Few things are scarier than saying, “Honey, let’s go to therapy,” especially if your partner believes everything’s fine. And they might be right—your relationship could be going smoothly, and you’re perfectly happy, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking proactive care of your mental health and your union, treating couples therapy like your annual checkup with your doctor.
Since people thrive best with support from one another and especially from professionals, therapy is for everyone. The only prerequisite you need to reach out for help is a desire to improve; there’s no requirement to have a mental illness or even an urgent problem to start.
In an ideal world, you and your spouse create a united front, but trouble can arise at home faster than anywhere else, spilling out into other areas of your life. Conversely, a happy partnership helps both people flourish. That’s why you don’t need reasons for couples therapy—going can help crush the stigma against seeking help. After all, your relationship plays a tremendous role in your overall happiness and well-being.
You know you want one of those dream relationships that look like it fell right off of the movie screen. Guess what? It’s easy to fall in love, but maintaining one needs TLC. So, even if you and your partner feel happy together and face no pressing life changes at the moment, establishing a relationship with a therapist now makes as much good sense as having a doctor even when you aren’t sick. You have the support system you need already established if problems arise, but that’s not the only benefit. Here’s what else you stand to gain:
Six Benefits of Seeking Therapy With Your Partner Today
1. You’ll get into a positive practice
You probably see your doctor at least once a year, even if you aren’t sick. Why? Because you’re constantly changing. You might have developing physical health issues, and early detection saves a fortune in long-term care while sparing you from unnecessary suffering.
Your mental health is no different. You and your partner constantly experience new pressures that influence your relationship dynamics. They can change how you interact and over time alter how you view one another. Whether they weaken or strengthen your bond is up to you—but having an outsider’s perspective can help.
According to Dr. Cahalane, senior director for integrated clinics, telehealth, and community liaisons for UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital, “You don’t have to have a severe psychiatric disorder to see a therapist… People who feel ‘stuck in life’ or are dissatisfied with their relationships can benefit greatly from a few therapy sessions.”
You don’t have to wait until relationship dissatisfaction morphs into more dangerous partnership-killing emotions like resentment and contempt. For example, perhaps you’re experiencing a major life transition, such as relocating or having children. Having neutral, third-party oversight while you hammer out the details can ensure you both feel heard and validated and that you balance each other’s needs in making decisions.
Establishing a relationship with a therapist now makes as much good sense as having a doctor even when you aren’t sick.
2. You can stop small issues in their tracks and prevent resentment
Two emotions harm relationships more than any others—resentment and contempt. Resentment often builds when couples can’t agree on a solution to a joint problem. Instead, one person may relent to avoid making waves. Unfortunately, ignoring the issue and “going along to get along” leaves anger festering beneath the surface. Over time, multiple resentments can evolve into contempt for your partner as you begin to see them as a hindrance.
For example, a frequent issue that arises between partners is mismatched sex drives. Your bedroom life might become boring, but you avoid discussing it to prevent hurting your partner’s feelings. However, over time, you begin to feel as if you’re missing out on one of life’s essentials. Your eye might start wandering, or repeated rejections could make you lash out at your partner in other ways, like sarcasm or passive-aggressiveness.
Addressing this issue in couples therapy provides a neutral ground for arriving at a compromise you and your partner can both accept. What solution you arrive at may vary, but openly discussing the issue prevents it from creating bigger problems.
3. You can work through negative feelings before they fester
Sometimes, you develop vague negative feelings toward your partner but don’t understand why. For example, money is one of the most frequent causes of marital problems and a factor in countless divorces. Picture this: You and your partner have plenty in the bank, but they grew up never knowing lack. You, conversely, had to scrape and have considerable poverty-related trauma that still haunts you.
You might not consciously realize why you react with rage when your spouse buys a new gaming console despite having plenty of cash in the bank. You might even ask yourself, “Why am I mad? There’s no reason for it.” This theme could arise in many situations, with money only being one of them, and unless you unearth the cause of that lingering negative emotion and address it, it will continue to influence your feelings toward your partner.
4. You’ll get tips for working together to improve your lives
Everybody faces times when they simply don’t know what to do or where to go from here. For example, you receive a job offer for a much higher salary, but it would require you to relocate. While two heads are better than one, you sometimes need an objective third-party opinion to discover the best way forward.
Here’s one of the best “reasons” to go to couples therapy despite a lack of problems. The advice you receive can make your life together better, and it’s much easier to get along when things run smoothly. You’ll receive valuable tools and skills in couples therapy to help you make the decisions many couples face as they navigate life’s challenges together, such as tips for open communication, conflict resolution, and identifying each other’s love languages.
5. You’ll strengthen your bond and deepen your appreciation of each other
Over time, life intervenes between partners. That initial blush of falling in love evolves into daily life, but it can make your bond start to feel more like a roommate situation than a relationship. While this feeling is normal, it’s also crucial to address, as that lingering boredom can lead to temptations that threaten your union.
A good therapist provides exercises to strengthen your bond and deepen your appreciation of one another. For example, you might read passages with particular meaning to one another or start a couple’s gratitude journal of everything you love about one another. While you can do so without a therapist, a neutral third party can guide the subsequent conversation, coaching you in asking follow-up questions that show your partner you’re listening and want to hear more, for example.
6. You’ll confront the stigma around mental health
One of life’s little realities is that change only occurs through action. While saying “the stigma surrounding therapy is wrong” helps, it’s even more effective to demonstrate positive behavior. How do you do that? Find counseling for you and your partner before things get bad.
When other people witness their friends and family treating therapy similarly to a physical health checkup from their doctor, they’ll begin to follow suit. They’ll especially join the bandwagon when they see how happy you and your partner are together. Remember, you never need reasons for couples therapy. Seeking help now can strengthen your bond, make your relationship happier, and include you in part of a positive trend to start treating mental health as equivalent to physical wellness and caretaking it as such.