So, connection is still a problem in your relationship? You tried using I-Statements that I told you about in the first post. You read the second post and tried to get a true grasp on self awareness. You used the third post as a guide for modeling connection with your partner. But still, the connection in your relationship… sucks.
Time to call the couples counselor. Before you get all “but we aren’t THAT bad” or “is marriage counseling worth it” on me, just take a second and consider this: by going to a couples counseling you might actually get what you want.
Couples counseling gets a bad rep, man. People think it’s only for the worst of the worst relationships and if you’re going to couples counseling it’s gotta mean something is really effed-up. And while, yes, some couples use counseling as a last resort when things are really really bad, that doesn’t have to be why you go.
Instead, you could go to couples counseling to increase the connection in your relationship. So without further ado, here are four ways couples counseling can address that connection issue you can’t get away from:
- Couples counseling can provide you with a safe space to explore hard issues with your partner. Do you avoid talking about certain issues because you don’t know what will happen if you bring it up? Your connection is suffering. Are you fighting so much about a particular problem that neither of you are even hearing the other talk? Your connection is suffering. Counseling offers you a space where exploring tough stuff is encourage and can actually be productive.
- A couples counselor can help you deliver your message so that it’s actually heard. You probably don’t realize you do this – but most of us share way too many details and side stories when we are trying to get something across. Then, when our partner reacts or responds to the not important part of our message we feel unheard, unimportant, and disconnected. A counselor can help you figure out the parts of your message that mean the most to you – and then help you deliver it so it’s heard. (…and can do the same for your partner.)
- A couples counselor can teach your partner how to listen, because what’s the point in crafting a message if the listener doesn’t have the ears to hear it?Another thing you might not realize – active listening is a skill. It’s freaking hard to listen to someone and then accurately reflect that back to them. Skills need to be taught and practiced, and a counselor can help your partner do that. (…and can then do the same for you.)
- Couples counseling requires active participation from both of you, which means it you won’t be doing all of the heavy lifting yourself. So give yourself a break, stop trying to fix it all on your own, and get your butts to someone that can lighten the load.
How soon is too soon for couples therapy? We say it’s never soon enough. Marriage counseling before wedding? What a better way to start off connected! Couples counseling after kids? Give yourself the time to focus on the relationship. Therapy can save a relationship.
If you want to know more about couples counseling and how it can help your relationship, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.