5 Reasons To Consider Couple’s Counseling
Have you ever seen a rosebush in full bloom? Ah, the allure, the romance, the captivating dance of petals in the breeze. But think for a moment; what would it look like without regular watering, without the tender touch of the gardener’s hand, without the nourishing embrace of sunlight? The same is true of your relationship and the world of relationship counseling. “But wait,” you say, a flicker of confusion lighting up your eyes, “our relationship isn’t in turmoil. Why consider counseling?” I’m so glad you asked! Here are five reasons you should explore couple’s counseling before you’re having problems:
1. Strengthening Communication:
Despite engaging in it nearly every moment of every day, communication is hard! Since we can’t directly beam our exact thoughts from our minds into the minds of our partner (yet…I’m looking at you, science), we’re limited to good old-fashioned talking. And sometimes things get…well…muddied as they travel the metaphorical space between our thoughts and our mouths. This then is compounded by the fact that the only way for our partner to make sense of what we’ve said is by hearing it filtered through their own miasma of thoughts, feelings, and previous experiences. Actually, now that I say it, I’m shocked we manage to get any communication done at all.
If you imagine yourself as standing on a riverbank, your partner on the other side, separated by a gentle (or occasionally not so gentle) river flowing between you, communication is the vital bridge binding you together. It allows you to travel momentarily across the river to explain what life is like on your bank, and equally, understand what life is like for your partner on their side. Relationship counseling acts as an architect, helping build a stronger bridge between you, ensuring it stands sturdy against the gusts of misunderstanding and the weights of unspoken words. And let’s be clear, it’s always better to have a bridge built before the floodwaters start to rise.
2. Nourishing Emotional Intimacy:
In the words of John Gottman, one of the titans of relationship science and founder of the Gottman Institute: “Connecting is not magic. Like any other skill, it can be learned, practiced, and mastered.”
Emotional intimacy is the bond by which all great relationships are built and, simply put, it takes effort. As your relationship grows and time passes, the initial flood of chemicals that made emotional intimacy a massive bonfire impossible to ignore will fade and mellow and be replaced with the daily vagaries of life lived side by side with another person. Without tending, even the most massive fire will eventually fade into embers (or ashes), and the wisest couples know that by learning early on what sort of fuel to add to the fire, they’re best prepared to outlast whatever winds, rains or time away from the fire might come. And who doesn’t like more insights into keeping things hot?
3. Understanding Patterns:
All relationships are unique, in that they’re made up of two or more people with their own unique histories, thoughts, feelings, wants and desires. But we’re also all human. And given that, we all tend to fall into patterns that can be diamonds of information ready to be plucked from the rough in which we spend our days. Think of yourselves as dancers, gracefully trying to move in sync, while making up the dance as you go along. Oh, and throw on stage the chaos of kids, parents, siblings, friends, and careers…you see why you’re likely to step on each other’s toes from time to time. Relationship counseling, before the toe pain, helps you understand the unique steps, rhythms, and patterns of your preferred dance. And despite how well you’ve been waltzing, you might find that you both secretly harbor a desire to merengue every now and again. Counseling can give you the insights you need to ensure your dance is filled with love and partnership that lasts the whole night long.
4. Personal Growth and Self-Awareness:
One of the greatest joys of love is being able to explore your own inner depths in the presence of a loving other. To explore what makes you, well, you and to watch someone else as they grow and change into someone even greater than you dreamed possible. By engaging in counseling, this implicit experience is made explicit, and the support you can both give to you partner and receive from them, in the therapy room can be enriching to your relationship in ways beyond words. Even in the best relationships, it can be hard to bring to the table the deepest parts of ourselves. But the therapy room is different. It affords a space where the two of you can delve into topics you might never have explored with a compassionate outside supporter there to help you navigate any rocky internal waters. It's like holding a mirror to your soul, reflecting it brilliantly for your partner to see, and basking in the glow of self-discovery and understanding together.
5. Planting Seeds for the Future:
We don’t get much training in how to be in a relationship. We have examples and guides in the older people in our life, but far too often, these examples are awash in their own peculiarities and challenges. And let’s be honest, most of us don’t want to discuss the intricacies of married life with our parents. We have the internet and more self-help relationship books and TikTok accounts than stars in the night sky, but that often only increases our confusion. So how do we know what to do? Generally, we’re left trying to figure things out on our own, while in a relationship with another person who is likely as unsure how to proceed as we are. Add to this, wounds from previous relationships and the little “t” (and big “T”) traumas many of us experience and you’re left with a tightrope to walk across. With a blindfold on. Early relationship counseling can be a net you build for yourself before you even have a chance to fall.
No one enters a relationship wanting it to end. But relationships are hard and, statistically, many more will end than last forever. Challenges are bound to happen throughout your life together, and therapy early on allows you to plant seeds of understanding, communication, and love in the fertile soil of your new relationship feelings. While nothing can guarantee everlasting love, planting these seeds is a powerful way to ensure bountiful harvests of happiness, growth, and togetherness for a lifetime to come.
Embarking on an expedition of relationship counseling allows you to cradle your partnership in the tender embrace of openness, vulnerability, and the yearning to grow, together and individually. Remember the rosebush? Just like it, let your relationship bask in the nourishing sunshine of understanding, the refreshing rain of communication, and the tender touch of mutual growth and respect.
So, whether your relationship flowers are just starting to bud, or you find them starting to wither on the vine, relationship counseling can help you nurture your garden to the health it deserves. Meet our many relationship specialists and find out which therapist in our practice is right for you.
About Richard Aab
Richard Aab, LCMHCA, has a BFA in Theatre from NYU and received his Clinical Mental Health Counselor, M.Ed. (Master’s in Education) from North Carolina State University. He is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate (LCMHC-A) and Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). Richard has a deep commitment to working with individuals overcoming developmental and childhood trauma, and he combines cutting-edge, neuroscientific research with traditional existential and behavioral therapeutic modalities. He is supervised by Elizabeth Grady, LCMHCS, and sees adult clients by telehealth.Meet Me