Preventative Couple’s Therapy
Thinking about couple’s therapy can be a very nerve wrecking experience and can cause great anxiety for some individuals. Often times when we hear our loved ones or friends are attending couple’s therapy we automatically assume that there is something wrong with their marriage or relationship, and that they must not be happy. Individuals and couples are often faced with questions about what happened to their marriage or relationship and why they are attending couple’s therapy. This can lead to couples being hesitant to attend therapy until it becomes absolutely necessary or a “last resort.” As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I often times hear “this is our last resort” when couples are coming into therapy. While therapy is effective for couples, no matter what stage of marriage they are in, many people fail to understand that couple’s therapy works its best when it is preventative.
According to statistics from the American Psychological Association, 40- 50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce. This number can be shocking and scary and cause anxiety when thinking about your own marital satisfaction. There are many factors that impact marital satisfaction such as child rearing, finances, family stressors, infidelity, lack of communication, and many more. All the issues listed above, are things that I discuss often with my clients in session.
So, is couples therapy really just for those whose marriages or relationships are in trouble? No, not at all! Research done on premarital and preventative couples therapy have found that engaging in this type of treatment has a positive impact on marital satisfaction, and can greatly add to the quality of even the healthiest and most positive relationships. In premarital or preventative couples therapy, a therapist can help you to address “minor” issues in communication that can spiral into larger issues if unaddressed. It can also help couples to discuss and negotiate issues that may arise later in their marriage such as the handling of finances, whether or not to have children, child rearing philosophies, handing extended family pressures or stress, or even how the house work will be divided.
If you or your partner are considering attending couples therapy, please know that there does not have to be an “issue” or “problem” in your marriage or relationship to start treatment. Overall couples are happier and marriages are more successful when couples are able to talk through important topics in a safe and neutral environment.
Ellen Spiese, LMFT