Many people believe that you should only seek relationship counseling when separation or divorce is looming. But that is often too little, too late. Relationship therapy should begin as soon as the problems get in the way of your daily life. Here are some signs that you might benefit from a consultation:2
- You have trouble expressing your feelings to one another
- You have one or more unsolvable disagreement
- There is withdrawal, criticism, or contempt in your interactions
- A stressful event has shaken your daily life
- You have trouble making decisions together
- You have experienced infidelity, addiction, or abuse
- You want a stronger relationship
Remember that there are no wrong reasons to seek relationship counseling. Some couples start therapy as soon as they are married, even without obvious problems, to build a strong foundation and prevent serious problems from developing. Counselors can help you become better communicators, develop strong relationship skills, and improve your family’s happiness.
Keep in mind that the average couple wait six years before seeking therapy. This is a lot of time to let problems fester; at this point, troubled relationships are difficult to save. Instead, it’s best to acknowledge problems early and seek therapy as soon as possible.
Problems with relationships are not limited to romantic ones, even though that’s the most popular reason people consult for relationship therapy.
Relationship therapy isn’t just for married people cohabiting couples, people in non-monogamous relationships, and LGBTQ people can also benefit.3 It can also be helpful for siblings dealing with family issues, or even business partners.
Premarital counseling is a type of relationship therapy that helps prepare couples to enter into a long-term commitment. This type of counseling focuses on helping couples develop a strong and healthy relationship before marriage and identify any potential problems that might lead to issues down the road.
Some of the relationship issues that might be addressed during premarital counseling include:
- Family relationships
- Parenting choices such as whether or not to have children and parenting style
- Roles and responsibilities
- Sex and affection
- Values and beliefs
This type of relationship counseling can be a good way to establish realistic expectations and develop healthy communication skills that will set a marriage off to a good start.