Like many couples during the pandemic, you and your partner may be having more conflict or more conversations that feel big and tense.
You may be considering making changes in your relationship and pre-pandemic issues may be harder to ignore now.
All relationships go through ups and downs and many couples benefit from an intentional effort to strengthen the bond between you.
Couples counseling can feel intimidating at first.
It can be scary to let someone into your most intimate relationship! So, let’s look at what couples counseling can do for a relationship.
- Couples therapy often strengthens communication between you and your partner. This is a key component of most sessions. You and your partner will learn how to communicate more directly and gently. Ideally, you’ll both learn how to state your feelings more clearly and will learn to listen to your partner with less defensiveness.
- It’s an intentional time spent talking to each other. Life is busy, even in a pandemic! Especially if you have children or elders you are caring for, it can be hard to find time to simply talk to your partner. Your therapy session is a set, routine time that is only about the two of you. I’ve had couples where our session is the only intentional time they’ve had together all week!
- It builds on your strengths as a couple. Is your partner really good at giving you words of affirmation? Do you have a deep respect for each other? A good couples therapist will help you two notice and build on these strengths with each session. You’ll learn to use what’s already working in your relationship to navigate the areas where there’s more tension.
- It can help to have a neutral party present. Sometimes there are issues that are scary to bring up. The therapist is there to help provide a safe container and to help each partner process when big things come up in session. This can also help if you have conflicts that go in circles and circles without resolution.
- Couples therapy can increase the positive interactions between you and your partner. Often in sessions, the therapist will encourage you or your partner to make an “offering” of support or connection to each other. These can be simple moments of making eye contact or holding hands. You’ll both learn how to reach out to connect, even during conflict.
- It can help with boundaries. This is especially important in relationships where one or both partners have a history of trauma. However, boundaries are relevant to all partnerships! How do the two of you handle when an in-law comes into town? How do you navigate responsibilities for chores at home? Couples therapy can help you two negotiate these boundaries through communicating your needs and wants and strengthening your understanding of your partner’s.
- Couples therapy is great for navigating cultural differences. When you and your partner have different cultural backgrounds, you may have different assumptions or expectations. There may be more conflict in the extended family or more intentional decisions you two make around holidays and special occasions. Couples sessions can be a good neutral place to process these differences with respect and compassion.
- It’s a good place to talk about your relationship and money. Finances are a big issue in partnerships! It’s rare to find a couple that’s entirely on the same page about money, and this can be a big source of conflict and power struggle. Again, it can help to have someone outside the relationship to provide a neutral space to process this conflict. Understanding each other’s deeper feelings underneath money, like fear or anxiety, can make financial decisions flow more easily as a couple.
- Lastly, it can help prepare you for the next big steps in your relationship. One of you may be wanting to have children or make career changes. How do the two of you make decisions together and how do you navigate the inherent stress in these changes?
Couples therapy is an investment in your partnership that ultimately serves to strengthen your bond and bring you closer together.
You do not have to work through issues alone. There is help available for you and your partner.
Therapists at Evergreen Counseling are trained in advanced couples counseling techniques and have years of experience working with a variety of partnerships. All of our staff couples counselors are LGBTQ+ accepting.
If you’d like to start couples counseling, please feel free to reach out to us to book a complimentary consult call, or set up a Personalized Matching Consultation with our Clinical Intake Coordinator so we can match you and your partner with the best therapist for your situation.
We truly look forward to being of support to you both.