If you’re in a romantic relationship, what feeling would you have if your partner approached you and pitched the idea of couple’s counseling? Would you feel it was needed, or unexpected? Would you feel relief, or feel like you’re in the danger zone? If you think couple’s counseling may be a good idea for your relationship, you’re not alone - 49% of American couples have tried some form of counseling together.
It’s no surprise couple’s counseling has proven effective for the dueling duo - 97% of couples who were experiencing conflict and sought out counseling felt they received the help they needed. Nearly the same amount - 93% - reported they felt they had new tools which could help them navigate trouble. However, these reports are greatly from couples who seek counseling after they’ve already experienced a significant amount of conflict. Many couples, in fact, only use counseling as a last-ditch effort to save their marriage or partnership. Additionally, Dr. John Gottman, one of the leading figures in marriage and relationship counseling, predicts couples wait nearly six years - yes, years - after conflict starts to actually seek counseling for their relationship. Yikes!
If you’re in a relationship that is closer to a walk in the park rather than a slip-n-slide in a thunderstorm (that’s just to say, pretty conflict free), couple’s counseling may not be on your radar at all. Check out these three topics that appear in couple’s counseling that can help even the free-from-fighting couple:
Navigating Your Partner’s Love Language
You may have heard about the Five Love Languages, and you may even know yours! If you’re not sure about your partner’s or your love language, counseling can be a great way to navigate how each of you, give and receive affection. How many conflicts have begun when your partner doesn’t think leaving you alone to hang out with their buddies is a big deal? Or how you think it’s super clingy when your partner wants to sit near you and hold your hand all the time? Knowing each others’ love languages may help understand why both of you express love in the way you do.
Modeling Healthy Communication Skills
Counselors are well practiced at modeling healthy communication skills. Even if your partner and you have some solid conversations, it’s highly unlikely you are both conscientious about using “I” Statements or how to send and receive messages in everyday conversations. The counseling room is a perfect place to see how non-accusatory conversations are crafted. Communication skills taught in the counseling room can help you to start communicating what you really need instead of your attempt to get what you want by giving clues your partner has to decode.
Clarifying Your Own Goals and Values
Let’s face it - as time goes on, many of us start blending with our partner in our goals, values, thoughts, and dreams. Sure, collaboration and including each other in our future plans is a necessity to a healthy relationship, but maintaining independence in a long-term relationship can be a challenge. We may find ourselves forgoing friends, career choices, and family for our partner - after all, it’s easy when the relationship is nearly perfect! Couple’s counseling can certainly be helpful in clarifying our own visions and how our partner can interact with them instead of how we can mold our ideas around our partner.
If your relationship is conflict-full or conflict-free, we would love to talk about it. At Higher Life Pathways, we have couple’s counselors that have worked with couples on all levels. If you’re interested in seeing us, please fill out a contact form here to receive more information. Talk to you soon!
Higher Life Pathways Counseling Services
1800 Diagonal Road, Suite 600 Alexandria, VA 22314
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (571) 946-8115