Here are five reasons to why couples should seek counseling:
1) Strengthen Communication Skills: Being able to effectively listen, truly hear and validate the other’s position is a skill that isn’t necessarily a “given” for many people. Couples that really communicate effectively can discuss and resolve issues when they arise more effectively. You can tune up your talking and listening skills. This is one of the most important aspects of emotional connection between couples.
2) Discuss Role Expectations: It’s incredibly common for couples to never really have discussed who will be doing what in the relationship. This can apply to time, finances, chores, sexual intimacy, career and more. Having an open and honest discussion about what each of you expect from the other in a variety of areas leads to fewer surprises and upsets down the line.
3) Learn Conflict Resolution Skills: Nobody wants to think that they’ll have conflict in their relationship. The reality is that “conflict” can range from disagreements about who will take out the trash to emotionally charged arguments about serious issues – and this will probably be part of a couple’s story at one time or another. There are ways to effectively de-escalate conflict that are highly effective and can decrease the time spent engaged in the argument.
4) Explore Spiritual Beliefs: For some this is not a big issue – but for others a serious one. Differing spiritual beliefs are not a problem as long as it’s been discussed and there is an understanding of how they will function in the with regards to practice, beliefs, family, holiday celebrations etc.
5) Identify any Problematic Family of Origin Issues: We learn so much of how to “be” from our parents, siblings and other early influences. If one of the partners experienced a high conflict or unloving household, it can be helpful to explore that in regards to how it might play out in the relationship. Couples who have an understanding of the existence of any problematic conditioning around how relationships work, are usually better at disrupting repetition of these learned behaviors.
Throughout our lives, we improve our skills by taking “courses” and practicing what we learn. If you played sports, you were coached in the basics and practiced them until they became rote. At work, you were shown how to perform tasks, then got better and better as you repeated the process. To learn cooking or outdoor grilling, you followed recipes or observed someone with known abilities, then added your personal touches. Having a healthy relationship is another skill, one that gets little or no attention until failure to do so results in trouble.