Social science researchers have noticed two interesting trends about couples in America. The first is that divorce is at a 50 year low. Only 14.9 divorces for every 1,000 marriages.
Also at an all-time low is the marriage rate. In 2019, for every 1,000 unmarried people in the US, only 33 got married. In 1970, that number was 86.
Something that hasn’t changed is that people disagree agree with each other. Whether you are in a marriage or a committed partnership, conflict can arise. This may lead you to worry about the future of your relationship.
There’s no need to fear. Some conflict is healthy and can lead to great levels of understanding and trust. However, left unchecked it can fester and harm.
Cue, couples therapy!! Couples therapy can give you and your partner the tools you need to succeed. Read through this article to learn 7 benefits of attending couples therapy!
1. Refine Communication
How many times have you talked in circles for hours and come out the other side with no resolution? Maybe you keep hashing out the same tired arguments without ever seeing eye-to-eye? These are common relationship issues.
One reason to attend couples therapy is to figure out at what point communication fails. Therapy can offer you the tools to learn how to successfully navigate your differences and learn how to successfully collaborate.
One strategy you may learn is using “I” messages. Phrasing things from your perspective takes the accusatory sting out of your comments.
Instead of: “You never remember my birthday!” Try: “I felt disappointed when you forgot my birthday.” That way you stick with your truth and allow the other person to respond instead of defend.
2. Give You Tools For Deescalation
Your human nature works against you when in an argument. Humans naturally want to get the last word in and be right. In fights, listening goes out the window and blinders go on.
The best couples therapy will give you the tools you need to approach a disagreement diplomatically. The same tools that law enforcement use for de-escalation can help you keep your conversations from blowing up. Some of these tricks you can practice are:
- Respecting personal space
- Allowing silence for reflection
- Setting boundaries
- Reconnecting to calm when things start to heat up
- Leading with empathy
In addition to giving you tools to use at home, your therapist will help you and your partner through those common points of conflict during your session. They will constantly refocus you on finding an agreement instead of just “being right”.
3. Help Reignite the Flame
Just like any race, the race of life has its ups and downs. Sometimes the thrill keeps up your energy, other times you rely on sheer willpower to keep going. Relationships are like that too.
It’s so easy to fall into a routine and then fall further into complacency. Humans like routines and they’re good for you. But, they can become a problem when you forget what interested you about your partner in the first place.
Couples therapy is a great place to rekindle the spark that started the flames of your relationship. In therapy sessions, your therapist will guide you through conversations that help you remember and verbalize what you love about your partner.
4. Unify Parenting Strategies
Many relationship problems spring up from disagreements about parenting strategies. It could be as benign as curfew disagreements or as serious as the use of spanking as a form of discipline.
In therapy, you’ll have a safe space to:
- Learn how to parent together
- Explore how your different parenting styles can work together
- Set family rules that everyone can agree upon.
5. Resolve Financial Issues
Each person brings his or her own financial habits to a relationship. Differences in money management are natural breeding grounds for relationship issues. Additionally, unexpected financial situations like an injury or a job layoff can worsen an already tense situation.
Are you a saver or a spender? How do you utilize credit cards? How do you use a budget, if you budget at all?
As you attend couples therapy, you can begin to understand your own habits better and those of your partner. Your therapist will help you navigate difficult conversations about money in ways that are both respectful and productive.
If you already have money concerns, you may feel that it’s not worth it to pay for couples therapy. However, every penny you spend on your relationship will increase your quality of life in the long run. As you and your partner learn how to communicate about money, you can better manage your finances in the future.
6. Find a Safe Space
One of the biggest benefits for couples with relationship problems is that the therapy sessions are a safe place for opening up. The therapist has the ability to be objective. They will not take sides but will act as a protective barrier so each person can let his or her feelings out.
If you have children in your home, your therapist’s office is an ideal location to have healthy disagreements. You can vocalize frustrations and concerns without having to worry about what little ears may be hearing.
7. Know When It’s Time to Move On
Ultimately, the best move for the relationship may be ending it. Don’t worry, most rocky relationships can be smoothed out. However, couples therapy can help you see the relationship more clearly and know when it may be healthier to move on.
If you and your partner decide that the time has come to part ways, a couples therapist is the perfect mediator of the split. He or she can help you part ways in the least emotionally-damaging way possible.
Now Is the Time to Try Couples Therapy
After reading this article, you can see that you only stand to benefit by participating in couples therapy. You and your partner deserve a happy, loving, thriving relationship. And the best part is, you don’t have to do it alone.
If you live in Westchester County or the surrounding areas, Harbor Counseling is ready to meet all of your therapy needs. Book a free consultation today to start investing in your happily ever after.