7 Ways Couples Counseling Can Help

Adult couple sit at window table in cafe, facing each other and talkingRelationships can be a lot of fun, but they may also be challenging and require work at times. When we meet someone and fall in love, we tend to see only their endearing qualities. After the honeymoon phase is over, some of the things that may have drawn us to them may begin to irritate us instead. We may find ourselves venturing outside our relationship to get certain needs met.

Maintaining and growing a relationship is not easy. We need to continually invest time and energy to keep it going strong. Finding new ways to nurture the relationship or get it back on track can be difficult on our own. We can get stuck in unhelpful patterns or simply not know the best way forward.

Here are some ways couples counseling can help:

  1. Understanding your partner better. We all have different styles of interacting with others, and yours may differ from your partner’s. If you are operating on different wavelengths, getting your needs met in the relationship may be challenging. A counselor can work with you to recognize and overcome natural differences. Learning about how your partner engages with the world (and why they engage the way they do) can help you develop empathy for them. Empathy is key to relationship success.
  2. Improving your communication skills. One of the common misconceptions in relationships is when one partner believes the other should automatically know what they want or need from them. Learning to communicate openly and clearly in therapy about your emotional needs can help to enhance your connection.
  3. Discovering ways to have constructive (rather than destructive) arguments. There can be lasting damage when relationship conflict gets out of hand. If anger is not kept under control, it can lead to contempt, resentment, blaming, yelling, name-calling, even domestic violence in extreme cases. In counseling, you can become aware of more productive ways to listen to one another and be heard. Learning anger management skills, effective time-out techniques, and how to use I-statements to express feelings can lead to an increase in respect and satisfaction.
    In counseling, you can become aware of more productive ways to listen to one another and be heard.
  4. Addressing underlying issues that may be negatively impacting the relationship. If one person in the relationship has issues that are affecting their well-being, chances are their partner is experiencing tension and/or stress. Talking through these issues in couples counseling can be helpful. In some instances, the counselor may recommend individual therapy for one or both partners (with a different therapist).
  5. Finding new ways to connect and build intimacy. At times, relationships may become entrenched in routines and responsibilities. Couples with children may start to view one another only in their roles as parents, rather than as romantic partners. Others may begin to take things for granted and stop nurturing their relationship. A therapist can offer strategies for reconnecting on an emotional level and rekindling passion and intimacy.
  6. Rebuilding trust in the relationship. If there has been infidelity or betrayal but the couple is willing to work on the relationship, a counselor can help them to explore any underlying issues that may have led to the problem. Partners can safely express their fears and concerns, and they can work together with the nonjudgmental therapist to rebuild trust.
  7. Determining whether to stay in the relationship. Some challenges may simply be too daunting. Only you and your partner can decide that. If both partners are willing to work at it, a therapist will hold space for the promise of your relationship. If, however, one or both partners are determined to end the relationship, a counselor can help find an amicable way to handle the breakup or separation/divorce.

All relationships go through difficult times and can benefit from couples counseling. We all want to feel loved, appreciated, and understood by our partners. We all want to make a good thing better. If your relationship feels off course or could simply use some fine-tuning, give couples counseling a try.

© Copyright 2018 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Wendy Salazar, MFT, therapist in San Diego, California

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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  • tammy

    tammy

    May 31st, 2018 at 9:30 AM

    marriage counseling saved our marriage

  • F Na

    F Na

    May 31st, 2018 at 11:20 AM

    There was no saving my marriage, but I’m still glad we went to counseling at the end. I wouldn’t say we’re friends still, but my ex-wife and I ended it much more amicably than we otherwise would have, and I can only imagine the $$$$$ that saved me.

  • Lyla

    Lyla

    September 25th, 2019 at 7:41 AM

    I like that therapy can help you have more constructive arguments. My husband and I have been having some difficulties lately. Couples counseling sounds like it could be beneficial for us.

  • Taylor

    Taylor

    November 8th, 2019 at 8:31 AM

    I found it interesting how therapists can help couples rekindle passion and intimacy in their marriage. My sister has had recent marital problems and is wondering when would be a good time for them to go to marriage counseling. Since I care deeply for them, I’ll share this article with her so she can get a better grasp of how a therapist can help her and her husband.

  • David

    David

    December 12th, 2019 at 8:58 AM

    I found it interesting how you mentioned that couples can find hidden problems that cause stress on one of the partners with the help of a therapist. My parents have been fighting a lot more recently and honestly, I fear that they may get a divorce. I want to help them work out their differences but I don’t know-how. I’ll talk to them about seeing a couples therapist who can help the most professionally and find their underlying issues.

  • Your psychic Angel

    Your psychic Angel

    February 5th, 2020 at 9:57 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 at any point of time.It is always recommended to give a last try to save your relationship. Thanks for sharing the article. This is informative for us. Please keep it up.

  • SCC

    SCC

    February 13th, 2020 at 9:57 PM

    Marriage is a beautiful bond of relationship, so it should never end up like divorce. Some married couples think that their marriage is dead and there is no chance of recovery because they don’t know about Couples counseling. Thanks for sharing this post. This is useful for us. Please keep it up.

  • Zoe

    Zoe

    February 21st, 2020 at 7:41 AM

    The first few years of marriage had been tough for us. We just found out that my husband will never be fertile enough to let us conceive, and he had been depressed about it. I have noticed that he gets more and more distant every day, so I think it’s better if we undergo marriage counseling since I don’t know how to approach him. It’s good to know that we can learn how to communicate more openly and clearly during therapy and we can discuss how to enhance our emotional connection, too. I hope there are online sessions available for this kind of counseling that can work for our convenience as well.

  • CCS

    CCS

    March 9th, 2020 at 11:06 PM

    Effective couples counselling will help keep your relationship together. In fact, the right kind of couples counselling will greatly improve your marital connection.

  • CCS

    CCS

    April 2nd, 2020 at 3:21 AM

    Couples are often separated because they don’t seek help from counselors. Couples Counseling to help couples renew their relationship and avoid separation.

  • Innovative Counselling

    Innovative Counselling

    May 5th, 2020 at 2:02 AM

    The best gift you can give to a newly engaged couple-send them to marriage counselling. Some Churches make this mandatory. All of the above mentioned can help to learn what your partner is expecting, your expectations, how to handle important issues, if you are compatible or if the marriage is not ideal.

  • CCS

    CCS

    May 7th, 2020 at 1:59 AM

    With the passage of time, conflicts, lack of understandings and other issues may have to face many couples. It totally up to them how do they deal with them. If there’s a serious issue in your relationship that can break your relationship then heal it naturally with couples counseling.

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