The Benefits of Couples Counselling for a Thriving Relationship

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There is still a lot of stigma attached to couples counselling or marriage counselling. Some may view it as a sign of weakness or a failed relationship. But going to therapy together can actually be a completely positive and proactive strategy.

Learning to set healthy boundaries

Boundaries are important, and not just between partners. You want to set them up with third parties too - people outside your relationship who think they should have a say in it. New couples especially experience this kind of pressure. A new relationship is quite susceptible to stress from parents, siblings, in-laws, close friends, and even coworkers or extended family. One important reason for setting boundaries with the people who aren’t your partner has to do with breaking patterns. We usually learn our primary “love language” from a parent. This can be verbal “I love you”s, acts of service, random snuggles, etc. However, if we grow up seeing toxic relationship behaviours, we’ll accept abusive patterns as normal love languages. That’s why it’s important to delineate these experiences from your own relationship. Think of it as kicking a bad habit. Draw a hard line between your parents’ marriage and your own, and it becomes much easier to build a happy, thriving relationship for yourself.

Becoming better communicators

Getting on the same page means more than just expressing what’s on your mind. You need to also be an active listener, listen and speak mindfully, and maintain a good dose of empathy. Even in the middle of conflict, learn to stay away from personal attacks. The most practical effect of couples counselling is improving these communication skills. If you’re both able to have meaningful, respectful conversation, it will improve the quality of your relationship. This is especially important when you have a fight. Many couples escalate conflict or give each other the silent treatment. This breeds distance, isolation, resentment, and ultimately breakups. Couples counselling helps you develop the tools for bridging that gap and finding a common language.

Identifying problems and patterns

There’s nothing like an outside perspective to give you a clearer view of the issue. A good marriage or relationship counsellor can help you see the bigger picture and identify the root of the trouble. If you start in time, you can even recognise problems brewing before they spill over and become apparent.

It’s not just about troubleshooting either. Beyond concrete issues, your councillor will observe how you approach things as a couple. The way you interact, argue, agree, and compromise is very revealing.

Having an easier time with parenthood

Learning how to navigate parenthood is perhaps the most impactful benefit of couples therapy. Relationships enter a whole new realm of challenge when a child is added to the mix. Becoming parents will dramatically change your dynamics, as suddenly the child has priority in everything. Perhaps the most obvious example of that are parenting styles. Everyone has their own idea of how to raise a new human and what’s best. Sometimes these ideas clash, which can result in fights and resentment. There’s also the possibility of various unpleasant patterns that aren’t so straightforward, like passive-aggression, playing ping-pong with responsibility and permission, and going behind each other's back. Couples counselling for new parents is a great way to nip those problems in the bud. It gives you a platform to compare parenting styles and address issues in-depth. You need to work together to create a stable and safe home for your child. Counselling can go a long way in helping you balance and/or combine your parenting strategies in the healthiest possible way.

Instead of seeking counsel when the fighting comes to a head, use it as a building kit. Commit to learning and growing together. Developing healthy mental and emotional tools will be a great step in navigating couples life and thriving as a united front.

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