No relationship is perfect. Just like we take our car in for service, we should do the same for our relationship. Often couples wait until issues become desperate to seek help, but couples counselling is a proactive support that can help address issues before they become irreparable.
Problems in relationships can sometimes be present in the very beginning or may surface after being together for a long time. It’s essential to seek support from a counsellor to help resolve the issues before it hits a breaking point. Here are a few ways couples counselling can help:
Deepen Intimacy and connection
Often we get lazy in relationships and need to re-connect to our partner both physically and emotionally. We may not even realize intimacy is lacking, where to start or even how to express our feelings of disconnect, and couples counselling can give you the platform to express your needs related to physical intimacy or emotional connection.
Communication is Faltering
I often say that communication is the foundation of all good relationships, but even seasoned relationships sometime struggle with effective communication and managing conflict. According to Dr. John Gottman, a relationship therapist and guru, the 4 horsemen or predictors of divorce include criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. Couples counselling can help you learn effective communication strategies to manage the 4 horsemen and drastically improve your relationship.
Decrease Emotional Avoidance
As mentioned Dr. John Gottman identifies stonewalling as one of his predictors of divorce. According to Gottman, “stonewalling is when the listener withdraws from the interaction, shutting down and closing themselves off from the speaker because they are feeling overwhelmed or physiologically flooded. Metaphorically speaking, they build a wall between them and their partner.” Stonewalling becomes an issues because we become avoidant to conflict and feelings which increases risk of becoming emotionally distant and growing apart. Counselling can help address stonewalling behaviours and better manage conflict together.
Prior to marriage
Often couples find pre-marital counselling helpful to ensure they’re on the same page regarding values, beliefs, future goals, communication styles, must-haves, etc. I’ve seen relationships breakdown because the couple’s values weren’t aligned or they realized they both wanted different things from the relationship. Pre-marital counselling or just couples counselling can proactively align couples to ensure future success.