Most couples seek counseling when they’re struggling. They may be experiencing more disagreements than usual or attempting to regain trust after infidelity. Couples typically go to counseling as a means to solve a problem, and while therapy can certainly do this, you may find that it also offers a few unexpected benefits.
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Communication is crucial to a successful relationship. Communication paves the way for a healthy, open relationship in which each partner respects boundaries. Most couples who attend counseling find that they leave with better communication with their partners. Whether it’s learning how to actively listen or engage in their partner’s preferred communication style, better communication is one of the biggest advantages of couples counseling.
Whether attending in-person or online couples counseling, many couples find that they’re able to continue using the active listening and communication skills they learn in counseling in their everyday interactions.
Counselors use certain communication and feedback techniques to demonstrate and mirror skills in empathy. Counseling also requires putting yourself in your partner’s shoes and considering how they may think or feel about different things, which often leads to increased empathy.
Because counseling allows you to better understand each other’s perspectives and viewpoints, it can also create a deeper understanding and mutual respect for one another. Each partner gets the opportunity to explore why they do certain things and how it can help or hurt the relationship. In couples therapy, partners can also learn specific skills, including anger management, communication, or sharing, which can help to foster more respect for each other.
A better understanding of each other can also help couples make important decisions, like whether or not to add to the family, if marriage is a good idea, or whether divorce is the right choice. Online couples counseling can also be a useful resource for deciding whether or not to pursue a deeper relationship with someone. The nonjudgemental counseling environment is perfect for making crucial decisions together that will impact your life and relationship going forward.
Most people never think about how they learned to argue and whether or not it’s constructive. It’s important to note that conflict is a normal part of any relationship, whether it’s parent-child, husband-wife, or brother-sister. Humans are complex beings with different thoughts and feelings, which can easily lead to conflict. Disagreements are also important to building a strong relationship with your partner, as they allow you to learn about their passions and needs. So, while conflict isn’t a measurement of relationship strength, the ability to overcome disagreements can be.
Conflict should be constructive, meaning you and your partner are able to understand the disagreement and then enact techniques to overcome it. Counseling allows you to learn about each other’s conflict styles while learning ones that may be more beneficial. Learning to overcome conflict in a productive manner requires practice. Counseling is the perfect chance to practice this skill; eventually, it’ll come more naturally to you and your partner.
It’s not uncommon for one or both partners to feel that their feelings don’t matter in a relationship. Counseling offers a safe space for both partners to accept their feelings are valid while also learning to validate their significant other’s feelings. It also exposes you to a neutral third party who can help validate real feelings, especially in relationships where one partner tends to be more dismissive.
Couples counseling is just as important to self-growth as it is to deepening your relationship with your spouse. Many couples express that they’re surprised to learn so much about themselves during couples therapy. Couples counseling isn’t about changing your spouse. Instead, it’s about a mutual understanding of each person and how they contribute to the partnership.
Counseling exposes you to the deeper thoughts and feelings of your partner. This open vulnerability can lead to a deeper trust with each other. Along with a deeper trust also often comes greater intimacy and connection. Regular counseling sessions also require you and your partner to set aside time each week to focus on each other, and sticking to these appointments is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate trustworthiness. Learning to regain trust is especially important after couples experience broken trust in the relationship, such as following infidelity. Couples counseling isn’t a guarantee that you and your partner will last. However, it does allow you and your partner to discuss important issues, learn better communication skills, resolve common conflicts, and learn more about your role as an individual rather than a partner in a relationship.