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“Just as you go to the gym regularly to keep your body fit, regular couples counseling can keep your relationship fit as well.”~ Laura Wasser
Two fresh-faced 20-somethings meet and fall madly in love… You know how the story goes.
The story continues…
There comes a point where these two lovebirds have to decide whether to keep their lovefest going indefinitely or put the brakes on forever. The answer to this inevitable question can literally “make or break” a relationship.
There will be things that happen during the course of their relationship that could change its course forever. These events will challenge their resolve – to each other and their relationship.
There will probably be difficult conversations, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and maybe even some harsh words between these two people. The result? Lingering resentment and a temporary or permanent emotional (and physical) disconnect between them. You might even be wondering if your relationship is toxic or fixable.
What comes next?
If you start to experience obstacle after obstacle and feel as if there is no way to conquer them, it is imperative that you and your partner seek help. If you ignore or dismiss issues, it can lead you towards a messy break-up. Ouch!
So, if you are experiencing issues that feel insurmountable, ask for help. Issues, obstacles, and roadblocks can damage your relationship if you don’t have the proper tools to cope with and manage them. They can even cause you to question if you’re really with the right “One.” And, they can make you question if you even want to take your relationship to the next level – living together or getting married and starting a family.
You don’t have to be conflicted about your relationship when there are “relationship experts” who can help you decide your next steps. They can help you decide if you want to keep working on your relationship or call it quits.
Will relationship counseling actually help my relationship?
Can relationship counseling really help struggling couples like you? YES!
Look at it this way – When you hear the term “relationship counseling,” what springs to mind? Do you view it as a tool that can improve your relationship or do you feel like it will only make the situation worse?
Counseling is for anyone who needs someone to talk to and is looking for “tools” to improve themselves and their relationship.
Move past the stigma
There is a stigma attached to seeking counseling for any reason but especially for relationship issues. Society, in general, tends to view counseling as something only “crazy” people need. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Counseling is for anyone who needs someone to talk to and is looking for “tools” to improve themselves and their relationship. It’s actually a positive thing. It means you care about yourself, your partner, and your relationship to make improvements.
As a therapist, I honestly believe that every couple, not just the married ones, would benefit from seeking relationship counseling. A “relationship expert” like a relationship counselor can provide you with an objective perspective. They have invaluable tools, advice, and guidance when it comes to your personal happiness and the health of your relationship. It truly is the best thing you can do for yourself and your partner.
If you are unsure if counseling can help your relationship, look no more. This article will provide you with the benefits of attending relationship counseling with your partner.
Read the longer version
You can learn more about why relationship counseling isn’t just for married couples by reading the following articles: Counseling for Couples: Not Married? Not a Problem by Seattle Christian Counseling, Couples Counseling and Why It’s so Important by Marriage.com, and Couples Counseling by All About Counseling.
All Couples (married or not) could benefit from a little relationship clarity, advice, and guidance
You may not realize this yet, but your relationship could be better – much better with relationship counseling. Seriously. As I mentioned above, all relationships could benefit from a little relationship clarity, advice, and guidance.
The truth is no couple is perfect. In other words, all relationships need work – some a little and some a lot. There are always things we must learn and better ways we can communicate and work through issues – together.
Therefore, relationship counseling isn’t just for couples who are on the brink of breaking-up. No; it’s also for those who simply want to make their relationship better by improving and strengthening their relationship so it’s in tip-top shape to go the long haul.
And, guess what? Most relationship counselors also offer pre-marital counseling. This is important because in some religions, cultures, and even countries, it is required before you get married. Some states even offer a discount on marriage license costs if you attend pre-marital counseling with your fiancée.
All couples (married or not) need someone to talk to – someone who genuinely cares about how they are doing and wants to see them succeed, as individuals and as partners. A relationship counselor can do all of these things for you. He or she can be an advocator, a de-stressor, motivator, inspiration, go-between, and referee.
Relationship counseling can offer you a fresh perspective
One of the best and most important benefits of going to relationship counseling is that your counselor can offer you a fresh perspective on your relationship. This “expert” has been taught to view relationships objectively. What does that mean? It means he or she will not judge you, your partner, or relationship.
He or she simply wants to help you decide your next steps – do you want to stay together or move on? And, if you do want to stay together, the steps that need to be taken to put you on that path. Remember, a relationship counselor wants you to be happy – together or apart.
Although you may be trying to claw each other’s eyes out from frustration, hurt feelings, betrayal, anger, hostility, and resentment, your counselor remains neutral. This neutrality can help him or her see what’s really going on. In other words, what really lies beneath the surface – because that is extremely important.
The counselor can clearly see the dynamics of your relationship, he or she can determine the root cause of your issue or issues. A relationship counselor can help you look at the situation from a different angle – put yourself in your partner’s shoes.
One of the best things about a relationship counselor is he or she has seen almost everything when it comes to relationships so you won’t shock or disappoint him or her. And, because this “expert” has extensive training, knowledge, and experience with relationships, he or she will most likely have the tools and answers you are looking for.
It can provide you with some much needed relationship tools
A good relationship counselor will provide you with tools you and your partner can use outside of counseling sessions. Keep in mind that the goal of a relationship counselor should be to supervise and encourage healthy communication in his or her presence and provide you with some much-needed relationship tools – i.e. communication, coping, and problem-solving tools you can use in your everyday life.
For instance, if you have trouble communicating with your partner (i.e. you argue constantly), a relationship counselor can teach you healthier and more effective ways to communicate with one another. He or she may assign “homework tasks,” such as reading about different types of communication styles and patterns, and/or communication exercises you can do together.
Or, if you have trouble working together to complete household tasks or parenting responsibilities, a relationship counselor can teach you how to manage your stress, set goals, and accomplish tasks as a team.
About the Author
Dr. R. Y. Langham
Ph.D. in Family Psychology
Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
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