31 Jul 5 Reasons to Seek Relationship Counseling | BOND
5 Reasons to Seek Relationship Counseling
The world can be a complicated place.
Between getting to work on time, strict deadlines, going to the gym, eating right, and paying bills—seeing life’s beauty and potential can be difficult.
Most humans are emotional beings.
We react unfairly. We judge too quickly. We lie instinctively. We envy regularly.
Those flaws and imperfections are found in most humans. And one of the greatest parts of being human is our ability to love.
For most people love is also complicated.
The honeymoon phase of the relationship passes in a blink of an eye. Soon, a person you didn’t even know six months ago is now in every frame of your life.
From the television show you decide to watch at night, to the shoes you choose to wear to dinner, all of a sudden life now looks and feels very different than before.
As time passes, things evolve even further. Emotions and baggage that were once hidden and monitored have now surfaced and become intrusive.
You ask yourself, “How could something so beautiful turn into something so ugly?” “How could the love and admiration for this person be outweighed by resentment and disgust?”
Unfortunately, this is par for the course for many relationships.
Whether you’re dating or married, disagreements will inevitably ensue.
However, when discrepancies overshadow agreements and fighting dwarfs warmth and friendliness, couples therapy or marriage counseling may be the most important decision you will ever make.
This can be a scary realization, but it’s also a brave and deeply therapeutic experience.
If you feel your relationship has reached its boiling point, or are no longer attracted to the person you once were, consider relationship counseling for these five reasons:
It Makes your Relationship Stronger
Even if things seem to be on the right track, attending relationship therapy is still a good idea.
When you think of premarital or marriage counseling you might instinctively interpret that as a “last ditch” effort to kindle a flame or save a relationship.
However, that is oftentimes not the case.
The third party perspective of a couples counseling professional allows you to interpret your relationship differently. You might be able to identity areas in your relationship that were unknowingly causing distress, concern or embarrassment for your spouse.
Simply talking in a neutral environment creates synergy that may not be present during other times in your relationship. Involving yourself in this discussion also allows you to reinterpret the body language of your spouse, and see which topics affect them most.
What subtle nuances do you notice when you bring up a certain issue? Do you notice a sudden change in their demeanor or how quickly they are to respond?
In many circumstances, attending relationship counseling serves as a mechanism for identifying things you might have never known existed. The neutral environment creates a safe haven for honest, deeply informative dialogue that instruments transparency and understanding into each other’s lives.
Not only can marital or premarital counseling strengthen your relationship, but it can also help you become a better person as an individual. Self-reflection is a cornerstone of happiness, and when it’s done together, amazing things can happen.
See Things from Their Point of View
As human beings, it’s very common for us to bottle things up and hold onto our emotions and resentments. Whether it be due to fear of embarrassment or distrust, we’re accustomed to hiding things without even knowing we’re doing so.
We’re quite good at it as well.
When things begin to bottle up, these ruminated thoughts grow and become more intrusive and severe.
After time, consistently dwelling on the past or consistently dwelling on specific thoughts and feelings begins to get stronger.
In order to move past something, we need to let go. That means we need to forgive whomever we’re judging and resenting.
Although you may feel comfortable around your girlfriend or boyfriend, spouse, or vice versa, they might not be. Consequentially, a problem that you, he, or she was unaware of has now entered the relationship and is causing immense pressure, distrust, and frustration.
Remember, there will always be things you didn’t know about your girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse.
Their past may be completely different from how you perceive it to be, and eventually, it will make its way to the present. Going to relationship counseling may also give you a new and profound respect for him or her.
Perhaps your significant other has a fear of spiders or small spaces? Maybe he or she was in an abusive relationship, or is a veteran and suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
From the extreme to the trivial, third party discussion with a relationship counseling professional promises that you’re going to learn something new about your girlfriend / boyfriend, your spouse or yourself.
Communication Is Absolutely Imperative
Without consistent, thorough communication between you and the person your are in a relationship with, problems will surface.
Good communication is one of the most underappreciated and underused tools in relationships.
Giving your spouse or boyfriend / girlfriend the “silent treatment” may seem like a decent enough strategy for relieving tension or anger, but eventually, it won’t be. This creates an even worse situation than before, and only separates you further from settling the dispute.
Bad communication is a direct result of no communication.
When we verbally attack, embarrass, or disrespect our spouse, the built up tension of emotions that has existed in the body for a period of time is released, but not in a way that is constructive or beneficial.
Because of poor communication, empathy is nonexistent. We end up misinterpreting the reality of the situation and take it upon ourselves to determine the problem.
Many times, how we perceive things differs greatly from what is actually the truth. Poor communication builds on this erroneous assertion, which in turn, condemns the actions or emotions of their spouse, and commends oneself.
Attending marital counseling brings structure to a potentially unstructured connection. This organized and premeditated approach to communication works because it brings clarity and diffuses misconceptions and false assumptions.
Communication in a third party environment also strengthens one-on-one dialogue, as it gives you the tools to talk through a problem with the right words, tone, and questions.
How to know if poor communication is hurting your relationship:
- When you consistently view your spouse as the adversary – You are together not to be each other’s opponents, but rather teammates. Seeing one another as the “bad guy” proves that you’re not on the same page.
- Financially faithless – If you’re consistently discouraged by the way your spouse uses money, or unsure of where your money is being spent, communication doesn’t seem to be in the picture.
- If he/she could only change – If you’re always let down by your spouse or constantly discouraged by their behavior, it may be time to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, “Does he/she even know why I’m upset or angry?”
- Anticipating cheating – Not all relationships are meant to be. However, if you can’t stop fantasizing about someone else, why keep the other in the dark? Your spouse shouldn’t have to wait for you to make a mistake, so end it with a straightforward conversation.
- Secrets – Are you hiding something? Whether it is alcohol or drugs, or you’re ashamed of letting your spouse see something (either physically or intangibly), poor communication may be negatively impacting your relationship.
- Is one of you the parent? – Do either you or your spouse dictate the situation in the household? Whether it is to sleep somewhere else, withhold sex, do something (e.g., cook, clean, buy something, etc.), this is a clear example of a relationship that is not being communicated properly.
- Afraid to talk or voice your opinion – This may be obvious, but being apprehensive about starting a conversation builds tension and makes things consistently uncomfortable. You probably realize something is wrong, but you don’t have the tools to squash the issue, so you let it linger by the waist.
- Negative tone – You and your spouse may be communicating but the conversation always ends negatively. This is a complex issue that many relationships struggle to overcome because it entails “doing the right thing” without receiving the benefit. Good communication isn’t just about expressing your feelings, it’s about articulating your words and body language in a way your spouse can feel comfortable, appreciate and easily interpret.
It Provides Advice that is Tangible and Actionable
Going to relationship therapy doesn’t just help you communicate your feelings or bring light to issues that have caused stress or sadness—it also helps you figure out what your relationship is missing.
Perhaps simply going on a walk alone each morning is what’s needed; maybe the two of you shouldn’t go out to dinner five nights a week, but instead stay in and have a quiet dinner together.
Therapy also gives you the rare opportunity to reexamine your similarities and the things you might both be interested in.
Perhaps you’re spouse also likes cheesy horror flicks and screaming like a child from time to time; may be you both have a passion for writing or reading mysteries.
The truth is, we think that there isn’t one thing we don’t know about our spouse. However, people are complicated, and no matter how long you’ve known someone, you will never know everything about that person.
Marriage therapy and counseling allows you to understand your spouse in a way you would have never thought was possible. By discovering new things about your spouse, your relationship enviably grows in trust, support and empathy.
Your Future is at Stake
Like it or not, you deserve to be happy.
Your relationship and your spouse deserve the best of what life has to offer. A large part of your happiness is dependent on communication and reflection, and the easiest and most efficient way to obtain that is through counseling.
Counseling doesn’t mean you’re depressed, angry, or not attracted to your spouse; counseling means you take your relationship and your life seriously and proactively. Counseling means you accept that life is not always perfect and you take the initiative to make it as beautiful and happy as it can possibly be. Counseling means you accept arguments or disputes, and view them not as useless and infuriating moments of life, but as important and healing and learning opportunities.
You’ve worked hard in life.
Whether it’s your career, family, or interests, you’ve done everything you can to be the happiest and most successful person you can be.
For whatever reason, however, we’ve become too complacent with our personal relationships; we accept that ‘things are what they are’ and do nothing to change it. We accept unhappiness with open arms and view joy and excitement with caution and skepticism.
Ultimately, we lose perspective in our relationships and marriages and forget why we “fell in love” in the first place.
Marriage and couple’s therapy allows you to reexamine your life and bring priority to your happiness. As cliché as it sounds, you only live on this planet once, so why not do everything in your power to make it as loving and happy as possible.
Other constructive tips you can use to improve your relationship:
- Create a soothing environment – The hustle and bustle of the day can get irritating and be stressful. Put on some music on, dim the lights, and create a relaxing environment for the two of you.
- Be realistic – Change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and hard work to develop your relationship, so don’t be discouraged if your relationship doesn’t improve after only a few months of therapy. Don’t give up too fast; a person you care for deserves your time.
- Take responsibility for your actions – It’s easy to put the blame on others; we are constantly looking for outlets that bring validation to our actions or emotions. However, taking it upon yourself and realizing you’re partly to blame is extremely constructive.
- Supports each other’s self-interests – Life isn’t only about the two of you. Sometimes a little space and putting the focus on other things is key towards creating a happy and stable environment.
To set an in-person, phone, or Skype counseling appointment call BOND at 1-800-411-BOND (2663), or email: email@example.com
Taylor BishopPosted at 07:20h, 25 October
Thanks for going over some of the benefits of getting relationship counseling. I’m glad that you mentioned that being in this third party environment could be good to talk through a problem. Not only that, but it seems like a great way to maybe get an outside perspective on the situation and learn more about what both sides can do in the future regarding the problem.
Katherine WilliamsPosted at 22:44h, 07 December
This is such a well written article. The third party perspective is surely important in knowing about different facets of a relationship, the ones that probably they didn’t even know existed. It is also a good point to remember that changes do not happen overnight, just as you mentioned. Couples tend to have unrealistic expectations from a couples therapy program. It is a long process, and requires much emotional investment from both parties involved.
Scott AdamsPosted at 14:53h, 28 December
I like that you talked about how pre-marriage counseling can help you see your relationship in a different light. I am thinking about proposing to my girlfriend and I think it would be nice to try therapy first. That way, we would be able to have methods to use that could make our marriage stronger.
Jocelyn McDonaldPosted at 08:15h, 14 May
My husband and I have been married several years and our relationship seems to be in relatively good shape, but I still think it might be a good idea to attend couples therapy. Thanks for the thorough and helpful article on reasons to get relationship counselling, I especially appreciated your first reason that it makes good relationships stronger. A therapist can help you see your relationship in a different light, and identify unknown or ignored problem areas, so I will be sure to take this into consideration when choosing a marriage therapist.
Derek DewittPosted at 05:00h, 31 May
My wife and I haven’t been on good terms lately, so we are considering counseling. I like your point about how a therapy session gives you a chance to figure out what’s missing from your relationship. This sounds like a great way to identify issues and find solutions together.
Jocelyn McDonaldPosted at 06:18h, 22 June
My sister has been having some issues in her marriage, so I suggest she look into counseling. Your article had some great points about why to seek a couples therapist, and I really liked how you said seeing a counselor like this can help you let go of anger you’ve bottled up. This way you can start seeing things from the other person’s point of view, and I’ll be sure to share this advice with my sister to help save her marriage.
amol joshiPosted at 23:55h, 06 August
It is not at all bad being a straightforward person. Being honest about it will make you feel so much better than just sitting there and stewing.
Jessie ColePosted at 13:19h, 14 September
Thanks for sharing. It is not uncommon for a couple to disagree on an important decision, causing conflicts that may lead to disagreements or dissolve the unity of the relationship.