Darling, we need to talk...
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After the Honeymoon period is over, it is time to adjust to real married life, and although everyone enters a marriage believing love is all you need, living happily ever after takes hard work and sometimes, even the help of a third person; a therapist.
Couple’s therapy used to be a taboo, seen as a sign of weakness and inability to cope with one’s problems. But this is changing; professional help has already saved many marriages by helping the couple to understand their behaviour and resolve their issues of communication.
When little - and not that little- frictions and patterns begin to take a toll on the happy couple, and when communication seems to be too difficult or too painful, an impartial counsellor or therapist can help you find your way (back) to a healthy and happy relationship.
We researched the pros and cons of couples therapy, and here is what we found out:
Cons of couples therapy
It can open a Pandora Box
Many couples have no idea of the partner’s views. Things that may have seemed unimportant at the beginning of the relationship, can become a massive problem in the long run, as, who takes the trash out, who keeps the TV control or where to spend Christmases, how often should they see the in-laws, what kind of school should the children go to, and so on. Expressing one’s opinions and feelings may be scary, and having to listen to the other person’s opinions and feelings can be even scarier. Be ready to hear what you don’t want to, but remember that real love is able to forgive and forget!
It can hurt
In real life, people don’t usually say everything they think, common-sense censorship sorts what can be said and what shouldn’t. But in a therapy session, this internal censorship is turned off, so you might hear or say some hurtful things. Also, people who tend to bottle up their feelings may suddenly explode more fiercely than they should. How about talking more with your significant one, before needing a therapist?
It can be frustrating
On the other hand, if your spouse is the kind that likes a tad too much to talk about his or her feelings, your couples therapy risks being highjacked and becoming a whining monologue of someone who loves to complain but isn’t really willing to find a solution. If this is your case, you will need a firm therapist to conduct the meeting; otherwise, you will get either very annoyed or simply bored to death.
Pros of couples therapy
It can open a Pandora Box
As we told you before, be ready to expose your deepest thoughts and to hear your spouse’s. Really knowing each other’s expectations and feelings helps you find a mutual balance so that you can meet halfway to resolve your problems.
It can develop empathy
One of the main goals of couples therapy is to help you understand your partner’s views and yours, and know what they are based on; family background and education, culture, life experiences. Understanding each other’s emotions is key to a happy relationship since empathy changes the way we communicate with each other.
It can develop trust
Talking about each other’s deepest feelings and needs increases transparency in the couple's life, hence trust, which is crucial to any healthy and happy relationship.
Having said all that, here's an interesting fact: the average rate of divorce among therapists is similar to other professions, which shows that they don’t have a magic recipe for eternal marital bliss. This means if you decide to go to therapy, don’t rely solely on your therapist to save your relationship. And make sure you shop around to choose a professional who has a lot of experience in working with couples.
Last but not least, don’t wait too long or you can arrive at your couples therapy with a D.O.A. (dead on arrival) relationship. Therapists, priests, a good conversation between you two, do everything you can to make your marriage the biggest adventure of your life, it's absolutely worth it.