Relationships aren’t always easy. When two individuals become a single unit, they take their worldviews, likes, dislikes, preferences, habits, strengths, weaknesses, fears, dreams, hopes, and demons with them. That’s a lot of moving parts for one individual. It’s easy to imagine that everything pairs won’t always pair up.
Each partner may have opposing ways of dealing with stress or communicating. Perhaps your partner grew up in a large family and shared everything among themselves. If you grew up as a single child, you might not understand why your partner feels upset when you eat the leftovers without asking.
This is just one example of what couples may experience daily. If you feel like your relationship is struggling, relationship therapy could be just the thing for you and your boo.
Relationship therapy, commonly known as couple’s therapy, helps couples come together and resolve issues in a more fulfilling, collaborative way. They can highlight patterns of behavior and provide objective observations that are fair and unbiased. They can also encourage partners to see beyond the issues and restore intimacy and love.
While it may seem weird to share details of your relationship with a therapist, they’re not there to judge or share. They act as neutral guides for couples to resolve their differences and better understand each other.
A quick word about the term ‘couples therapy.’ Relationship therapy isn’t just for couples. All types of relationships can benefit from treatment, including relationships with our friends, family members, and coworkers.
Here are five ways relationship therapy can help your relationship.
Better Communication Skills
Whenever I meet new couples, they always ask me for any tips. I can’t overstress how vital meaningful communication is for a healthy relationship. Lack of communication is one of the most common reasons for couples’ arguments. We have different communication styles, and sometimes there’s a crisscrossing of wires.
Relationship therapy can help couples establish a level playing field for both parties to express themselves. For example, Person A is stressed and wants to discuss her frustrations with her partner. Person B prefers to process their frustration on their own. If neither understands how each other deals with stress, friction and miscommunication arise. Therapists give each partner a chance to express how they best deal with issues. This openness allows each party to understand how we express our affection and frustrations.
Conflicts are healthy in a relationship. It can establish boundaries and let partners know each other more deeply. On the other hand, unresolved or mishandled conflict can turn a relationship sour. Instead of a resolution, we avoid confrontation and keep our frustrations to ourselves. These unspoken frustrations build over time and lead to resentment, growing into a less manageable beast.
Therapy gives couples a chance to hear each other’s side healthily. There is more pressure to keep things controlled and civil with a therapist’s presence. Therapists can encourage both sides by asking questions about how the other person feels after hearing their partner’s side.
Sometimes, arguments result from a simple misunderstanding that couples never address. By learning how to resolve conflict, couples can prevent misunderstandings from escalating in the future.
Strengthen Connection and Regain Intimacy
Relationship therapy can encourage couples to be more proactive about their relationship. Therapy is a space to understand and open channels of communication. By talking candidly about desires and wants, couples feel more secure their partners are listening.
Therapists can also ask couples what they admire or respect in their partner, leading to a deeper appreciation for your partner.
Relationship therapy aims for open communication, with the goal of collaborative problem resolution in mind. Therapists engage with patients to view problems not as extensions of their partners but as opportunities to work together against the problem.
Relationships are partnerships, and couples can be each other’s best support system. Building resilience and cooperation together strengthens a couple’s bond. Not only will they learn how to face problems as a team, but they will also build new strategies to confront future problems together.
Expressing yourself to your partner is bound to reveal new information about yourself. Partners can discover more about themselves than about their partners. This interaction can be a beautiful moment to experience with your partner present to champion you and hold you accountable.
This self-awareness can also bleed into other types of relationships, such as friendships and family bonds. The skills partners learn in couples’ therapy may open their eyes to other strained relationships that need mending. They’re not exclusive to romantic relationships. Friendships and family ties can also prosper from your self-development.
If you feel you and your partner can benefit from relationship therapy, reach out to a licensed therapist.
A relationship doesn’t have to be at risk to attend and can be a healthy way to engage with your partner before problems turn into larger ones.