like a major commitment and life change. Premarital counseling helps couples get off on the right foot before their big day.
Marriage isn’t the only major life change worthy of discussion. Another situation we see often at Couples Counseling Associates is the formation of stepfamilies. Merging families is a big shift for the entire family and, as individuals, every family member deals with those changes differently. Couples counseling can help you discuss new living arrangements, build mutual trust and respect between stepfamily members, and learn about co-parenting.
You feel like your partner never empathizes with you
Do you ever feel like your partner isn’t truly listening to you? Do they accuse you of doing the same? Then the two of you may not be communicating your needs well. The communication skills you learn at couples counseling—like empathy, listening, and resolution—can significantly improve your relationship in both the short and long term.
You simply want a strong, long-lasting healthy relationship
Couples counseling is not just for troubled relationships! It also gives couples the skills to build a strong, healthy, supportive relationship. You can grow old together.
What Does it Mean to be “a Couple”?
At first, the answer to this question seems obvious. In reality, the answer is more complex and a great one to explore with your partner. You might find yourself asking follow up questions: Do you have the same definition of being “a couple”? Do you have the same expectations for one another in your partnership? Do you even have the same ground rules or expectations of what it means to be in a relationship?
If you answered “no” or “I don’t know” to any of these questions, then there may be a misalignment in your relationship. That’s where couples counseling can help. By building communication skills, as well as leveraging your couples counselor as an objective listener, you will learn how to better understand one another’s expectations. You can get to the root of contention and challenges in your relationship.
Unfortunately, being in love doesn’t mean we have the same expectations it takes to build a strong, healthy, and long-lasting relationship. That’s why this question can be a good place to start a conversation with your partner. Your counselor will help you navigate these challenging conversations and build up the skills you need to work together inside and outside the therapist’s office.
What’s the Difference Between Couple’s Counseling and Marriage Counseling?
Although couples counseling and marriage counseling may sound like the same thing (and there are a lot of similarities), you may find that couples counseling and marriage counseling have slightly different focuses and goals. Your couples counselor will work with you to understand the challenges you face and come up with the right plan to address them.
- Read more about the details of relationship counseling and how it can benefit you
- Sign up for our newsletter to receive ongoing relationship tips from our staff
- Learn how sex therapy can improve your relationship
- Hear Couples Counseling founder Sara Schwarzbaum talk about relationships on the radio
- Read how this one habit can improve your relationship
- Learn more about couples counseling
- Make your first call now at 312-416-6191 to ask questions or to make an appointment with Couples Counseling Associates
More Resources for You and Your Partner
In our efforts to bring value to your life, or if you are not in the Chicago area, Couples Counseling Associates developed a series of lessons to help you effectively improve your relationship. Dive into the series and discover how these resources can benefit you and your partner.
Remember, it’s the positive habits we develop that guarantee us success in all areas of our lives. Discover the seven healthy habits that improve relationships or get in touch with us to learn more about Couples Counseling Associates.