Everything You Need to Know About Couples Counseling
Being in a relationship isn’t easy, even when you’re deeply in love with your partner. Sharing your life with another person requires a lot of balance, compromise and communication that can be a struggle for some people. As relationships naturally change, people grow, too, and sometimes, couples feel like they’re growing apart instead of closer together.
Couples counseling at Foundations Family Counseling is designed to help couples find their own harmony. By focusing on nurturing both the individual and couple, we help people strengthen their bonds, accept their differences and overcome difficulties together.
Why Should You Go to Couples Counseling?
There are many reasons why you and your partner may decide to speak to a therapist. Perhaps you’re in the middle of a big life change or you’re planning to take your relationship to the next level. You may have found yourselves growing distant, arguing more or struggling to communicate and laugh the way you used to.
Some of the most common reasons people go to couples counseling include:
- Problems with intimacy and sex.
- Disagreements about money and personal spending habits.
- Frequent bickering or arguing that goes nowhere.
- Relationship struggles stemming from one or both partners’ mental health.
- Recovery from an affair.
- Marriage struggles that include distance, conflict and communication problems.
Our talented therapists come from diverse backgrounds and bring unique perspectives and experience into their sessions. Every couple who comes to counseling needs space to express their thoughts freely and voice emotions they may have been holding in for a long time. For couples who often struggle to talk without arguing, a counselor can serve as a mediator and create space for deeper understanding and trust. Rather than playing favorites or picking sides, the goal of couples counseling is to help partners become more conscious and receptive to one another’s needs.
In the following guide, we will cover the most important things about couples counseling that you need to know. There are some common misconceptions to address and plenty of useful tidbits that we hope you find helpful.
You Don’t Have to Be Married to Get Counseling
Debating when to go to couples counseling is often one of the biggest questions people face. What they don’t realize is that counseling can benefit couples at any stage of their relationship. We help partners who have been together for a few months, a few years and, of course, decades. Relationships are living things, and it takes hard work to make them last. If you’re considering a big life decision, like moving in together or having a baby, counseling can be a great way to prepare yourselves and build a strong foundation together.
When you’re engaged, counseling can help you lay the groundwork for strong communication and connection during the first few years of marriage.
Counseling Benefits Happy Couples, Too
As a couple, you’re always learning new things about one another, and there are likely ways that you could support, love and inspire each other even more. When you become more aware of your own feelings, it becomes easier to understand the dynamics of your partner’s unique emotional experience. Everyone is on their own journey, and a healthy relationship involves sharing your experiences and building from them to make something special and unique.
To preserve your relationship and deepen your connection, couples counseling can be a valuable tool. Many couples who are happy together see a counselor because they want to take their relationship to a deeper level. Intimacy is something that they may have naturally created, but there could potentially be some areas they still want to improve.
For example, learning how to understand your partner’s love language can take your relationship to new heights. By relating to each other better, you and your partner can communicate more clearly, share a deeper bond and enjoy greater emotional security.
You Can Learn How to Communicate With Your Partner Better
Communication is key to any healthy relationship, and counseling is all about learning how to share and listen better. Our emotions, thoughts and even subconscious feelings constantly affect how we see each other and express ourselves. During conflict, arguments can quickly get out of hand or result in a sense of betrayal or rejection. And what we all crave is connection and affirmation. Communication for healthy relationships spans beyond just knowing what to say but also how and when to express yourself.
Rather than treating conversation like a competition, couples can learn how to freely share their thoughts, desires, fears and emotions in an open space rooted in mutual love and respect.
Discover How to Keep a Marriage Healthy
Marriage can be an extreme challenge at times, especially if you have personal struggles that you need to work on. But a strong couple can learn to support each other and overcome obstacles together with the right tools. In couples counseling, we help you both learn to understand and relate to each other better. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for a happy marriage. Instead, we help couple’s tap into their natural chemistry and rhythm to develop a communicative strategy that flows for them..
If you and your partner are having trouble connecting, we suggest getting therapy as soon as possible. Couples counseling can help you identify warning signs of a troubled marriage and respond to them with care and compassion.
You Can Explore Individual and Shared Problems
An experienced counselor helps both the individuals and couple get what they need through therapy. Sessions are balanced and focus on expressing both sides of a shared experience. But there are times when an individual’s problems or unresolved emotions need to be addressed more in-depth.
If you struggle with a fear of intimacy, trust issues, jealousy or insecurity, couples counseling can help heal these problems before they ruin your relationship. People who come to couples counseling want to be happy, but a lot of them are operating from a position of fear rather than hope. We want to help you and your partner believe in yourselves and each other more; this makes it possible for both personal healing and shared bonding to flourish.
Build Trust as a Couple Through Supportive Modeling
Supporting each other may have come naturally at some point, but along the way, you and your partner now struggle to truly be each other’s best friend. This can happen the longer you’re together. This “best friend” quality is, in part, created by good boundaries. Some people never developed healthy boundaries to begin with, so they struggle to identify and express their needs in their relationship.
Together, we help partners learn each other’s boundaries and explore their wants, likes and dislikes. Being able to say no, asking for alone time and respecting each other’s need for space and privacy are all basic boundaries that every relationship needs to stay healthy.
If you struggle with asking for what you need, then couples counseling is a good place to begin practicing. We can rehearse different conversations, practice listening and responding with empathy and giving support when it is needed most. Modeling is one of the best forms of learning. Couples counselors model ways of communicating and respecting boundaries in ways that feel really good to both people in the relationship. Many couples are awestruck to discover how much love is truly shared between them and their partner. Words and actions (or a lack thereof) simply got in the way of them seeing it before.
Counseling Can Help a Couple Recover from Infidelity
There are no words to capture the pain that comes from finding out your partner cheated. For the partner who was unfaithful, there is often a lot of pain, guilt and disgust as well. While there are cases in which a partner doesn’t feel bad for their unfaithfulness, most do. In marriages, this can be difficult to even express because your partner’s hurt, loss of trust and anger make it impossible to even begin moving forward.
This sensitive topic is hard for anyone to confront, let alone move past. Couples counseling can’t make someone want to stay in a relationship, but it can help a shattered but loving couple heal. There is no guarantee where your relationship will go, but through counseling, you can begin to understand each other, find healing, explore what went wrong, and move forward from a place of empowerment.
Healing from an affair takes time, patience and a lot of love that you may not be willing to give or accept right now. That’s okay. The long process of recovery is one that a good counselor will walk with you.
You Can Handle Stress Easier
Whether it’s struggles with the kids, work or financial problems, couples need their own ways to cope with stress to avoid taking their frustration out on one another. Money problems are one of the biggest causes of stress in marriages. During periods of financial hardship, a loving couple can quickly find themselves trapped in a cycle of bickering and distancing. This creates a gap that grows wider with each unresolved argument. Avoidance doesn’t work, but space, respect and listening does.
Counseling is a place for you to offload your problems and learn how to see them from a different perspective. We realize that not everything has an immediate solution, so sometimes, the best strategy is to practice acceptance and learn how to cope in the healthiest way possible. As a couple, you can rely on each other during hard times. Coming up with practical tips and solutions together in counseling can make managing stress in your everyday lives much easier.
Couples Counseling Can Bring Closure Before and After Divorce
How do you know when a marriage is over? The decision to separate from your partner is the most difficult one of your life, but in some cases, it is best for both people. However, knowing you want to end your marriage or take some time apart doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. There was once a lot of love where there may now be anger and heartbreak; counseling can help both you and your partner restore your respect for one another and gain closure as your relationship comes to an end.
If you’re not sure whether you want to divorce or not, talking to a marriage therapist can help you figure out exactly what’s led you to this point and how you could try to heal your relationship. For couples who share children, divorce is even more difficult because they worry about the impact this will have on their family. Counseling can help you explore ways to protect your children’s emotional well-being and provide them with the greatest love, support and understanding during this difficult time.
It Can Help You Make Better Choices in Your Relationships
Couples counselors also work with single people who are frustrated by dating or heartbroken by a failed relationship. As someone who works with families, a therapist with couples counseling experience also knows how to provide individual counseling services for people who are struggling to find the right partner. You may feel like you don’t know how to meet people or none of your relationships work out. Maybe you’re worried about being too old to get married or afraid that you’ll never meet “the one.”
IF you find yourself constantly winding up with the wrong people, meeting with a therapist who understands relationships can help you build better ones from the start. You’ll learn to identify your values, set better boundaries and become the type of person that you want to attract. The entire process ultimately leads to a more fulfilling personal existence as well, so you no longer feel like your life is just one big waiting game until you find your soulmate. You should enjoy it now!
Marriage Counseling and Couples Counseling in Denver, CO
Foundations Family Counseling has provided marriage, family and individual therapy for the last 40 years. We believe in the power of vulnerability and emphasize it as one of the core tenets of our couples counseling services. If you would like to schedule a virtual appointment with one of our marriage and family therapists, please contact us anytime.