10 Good Reasons to Seek Relationship Counseling

Senior couple sit on porch and talk, holding mugs, covered by a fuzzy blanketOne of the main reasons people seek therapy is for help with intimate and close relationships. And while couples counseling tends to be viewed as something for only relationships in crisis, there are many reasons people in relationships might pursue it. Some are small, some larger, but all are important and deserve to be explored and worked on.

Here are 10 good reasons to look into relationship counseling:

1. Communication Issues

Communication is the foundation of all relationships. Communication comes in many forms, both in person and over the phone, text, or social media. Therapy teaches couples how to communicate with each other in a positive manner that works. The type of communication a person grows up around tends to strongly affect how they communicate in their adult relationships. Counseling can help couples make a conscious choice of communication style and not just fall back on what they know from their history.

2. Premarital Counseling

There are many issues couples face before they tie the knot. Premarital counseling is a place to discuss many things. One example is finances. Will bank accounts be shared? What about making decisions about what to purchase? Another consideration is household duties. Are children part of the picture? What role(s) will in-laws play in your life? Couples counseling can be a safe place to start the conversations that need to be addressed.

3. Sexual Issues

Sex can be something that heals and brings a couple together, or it can be a battleground fraught with anxiety, embarrassment, anger, and hurt. Counselors encounter sexual issues frequently and can help.

4. Infidelity and Unfaithfulness

Infidelity within a relationship can be the most hurtful and damaging thing a couple ever goes through, but it does not mean the relationship has to be over. Couples counseling provides a healing space to begin the journey toward resolution. It can help find practical and meaningful ways to navigate the treacherous waters of unfaithfulness.

5. Assistance Managing Other Relationships

Couples have relationships with people outside of their relationship together. Friends, extended family, children, coworkers, and supervisors/bosses/professors are just a few. These relationships can be either healthy or unhealthy. Some things that can be discussed are boundaries with members of the opposite sex or same sex, communication with exes, and together and alone time.

Nontraditional intimate relationships, such as polyamory, open, and swinging, can have problems and struggles—some of which are specific to their lifestyle and identity, some that all couples deal with.

6. Nontraditional Relationships

Nontraditional intimate relationships, such as polyamory, open relationships, and swinging, can have problems and struggles—some of which are specific to their lifestyle and identity, some that all couples deal with. It can be intimidating to seek relationship therapy for fear of not being valued or understood because of the type of intimate relationship one is in. Many relationship counselors are comfortable and have the background and understanding to work with people in nontraditional relationships and can provide an open and safe place to work on the struggles a couple is having.

7. Blended Families

When one or both partners have children from another relationship, blending has its own specific struggles and difficulties. Parenting differences, the role of the other parent, and the new identity of the family all need to be explored.

8. The End of a Relationship

When a relationship has ended, whether by mutual agreement or otherwise, managing life can be difficult. Often, individuals need to express anger, sadness, and grief. There may be practical issues to sort out as well, such as housing and children. Agreeing how and when to communicate is another example of a matter to be discussed in couples counseling.

9. Digital-Age Issues

Facebook. Twitter. Texting. Sexting. Instagram. YouTube. Snapchat. These are just a few ways technology can infiltrate and affect relationships. Communicating via social media has its own pros and cons. Couples often have conflict regarding who to “friend,” what to “like,” and who to text, block, or chat. Communicating that is not done face-to-face or even on the phone is hard. No matter how many emojis are used, words can be misconstrued and misread. Tone of voice and body language are important to understanding what is being conveyed. Relationship counseling can help couples work through problems technology has caused, and create boundaries with each other to help restore trust when social media have hurt the relationship.

10. Trust Issues

After trust is broken, relationships can be harmed or even destroyed. Part of having a solid and healthy relationship is to be able to trust one another. Learning to trust again is a slow and hard process, and it can be painful and frustrating when it doesn’t happen quickly. Counseling can educate and assist couples with understanding the process of regaining trust, and provide tools and direction to help.

All relationships are difficult in some form or another. There will be disagreement, conflict, and hurt even in the best of times. Relationship counseling can help individuals and couples grow and heal. Like all types of therapy, the lessons learned and behaviors changed will continue to serve each person for much longer than the therapy itself.

It takes work to have a solid and positive relationship. Couples counseling is worth considering for any couple and can promote mutually beneficial change for years to come.

© Copyright 2017 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Jenise Harmon, LISW-S, therapist in Columbus, Ohio

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Cora

    Cora

    March 22nd, 2017 at 11:01 AM

    Having gone through some of this myself the only thing that I would ask is what do you have to lose if you just give it at least a try? There is not one thing wrong with wanting your relationship to be a little bit stronger and a little bit better and that is what counseling did for us. It wasn’t that there was anything that was necessarily wrong but something felt a little off and I think that we both sensed it and wanted to work on it before the rift was too big to navigate.
    I would say that this above anything else probably saved our marriage, again not that it would have ended in divorce but I just think that it gave new life to something that was getting a little stale.

  • Jessie

    Jessie

    March 23rd, 2017 at 11:09 AM

    I didn’t know when I went into my second marriage just how difficult things would be with his kids and mine blending into one family. It has been tough to say the least. I didn’t think that there would be so much resentment on both sides but there are actually days when I just want to take my kids and go. I don’t think that he realizes just how much his kids undermine me and I feel like at every single turn they are trying to do things to make me look bad.
    I don’t think that I am being paranoid, but I am getting scared that the marriage isn’t going to make it because we always have someone looking over our shoulder and turning everyday life upside down.

  • justin d

    justin d

    March 24th, 2017 at 11:33 AM

    Even though I have always been open to this my partner never really has bee.
    I don’t know if he is afraid of revealing something that he wouldn’t be all that comfortable revealing or what but he is pretty opposed to it
    So should I just go on to counseling without him?

  • Melissa

    Melissa

    March 26th, 2017 at 10:33 AM

    Go on your own. My soon to be Ex spouse never wanted to try. He has emotional detachment issues and never wanted to go either. Turns out for the last 6yrs he didn’t feel “In love” with me, but still acted the part. I wish I had gone on my own years ago for myself as much as our marriage. My spouses actions brought out the worst in me. There were things that I was also guilty of and becoming aware of this could have saved my marriage or brought me to see that it was never going to work in the first place and saved me years and tears. The point is, If someone really loves you, they will do what it takes to make the relationship work.

  • Portia

    Portia

    March 27th, 2018 at 3:07 AM

    Well said my dear, when a partner care enough they’ll will try everything to meet you half way and ensuring that you don’t feel alone in the midst of the challenges faced moving forward. A good Support system is essential more especially coming from a partner whom you both trying to build a better life and relationship mend the broken hearts.

  • arthur

    arthur

    March 25th, 2017 at 10:15 AM

    I’m embarrassed to even admit this but once early in my marriage I cheated on my wife. I never planned for it to happen but it did and I owned up to my mistake. I think that going through marriage counseling did save my marriage. I don’t think tat we could’ve made it without doing that together. It helped me have a better grasp on why I wanted to act out like that and helped me realize that I didn’t have to go through it alone.

  • Will

    Will

    March 28th, 2017 at 3:15 PM

    I’m not too good at understanding why going to counseling would be something that we would ever want to avoid. If this is something that is going to create a stronger relationship and give you more of a chance to get to know yourself and develop more as a loving couple then why not go to counseling and give it a try? Going doesn’t mean that there is something wrong, but it gives you the chance to make what you already have even stronger.

  • Martina

    Martina

    March 29th, 2017 at 12:30 AM

    In a relationship counseling, you come to learn the different ways of detecting the conflicts. The right actions that would avoid those conflicts and a numerous way you can make your relationship more enjoying, more satisfactory and more connected.

  • Dell

    Dell

    March 30th, 2017 at 12:55 PM

    So I would like to play a little bit of the devil’s advocate here and just make a suggestion that maybe going into couples counseling or therapy is not a good ting unless you know for sure that there is a problem. Don’t you think that there is the possibility that if there is nothing wrong per se but then you go actively looking for it then it is pretty likely that you will find something that wasn’t there before? In other words, would it just create drama that really isn’t there?
    Again, I’m not sure how I feel about it specifically just wanted to throw that little curve ball out there for feedback.

  • Leviticus

    Leviticus

    April 19th, 2017 at 11:02 AM

    My brother and his wife frequently get into fights over things like social media. Like you mentioned, social media has pros and cons. I think I’ll find a way to suggest that they seek counseling to be more trusting and happy.

  • Sam

    Sam

    September 6th, 2017 at 4:02 PM

    I like how you talked about digital forums having an effect on relationships. My cousin is having issues with her husband because he hardly talks to her face to face. They should try doing a couples challenge and unplug for a weekend or something to see if this can help with some of their problems.

  • denise

    denise

    September 13th, 2017 at 2:06 PM

    I would like to talk about premarital counseling, I agree there are issues that couples do face before making a lifelong commitment like marriage. So they may need to be addressed before hand. I also think it is just a safety precaution just to take a look into when the couple thinks the time I right, even if things are just “perfect”. Marriage changes people in ways we might not know. Digital age issues are more of a problem now that our generation is completely surround by social media, and it can interfere with relationships, I have seen couples fight over “likes” “posting” and “comments” that could mean one thing but can be damaging to a relationship status. I think that couples should take some time away from social media if it is a troubling issue in a relationship.

  • denise

    denise

    September 13th, 2017 at 2:13 PM

    I would like to talk briefly about premarital counseling. I think it can be a great positive before a couple makes the discussion of a lifelong commitment like marriage. Couples do tend to drag on ongoing issue that are never resolved in a relationship and exculate in a marriage. So premarital counseling can resolve those issues before hand. I think it can also be some reinsurance if the couple is actually ready for this commitment as well, making sure that the couple is mentally and financially ready.

  • Scott A

    Scott A

    December 26th, 2017 at 3:25 PM

    It’s interesting that you talked about how premarital counseling can help you plan for how the marriage will work. I am going to get married soon and I wasn’t sure if I should try counseling first. I can see how it would be helpful because we could come to conclusions in a safe and comfortable environment. mymarriagefirst.com

  • Sophia

    Sophia

    May 3rd, 2018 at 12:38 AM

    MashAllah such an excellently written article! I loved how you talked about good reasons to safe relationships.
    I think everyone need a counseling as they are human being that need to be hear what their problems.Thank you.

  • Ava M.

    Ava M.

    May 7th, 2018 at 7:01 PM

    It did catch my attention when you said that relationship counseling can provide you and your partner the space that you need to begin your journey towards the resolution of the problem that’s caused by infidelity and unfaithfulness. Recently, my husband confessed to me his infidelity. He wanted us to start a better relationship, but I don’t know how we can move on from this situation. I will make sure to seek the help of a marriage counselor to help us.

  • Max G.

    Max G.

    May 17th, 2018 at 11:20 PM

    The most painful experience is breaking up a relationship that taught you how to dream about a beautiful life. However, there are many reasons behind a relationship that can end at any point of time. It is always recommended to give a last try to save your relationship. One of the best ways, among them is conducting a marriage counselling session from a well-known therapist in town. This article is really an informative one. Thanks for sharing.

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