After the honeymoon period is over, it is time to adjust to real married life. Although everyone enters a marriage believing love is all you need, living happily ever after takes hard work and sometimes, even a third person’s help in couples therapy, but do keep in mind that there are pros and cons.
Couples therapy used to be taboo. Some people see it as a sign of weakness and inability to cope with one’s problems even today. But this is changing; professional help has already saved many marriages by helping the couple understand their behaviour and what makes them happy and resolve their communication issues.
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 since I’ve been-there-done-that, I’ll try to remain as impartial as possible, I promise.
Cons of couples therapy
- It can open a Pandora Box
Many couples have no idea what goes on in their partner’s minds. Little traits that were endearing when you first met can have you now entertain thoughts of choking your darling! And what may have seemed unimportant at the beginning of the relationship can become massive problems in the long run. For example, you want your husband to help more at home, or who takes the trash out, who controls the TV. Additionally, questions like where to spend Christmases, how often you should see the in-laws and what kind of school should the children go to can easily escalate to arguments. Although expressing one’s opinions and feelings may be scary, having to listen to the other person’s opinions and feelings can be even scarier. So, here’s the first of the cons in couples therapy: be prepared to hear what you don’t want to. But remember that real love can forgive and, sometimes, even 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 one of the worse cons of couples therapy is that during the sessions, this internal censorship is turned off. In other words, you might hear or say some truly hurtful things. Also, people who tend to bottle up their feelings may suddenly explode more fiercely than they should. So I truly recommend talking more with your significant one to avoid needing a therapist.
- It can be frustrating
On the other hand, if your spouse is the kind that enjoys way 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. Believe me; this can be extremely frustrating when not infuriating. If this is your case, you will need a firm therapist to conduct the meeting. Otherwise, you’ll end up either very annoyed or simply bored to death.
Pros of couples therapy
- It can open a Pandora Box, but…
Although couples therapy may open a Pandora Box, it helps you expose your feelings and hear your spouse’s. Really knowing each other’s expectations helps you find a mutual balance so that you can meet halfway to, hopefully, resolve your problems. Of course, this will only happen if your dear one stops navel-gazing.
- 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 where they are coming from; 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 any other profession, which shows they don’t have a magic recipe for eternal marital bliss. In other words, 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. Talking to a therapist, counselling with a priest, a good conversation between you two, do everything you can to make your marriage the biggest adventure of your life; they say it’s absolutely worth it.
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