No couple can honestly say they have never had a disagreement. All relationships have their ups and downs. It’s a perfectly normal part of life. There will be days when you love being with your partner and other days when you’d rather eat slugs than spend a moment in their company. Minor conflict can usually be dealt with in-house, but if your relationship is reeling from an admission of infidelity, or any conversation you two have ends in screaming, it is worth considering the benefits of getting help.
Couple’s therapy involves counseling, but instead of talking to a counselor individually, you go together. There is no set format for couple’s therapy, but the idea is that you both have the opportunity to explore your issues in a safe environment. A trained counselor will guide the conversation and ensure that both parties have their say. There is no guarantee that couple’s counseling will save your relationship, but many warring couples do find the process of talking things through in a safe environment a positive experience.
Do We Need Couples Counseling?
There are many reasons to seek couple’s counseling. Often it is a last-ditch attempt to save the relationship when all else has failed. By agreeing to go to couple’s counseling, you both agree that the relationship is worth saving, which, in itself is a hopeful sign.
Talk and Listen
Talking about your issues with a trained mediator is a useful way of getting your partner to understand your viewpoint, and vice versa. Many arguments end up with both parties screaming abuse, or one partner stonewalling the other. Neither outcome is an effective method of conflict resolution. The problem is that when you are dealing with an emotive issue, for example the admission of an extra marital affair, it is easy to get sucked into playing the ‘blame game’. A couple’s counselor will help you sort through the issues so you can work out what went wrong. It’s not a case of pointing the finger of blame at one partner or the other; in most cases, it takes two people to mess up a relationship.
Does Couples Counseling Work?
Talking things through is cathartic and healing for couples going through relationship issues, but you both have to want to make it work. Sometimes, one partner is more invested in the idea of relationship counseling than the other. The unwilling partner might only be there under sufferance. If this is the case, couples counseling is less likely to be successful.
You both have to have the right attitude for couples counseling to work. Try setting goals for your sessions, such as promising to listen more instead of butting in with an accusation. Plan in advance what you want to talk about, or your sessions will not be as productive as they could be. If you argued the night before, don’t continue the argument in your next session.
Ultimately, you can’t change your partner, but you can change yourself. A couple’s counselor can provide the toolkit you need to fix things, so listen, learn, and work at building a better relationship.