The fighting is suffocating any life that had remained in your relationship!
You can no longer talk with your partner without starting an argument. For months, conflict continues to define your relationship.
You have two options – give up or enter relationship counseling. What do you do? Is it worth it to enter relationship counseling? That’s the question we seek to answer in this write-up.
We shall explain the benefits of couple counseling and show you when you should see a counselor. Finally, we shall discuss whether relationship counseling results in any form of success. Read on.
Benefits of Couple Counseling
Of course, it isn’t easy to decide to enroll in a relationship counseling program. You should be ready to admit that your partnership is falling apart, as scary as it might be.
Again, you might be having doubts simply because you have no idea what couple therapy is.
And, you have no idea how and where to find a good relationship counselor. But realizing the benefits of couple therapy can help you start the program sooner than later.
Here are the benefits of attending relationship counseling sessions:
Couple counseling can restore communication in a broken relationship and improve intimacy. It teaches you how to communicate, openly and without anger or resentment.
Effective communication means you will feel heard, lessening issues arising from misunderstanding. But how does a relationship counselor help with that?
By requiring you to speak openly and honestly, the counselor helps you to understand your roles in the relationship issues. When you are through with it, any ice between you two is broken, and communication is improved.
Healthy Conflict Resolution
Using the communication skills you learned during relationship counseling, you will listen to each other more effectively. You will also understand each other better, healthily resolving conflict.
The marriage counselor can progressively teach you the skills and monitor progress over time.
They will also mediate the dispute and provide objective feedback on your progress. But the couple should be willing to learn necessary communication skills and to be more self-aware. Willingness to give in to emotional vulnerability is also essential.
One of couple therapy’s main benefits is improved self-esteem that begins to show as the relationship improves.
A good counselor teaches self-understanding while helping you become more aware of the relationship problems. They will help you understand your role in the troubled relationship and what you can do to make it better.
You will also learn to value your partner and the relationship, building your self-esteem. With good self-esteem, you will have a more positive outlook on life, improving your chances of prolonging the relationship.
Making the Relationship Stronger
One of the direct consequences of conflict in a relationship is anxiety that breeds jealousy, feuds, and fights.
When misunderstanding takes center stage, each individual’s importance in the union is invalidated. The partners cannot talk to each other, building on past unresolved emotions that worsen.
Having relationship counseling effectively gives you a better self-understanding and sees things from your partner’s perspective.
In The Heart of Counseling, Jeff L. Cochran says the counselor will teach you how to freely express your feelings. In the end, your relationship will be stronger because you are not afraid to voice your feelings tactfully.
Making You Happier
It is becoming increasingly comfortable trying to escape from life’s troubles instead of facing them head-on.
Once you decide to seek relationship counseling, it’s clear you are ready to meet your problems.
Counseling makes it easier by helping you and your partner cope with your situations better and showing you how okay it is to seek help from others.
Couple counseling exposes your vulnerability as an individual, making you realize how dependent you are on your friends, colleagues, and spouse
. It restores happiness in the relationship by exposing and eliminating the distressing, unresolved issues you have to grapple with. So, do you have a reason not to try it?
Negotiating and Re-Establishing Commitments
Lack of commitment often weakens what would, otherwise, have been a healthy relationship.
For some reason, married partners aren’t ready to have kids and provide financial and emotional support.
Some are drawn away by personal fears, concerns, and interests, finding it difficult to commit to the relationship.
Couple therapy creates a neutral environment in which the partners can voice their concerns while explaining the reason for disagreement.
According to Vicki Enns in Counseling in Relationships, the counselor can teach steadfast commitment, helping the couple stay together.
Couples can even negotiate responsibilities from the promises they make, reaching a workable agreement on all issues.
Improving Physical and Mental Health
Is it worth it to enter relationship counseling? Yes, it can help improve your physical and mental health.
It does that by making you happier and settled in your relationship. A trained therapist wouldn’t spare resources to see that all the issues in the relationship are resolved.
Even though it may not be the counseling session’s initial intention, couple therapy makes you happier.
Therefore, you can take good care of your physical needs, including eating healthy food and exercising.
So, better mental health comes from two sources: peace in the relationship; and taking good care of yourself.
When Should You See a Relationship Counselor?
Most couples quickly think of seeking divorce instead of going for couple therapy to solve their problems.
Sometimes, one partner could be open to the idea of seeing a relationship only to receive resistance from the other party.
When storms increase in your relationship, don’t wait for too long before seeking help from a couple of counseling experts.
The following are clear signs that you need to see a relationship counselor:
You Have Broken Trust between the Two of You.
One of the most apparent signs that you should see a relationship counselor is a breach of trust in the union.
Things that cause a breach of trust include infidelity, money issues, and having an emotional affair. For most people, having sex outside the relationship is unforgivable.
They can’t overcome the resultant feeling of betrayal, finding it hard to trust their partner. That’s also true when a partner lies about money.
Perhaps you have just discovered your partner is in debt, leaving your financial health compromised. Or, your partner is having an emotional affair, sharing intimate conversations with someone else.
All of these situations can lead to broken trust, making it hard for the two of you to stay together.
Relationship counseling creates a forum where you can freely express yourself while showing your vulnerability. In the process, you can rebuild trust.
You have Frequent Arguments.
Are you having more frequent conflicts than before? We are talking about the small and significant conflicts that result in dramatic blowouts.
The magnitude of the rows doesn’t matter. If you see more of these conflicts (regardless of the intensity), you need to enter relationship counseling.
You need a counselor to mediate the rising dispute and teach you how to find solutions to your problems.
A counselor will also help you to identify the underlying issues you need to address, helping you permanently settle your conflicts.
You are Having Incidents of Poor Communication.
Likely, you haven’t been in any serious conflict with your partner. However, for some reason, you feel ignored or misunderstood by your partner.
Lately, your partner has become emotionally distant and sounds like a stranger to you. These are signs of strained or poor communication (if any) between the two of you.
A counselor can help you restore strained communication channels by having you talk freely about your issues.
Cyndi Stein-Rubin says in Counseling in Communication Disorders that you will get skills and tools to hear, connect, and understand each other. With that, you will have fewer arguments and conflicts, helping you to live more harmoniously.
Your Love Life Is Nonexistent
Studies have found lack of intimacy to be the number one cause of divorce, putting it at the center of everything.
Couples who find themselves in that situation do not know how to overcome it and only increase conflict. Perhaps one partner keeps complaining of being too tired to have sex. Or, medical issues are to blame for the loss of the desire to have sex.
If you are fighting over it, then it is time to seek help from a marriage counselor. They will help you talk about the lack of intimacy, realizing the importance of commitment. With that, you will always make an effort to please your partner, improving in your love life.
Also Related: 15 Marriage Books that will Improve Your Marriage.
Something Is Wrong but You Don’t Know What
You likely have no idea what’s wrong with your relationship. Yet, something feels wrong.
There seems to be a shift in your relationship dynamics, but you can’t tell what and why. Or, you no longer feel comfortable doing life with your partner. Or, you have become overly resentful towards your partner for no apparent reason.
According to Cindy L. Miller in Violence and Maltreatment in Intimate Relationships, these are early signs of dysfunctional or unhealthy interactions. It doesn’t mean that one of you did anything wrong but that the relationship needs a tune-up.
Couple therapy can help you identify and deal with underlying problems. It can also help you learn what you could do differently to strengthen the relationship.
You Can’t Tell Your Partner Some Things
Like the lack of or poor communication, you might have some things to tell your partner, but you can’t.
Perhaps it’s the home environment or an ongoing conflict between the two of you. Or, you are resentful towards your partner and cannot objectively talk about anything. You need to enter relationship counseling.
The counselor’s office usually presents a safe and supportive ambiance that helps you talk about things you held to yourself. Besides, a professional counselor has a warm presence that enables you to overcome your fears, helping you say whatever you have.
So you don’t have to know the issues in your relationship to seek couple counseling.
One of Both Partners Are Showing Dysfunctional Behavior
According to psychologist John Gottman, your conflict-handling behavior determines your chances of staying together.
So, if you are overly aggressive during conflicts, chances are your relationship is in trouble. Perhaps you or your partner has been getting vengeful, lashing out, shutting down, or showing passive aggression.
The more dysfunctional you are, the worse the conflicts you will have. Enrolling in couple therapy can help you identify unhealthy patterns in your behavior, allowing you to implement the necessary changes.
How Successful Is Relationship Counseling?
Is it worth it to enter relationship counseling? That’s the question everyone asks before making a final decision to see a counselor. While many people remain skeptical about the effectiveness of couple’s therapy, those who try it experience success most of the time.
Modern counselors use Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT), which results in a 75 percent success rate. That means a high number of couples who have seen a counselor have reported reduced relationship distress after a short while.
The 75 percent success rate means some couples fail to reconcile after attending couples therapy. Such couples were found to be those in physically or emotionally abusive relationships. It is not possible for relationship counseling to succeed for such couples until the existing abuse stops.
The counselor may recommend different therapy for each partner to help improve self-control. For example, a counselor can help an addicted person stop abusing drugs to strengthen the relationship.
As long as you are willing to participate in couples counseling, positive results are assured. Here are some things you can do to increase chances of success:
- Willingness to acquire necessary skills and to become self-aware and emotionally vulnerable
- Ability to see each other as team members and not opponents
- Ability to be empathetic to your partner’s feelings and point of view
- The willingness of each of you to own your part in the troubles and to cause positive change
Is it worth it to enter relationship counseling? Yes. Couples therapy helps improve communication, teach healthy conflict-resolution methods, build self-esteem, and strengthen the relationship.
It also makes you happier, teaches you how to negotiate and re-establish commitments, and improves your physical and mental health.
When you begin to notice diminished trust, frequent arguments, poor communication, and lack of intimacy, it’s time to see a counselor. Also, watch out for the feeling that something is wrong even when you do not know what it is.
Chances are, there could be many underlying factors affecting your relationship, which you need to address. If you have something to say to your partner but you can’t, and there is dysfunctional behavior in the union, book an appointment with a counselor.
Luckily relationship counseling works 75 percent of the time. Try it now!