With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, couples counseling may be the last thing on your mind. Regardless of your feelings towards this divisive holiday, there’s no denying that it celebrates all the rose-colored aspects of relationships. While romantic connections can be a source of joy, fulfillment and intimacy, they inevitably present many challenges and conflicts.
When two people decide to build a relationship together, they’re each coming in with unique perspectives, values and core beliefs. You may have been brought up in an environment that is the total opposite of your partner’s upbringing. Bridging these gaps can be challenging and these differences are likely to lead to conflicts over time. It’s important to know that conflict is an inevitable aspect of any relationship and is not necessarily an indication of incompatibility. When managed in a healthy way, conflict can actually be beneficial for your relationship because it provides opportunity for growth. With the skills gained from couples counseling, you’ll be better able to manage these issues as a team.
It’s a common misconception that you should only go to couples therapy when your relationship is in trouble. On the contrary, couples who approach counseling proactively (rather than reactively) tend to have healthier relationships and a stronger bond. By attending therapy before the problems arise, you’ll be better able to deal with issues when they inevitably come to the surface. While couples counseling can’t prevent conflicts, it definitely enables you to develop your skills of conflict resolution, empathy and compassion. For this reason, premarital counseling is strongly recommended for recently engaged couples.
Besides an improvement in conflict resolution, couples counseling can be beneficial for your relationship in many ways. Here are a few unexpected benefits to consider.
Couples counseling can improve your finances
While infidelity may be the most common cause for divorce, financial issues are definitely a close second. Money is always a sensitive topic and can certainly add a lot of stress to a relationship. Quite often, people’s beliefs and attitudes towards money are very different to that of their partner’s. One person may be a big spender while the other is more miserly. Maybe you have differing attitudes towards things like joint accounts, acquiring debt, and investing.
Then there is the issue of financial infidelity, which is when people lie to their partner about their finances. Examples include hiding purchases or debts, keeping secret accounts or making withdrawals without your partner’s knowledge or consent.
Couples counseling is a great way to improve your communication around finances and come to a middle ground where both parties can thrive. Couples who attend counseling are less likely to fight about money and more likely to achieve financial goals as a team.
Couples Counseling for Better Sex
There’s no denying that a satisfying sex life is an important factor for many people in romantic relationships. It’s healthy and natural to desire fulfilling sex with your partner. Just like finances, sex can be a tricky topic for many couples for a variety of reasons. You may have different preferences, needs, kinks or fetishes from your partner or may be reluctant to communicate your sexual needs. It can be difficult to let your partner know that something isn’t working for you in the bedroom or that you’d like to try something new. With the demands of work and children, many couples find that they aren’t able to have as much sex as they’d like, which can ultimately cause you to feel distanced from your partner.
A couples therapist can provide a safe environment for you to communicate these issues with your partner with the ultimate aim of improving intimacy and satisfaction.
For partners who are coparenting, couples therapy can be an incredibly rewarding experience. As with money and sex, couples may also have major differences when it comes to parenting. We’re all influenced by our own childhood upbringing, core beliefs and value systems and these will all be reflected in the way we approach parenting. Parenting styles play a significant role in raising healthy, happy children and it’s important for couples to get on the same page. This is important for both first-time parents and parents who will be forming blended families.
By attending couples therapy together, you have the opportunity to discuss disagreements and differences of opinion as it relates to the children. By coming to a compromise, you’ll be better able to work as coparenting team. As a result, parenting is a more fulfilling experience and your children are able to reap the benefits well into their own adulthood.
Exploring Alternative Relationship Dynamics
In 2022, we know that there are many ways to exist in a relationship. Partnership is not one-size-fits-all and we all have the ability to find the relationship dynamic that best suits us. For those who wish to explore alternative relationship dynamics such as polyamory, open relationships or other forms of non-monogamy, couples therapy provides a safe and healthy space for discussion.
At Flourish Psychology we know that each couple is unique and has a different story. We explore your relationship with you to enhance understanding of each other and to improve communication. We help you gain perspective to increase your awareness and understanding of your partner.
Being in a relationship doesn’t have to be hard all of the time. If you are worried about the strength of your relationship or the future of the partnership we can help support you to explore your concerns.
At Flourish, we affirm all couples – gay, straight, poly, trans, open, gender expansive, single, married, dating, friends, blended, and parents in relationships. Contact us today to schedule your first session.