When you hear that a couple is going to marriage counseling, your first reaction is usually to wonder what happened to their relationship or if they’re getting a divorce. Although marriage counseling is traditionally seen as a last resort for couples who are going through a rough patch in their marriage, there doesn’t have to be trouble brewing to receive the benefits of couples therapy. In fact, there are plenty of reasons why even happy couples should see a marriage counselor every so often. Curious about what marriage counseling can do for your relationship? Here’s what you can expect couples therapy will do for you and your spouse.
1. It Can Help with Troubles Outside Your Marriage
Whether a family member is ill or your spouse has lost their job, marriage counseling can help you weather storms together as a couple. Your therapist can give you strategies on coping, tips on how to listen to each other effectively, and provide you with support as you go through the challenges that life throws your way.
2. It Can Help You Go Through a Life Change
When you’re about to go through a major life moment such as a new baby, a big move, or a career change, having an added outside perspective can help you cope easier, calm nerves, and teach you how to best communicate with each other through these exciting (and often anxiety-inducing) times.
3. You Can Learn How to Process Your Feelings
If you or your partner have never been one for wearing your heart on your sleeve, marriage counseling is a safe spot to learn how to be more open and communicative about your emotions. Having a therapist guide you through exercises on precisely how to do this will strengthen your relationship—and may even lead you to learn something about your partner that you never would have otherwise known.
4. You Can Learn How to Fight Fair
Even the happiest couples squabble every once in awhile about something—whether it’s whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher or making plans about the future. Marriage counseling can help you learn how to fight fair—as in not resorting to name calling, childish antics, or completely shutting down when you’re in the middle of the argument. With some good practice and strategic advice from your therapist, your fights will not only give you a better understanding of where your partner is coming from, but they will also actually help you solve tricky problems that come up in any marriage.
5. It Can Improve Your Sex Life
You may not have problems in the bedroom, but going to a marriage counselor can help you turn up the heat in your relationship. Every couple goes through a dry phase or a lull in the sexual aspect of their marriage at some point, so routinely going to a therapist can help you work through those times and strategize on how to get through them.
6. You Can Get Advice on Being a Blended Family
When you or your spouse bring children from a previous relationship into a new marriage, there is a whole lot to process to ensure everyone is happy and healthy in your new life together. Blended families have their own unique challenges and a therapist can help you work through these issues. Whether you’re becoming a stepmom or you’re just trying to get all the kids to get along together, marriage counseling can do wonders to keep the peace in your new blended household.
7. It Can Help You Avoid Phubbing
Phubbing, which is the act of ignoring your partner when paying attention to your phone, is a common phenomenon in modern relationships. We are all, for better or worse, glued to our phones—checking emails, scrolling mindlessly through Instagram, and taking pictures of our dogs. But this can take a toll on our relationships if we let the phone usage get out of hand.
Phubbing can make couples feel less connected and can be a major distraction when you’re at home eating dinner, out at a restaurant, or before bedtime. A marriage counselor can help you work on meaningful ways to connect and give you advice on how to (gently) remind your partner to put the phone away when you’re together.
8. It Can Help You Understand Healthy Boundaries
Before you were married, your partner may have let his mom stop by his apartment every Sunday to have dinner, but that may not jive with you now that you’re married. It also may have been customary for your sister to drop her kids off most weekends while she worked, but your partner may be upset that this is taking up time that you could spend together. A marriage counselor can help you communicate more effectively about boundaries with friends and family, and how you can put up a unified front to get quality time together and with others you love.