Your relationship feels like a challenge sometimes. And you’ve thought about getting couples and marriage counseling. But what good would it really do? Does couples counseling really help? Is it worth the time and money to come to counseling sessions and talk to someone when you’ve already tried talking at home?
As an experienced couples counselor, I’ve heard these questions many times before. I know it’s a difficult decision to come to therapy with a spouse or significant other. You want to know it’s really worth it. Here are some of the biggest ways couples therapy or marriage counseling can help your relationship.
Couples & Marriage Counseling Helps You Assess Your Compatibility or “Fit” as a Couple
You’ve been together for awhile. You relationship is far from perfect, but you love your partner. You want to commit to spending the rest of your life with this person. But how do you know it’s right? Maybe one or both of you was married before and it ended in divorce. How do you know that won’t happen this time? Or something just feels “off” and you’re wondering if it’s a sign you shouldn’t be together. Some couples even begin asking this question years into a marriage when it feels like they’ve grown apart.
A skilled couples therapist, I can help you and your partner look closely at your compatibility. In fact, one of the first things most couples therapists do in premarital counseling is an assessment that identifies areas of compatibility in a relationship as well as areas of potential future conflict. However, similar assessments can be given at any point in your relationship. Most importantly, in couples and marriage counseling sessions, a professional couples counselor can help you understand your results and figure out how these results will impact your relationship now or in the future.
What if we decide we aren’t compatible in couples & marriage counseling?
Before I move on, I guess I need to address the elephant in the room. If you’re coming in to see how compatible you and your partner are, you may worry about what will happen if you decide you aren’t meant to be together. If you and your partner decide through the couples counseling process that you no longer want to stay in the relationship, a couples therapist can then help you part in a way that will be the least painful for both of you. While this is rare and in general the therapist is always rooting for the relationship to work, these situations do come up. A breakup or divorce is always stressful, but a couples counselor can help you move through this process as effectively and compassionately as possible.
Affair Recovery: Help You Move Forward After Infidelity
People often wonder if it’s possible to save a relationship or marriage where infidelity has occurred. The short answer is yes, it’s very possible. In fact, The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy states that most relationships do survive infidelity or an affair. Furthermore, affair recovery is some of the most powerful work you can do in relationship counseling.
There is a process you must go through. A painful process, in fact. But a skilled couples counselor knows this process and can help you move through it. There’s a lot of talking in the early stages of affair recovery. A lot of questions and pain. Then, there’s a period of revisiting earlier parts of the relationship and looking for where the problem started. Next, we look for how you can move forward as a couple. You’ll find ways to communicate better, talk about problems rather than avoid them and rediscover one another as you grow your relationship in new ways.
Improve Your Communication as a Couple in Relationship Counseling
Improving communication is often one of the goals couples say they want to accomplish in counseling, and it’s truly one of the most important parts of our work together. Whether you and your romantic partner are just moving into together, are new parents, trying to blend two families, newly empty nesters or at any other point in your relationship, communication is key.
Through couples therapy, you learn specific skills that can help you hear, respect and respond to one another more effectively. First, you’ll practice these skills in the counseling office. Then, you’ll be asked to practice them at home. Over time and with the help of your couples therapist, you and your significant other will learn new ways to interact. New, healthy, respectful ways so that you both feel cared for in the relationship.
Increase Intimacy in Your Relationship
Intimacy refers to vulnerability, openness, and sharing. And yes, it includes sex. Therefore, we may talk about sex in couples counseling sessions. However, you likely want to have an intimate relationship with your spouse or partner that feels both safe and fun. Couples counseling can help you create the space in your relationship for this so you and your partner can have an intimate connection you both feel satisfied with.
In couples counseling, we’ll talk about how you can feel more connected to your partner, both physical and emotional. You may not be used to talking about these issues outside of talking to your spouse or best friend. In fact, before starting couples counseling you may not even feel 100% comfortable talking to your partner about sex. But as a relationship therapist, I can help you communicate about these sensitive issues as a couple.
Most couples report that after couples counseling they have a more positive intimate relationship. They may have sex more often, or may simply find it more fulfilling. Overall, they’re more on the same page and are aware of how they can meet both their own needs and that of their partner.
Bring the Fun Back Into Your Relationship
This is one benefit of couples counseling you may not have thought of. Couples therapy and marriage counseling isn’t just about talking about the heavy stuff. In fact, some couples come to relationship counseling before there are even significant issues in their marriage. They just feel….bored in their relationship. Or like they’ve grown apart. Whether you are coming in with a big issue or trying to prevent major issues down the road, an important part of couples counseling will be to bring joy and excitement back into your relationship.
Relationship counseling can help you and your partner find ways, both small and large, to have fun together again. It’s important that you find common interests or identify new experiences you can share. You’ll begin to find your sense of humor and have more laughter in your relationship. There can be a lightheartedness to your interactions again that maybe hasn’t been there in a long time. Through in session discussions, out of sessions homework assignments and then reflection on those experiences you can fall in love with your partner all over again.
Other Blog Posts on Couples Therapy & Relationship Counseling
As a couples therapist, I am always looking for ways to help people improve their relationships. One way I do this is through blogging to share tips about relationships & marriage. Here are a few blogs I’ve written on these topics:
- 3 Ways to Communicate Better with Your Spouse or Partner
- 3 Tips to Bring Romance Back into Your Relationship
- How to Get the Most Out of Couples Counseling
STARTING COUPLES THERAPY & MARRIAGE COUNSELING IN CINCINNATI, OH IS EASY:
Don’t wait any longer to get the relationship counseling you deserve. As a relationship counselor, Dr. Timothy Barron wants to help you connect with your partner in new ways. You can begin healing, reconnecting and thriving in your relationship through these simple steps:
- Get in touch & to set up your first appointment.
- Meet with Dr. Tim Barron for an intake appointment.
- Begin building better communication with your partner, rediscover your connection and experience new fun and intimacy in your relationship.
Other Services Dr. Timothy Barron Offers
In addition to marriage and couples counseling, Timothy Barron LPCC-S provides a wide range of mental health services at his Cincinnati counseling office. Other services include couples therapy & marriage counseling, premarital counseling, relationship & marriage counseling after retirement, infidelity & affair recovery counseling, counseling for college students, career counseling, anxiety treatment and depression counseling at his Cincinnati, OH based counseling practice. He also provides relationship tips on his mental health blog. Please feel free to reach out if you have questions or if you would like to schedule an appointment. Things can get better, and counseling can be part of that process.