Is it Worth the Fight? When and Why You Should Consider Couples Therapy
Published: Feb. 27, 2020
If most couples are honest with themselves, they’ll admit to “keeping score” at some point in their relationships. And in many cases, money and children are the points of contention.
He’s never home – I’m always taking care of the kids and managing their schedules.
She’s always spending money – I’m the only one who budgets and saves.
If it sounds familiar, you’re not alone. It’s common for couples to tally up all the things they do and give and all the ways the other does not. It can be toxic. Not necessarily the scorekeeping, but the constant focus on negativity. It can breed resentment and create distance, which can eventually lead to failed relationships.
The key to success in marriage and all relationships is largely about taking the focus off winning or losing and working toward healing and resolve. Sometimes couples can do it on their own. Oftentimes they can’t.
Trade in your trusty shoulder to cry on
When issues arise with your partner, it’s easy to lean on a friend or family member – someone to confide in.
It’s fine to be open about the struggles you’re facing, but when it comes to seeking guidance and direction, friends and family should generally be avoided. A best friend, parent or sibling will often take your side, creating more enemies for your partner and more problems between you.
Professional therapy allows couples to talk openly about their thoughts and emotions in a safe, unbiased environment. A neutral third party can help foster healthy communication between most couples seeking help because oftentimes there’s no communication even taking place – just blame and criticism void of ownership and accountability.
While every couple’s therapy journey may look different, you and your partner can expect to:
- Answer questions about your childhood and how you met
- Develop relationship goals
- Be given fun and strategic “homework” assignments
- Learn new skills important to a healthy relationship
Being prepared is one of the most important steps in maximizing your counseling experience. But picking up the phone to actually make an appointment can be one of the hardest.
Feel free to call and vet various counselors before scheduling that first session. Ask questions about their areas of expertise and counseling styles. Knowing what to expect from the person guiding your sessions can often be half the battle.
Don’t wait until it’s too late
A common misconception about couples therapy is that all who participate have crumbling relationships.
Many couples, in fact, seek therapy well before things have escalated. If couples wait until things have spiraled out of control, it’s possible they’ve already reached the point of no return. It may be too late for therapy to help.
If you feel stuck in your relationship, feel there’s room for improvement or feel like nothing you’ve tried seems to be moving the relationship forward, it may be time to give therapy a try. While some couples seem to benefit from just a few sessions, others prefer a more long-term approach – and view it as routine maintenance for the health and well-being of their relationships.
Fly solo if you must
So you think you’re ready to give therapy a try? What about your partner?
It’s not uncommon for one person to have reservations about counseling, and there may be a number of reasons.
Perhaps you’ve heard some of them already:
- “It costs money.”
- “We’re too busy.”
- “Our marriage is fine.”
- “I don’t feel like telling a stranger our problems.”
Therapy is most beneficial when both parties see the need for it and want to improve their relationship. You can’t force your partner into therapy, but you may still benefit from it.
Are there skills you could work on? Are there trust issues you need to work out? Are there certain activities or tactics you could work in? Attending counseling sessions on your own can still be productive. Personal growth and healing can still be achieved without your partner present. And you never know – your partner may decide to join after seeing you take the leap first.
Fight for your relationship, fight harder for what’s best
One of the most common questions many couples have is this: How do we know if our relationship is worth fighting for? And here’s my answer: All relationships are worth fighting for.
The goal of therapy is to help couples want to save their relationships and help them rediscover what’s important. There are times, however, when issues grow beyond repair. And when too much hurt and distance have occurred, it may become a matter of helping couples recognize what’s best for all involved – including children that may be present.
Again, while many people consider therapy a last-ditch effort, it doesn’t have to be. Learn more about Best Care EAP and what it can do for your relationship today.