People often ask, “can couples counseling really save a relationship?” My first response is a kind smile. And then I answer their question with a few questions of my own. If you’re reading this post, you want to know the same answer. This question is a tough one to answer though. There are usually other factors that impact a couple’s ability, and willingness to make their relationship work. I will not make you read this entire post to get the answer.
Couples Counseling can help YOU improve your relationship if YOU and YOUR spouse/significant other:
put in the consistent effort required to rebuild your relationship
eliminate ending the relationship as an option
commit to pushing through the tough times
have a community of couples (1-2) with whom you can be transparent
Can you get away with only two of the four? No, you cannot. All four are required for you and your spouse/significant other to take steps to improve your relationship. Why? Anyone of the requirements can be met by themselves. However, to keep improving your relationship when things get tough, or when you’re tired of putting forth the effort it takes all four.
Consistency is key! If you want to get in shape, you cannot workout once a month. You have to consistently exercise and one day you’ll begin to notice changes and others will also. Similarly, you have to be consistent with your efforts in your relationship, and practice, practice, practice. With consistency, you’ll be able to evaluate your progress and determine if you need to revamp your efforts or redirect your focus. Without consistency, you’ll risk learning these lessons too late, while anger and resentment may have permanently damaged your union.
Eliminate Ending the Relationship (or Divorce)
It is said that couples go to therapy 6 years too late. If that is true, by the time you go to therapy, you will have considered divorce, explored the process of divorce, printed out the online paperwork, or simply threw the word out in multiple arguments. Before you decide to attend Couples Counseling, decide if you’re going to commit to your significant other and the process it takes to make counseling work. Couples Counseling isn’t cheap and can take some time depending on the issues in your relationship. If you’ve decided to divorce, get Couples Counseling so you can learn to co-parent. Your children will thank you. Now, there are some relationships that should end. Whether or not you fit this category is for you and your spouse/significant other to decide.
Going back to the gym analogy, getting stronger takes lifting heavier weights. I’m sure there are times when The Rock wants to quit but he doesn’t. He pushes himself to achieve his goal and he seems to be glad about it. If you’ve hurt each other with your words and actions, it is going to be difficult to begin to see each other differently. It simply takes time. Before you go to therapy, decide if you want to be in the relationship and commit to push through. If you’re not committed, go do something enjoyable with your time.
When you don’t want to work on your relationship, you’ll want to have people in your corner to encourage you and to push you. Without these people, you’ll be tempted to fall back into old habits and give up more quickly. They will think the best of your significant other when you cannot.
Remember, the solution isn’t Couples Counseling alone. It is Couples Counseling and…