As the holidays draw nearer it can seem as though there are never enough hours in the day to get everything we want done. From decorating to gift shopping and planning get-togethers, we may find ourselves so wrapped up in seemingly endless preparations, that we consequently neglect other important things. Namely, ourselves and our partners. In fact, many relationships tend to suffer during the holiday season. After all, holiday stress impacts those closest to us as much as we are impacted. Because of this, tension within the relationship can be at an all time high, leading to an increased likelihood of arguments and fights. When both partners are stressed, it can be difficult to mediate the conflicts within the relationship from the inside. Sometimes, a having the help of an experienced couples therapist can be exactly what a relationship needs to thrive.
Guiding Relationships Through Difficult Times
As a result, it may be a good idea to enlist the help of a couples therapist to help us through this challenging time of year, as well as through any other contentious periods we may face with our partners. As two separate individuals, we will not always see eye to eye, however, learning to communicate through these differences and disagreements can make the difference between a healthy functioning relationship and an unhealthy one. The role of the couple’s therapist, then, is to help facilitate and guide this communication to insure any problems are being properly addressed in a healthy and constructive manner. Still wondering why couple’s therapy is the best choice for maintaining a good relationship throughout the year?
Four Ways a Couples Therapist Can be Helpful
1. High Success Rate
Part of what makes couple’s therapy such a good choice for couples in need of communication guidance or conflict mediation is that it actually works. In fact, studies have shown that couple’s therapy is successful in around 70% of cases, where the couples report that attending regular sessions has actually helped their relationship. This effectiveness rate is similar to other forms of therapy. However, when looking to attend couple’s therapy, it must be understood that it is a specialty and therefore not something that any individual therapist can practice effectively unless they are properly qualified.
2. Don’t Wait
It can be easy to put ourselves and our relationships last on the list of priorities, particularly at this time of year. However, waiting is often the worst option. The longer we wait to mend our relationships the more likely they are to deteriorate, and rapidly! Even if things seem alright right now, a slight increase in conflict or a subtle yet noticeable rise in tension can be warning signs of what’s to come. As such we must learn to be proactive about taking care of our relationship and bridging any gaps in communication, which couple’s therapy happens to be excellent for.
3. Don’t Treat, Prevent
The best treatment for any problems within a relationship is prevention. As previously mentioned, waiting to address problems that arise does more harm than good. Conflict won’t just go away if we ignore it. While we might feel as though we’re avoiding small arguments in the short-term, we’re actually allowing problems to build up in the background. Inevitably, all of the disagreements and miscommunications we were avoiding will come to a head. To avoid this and to better prepare ourselves to mediate conflict we should enlist the help of a professional. Couple’s therapy is an effective means of improving trust, openness, and mutual commitment.
4. Not Everything Will be Perfect (and That’s Okay!)
There may have been a time when we dreamed of having the perfect fairy tale romance. But real life is far from fairy tales in many ways. There is no such thing as a “perfect” relationship. In fact, striving for perfection can put an unnecessary strain on ourselves and our partners. When we look for a perfect romance, we may become more focused on fulfilling a role of perfect partner than being ourselves and feeling comfortable with our partners in our own skin. Because of this, we should instead focus on being fulfilled and happy. Sometimes, we are likely to disagree on things.
Couples Therapy Can Improve Most Relationships
Couples therapy doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationship is a bad one, so long as those differing beliefs and opinions are discussed openly and respectfully and some sort of decision is made. Either we can make a determination on what path we’d like to follow, or we decide to respect our differences and move on. “To each their own” as the saying goes. Either way, there is nothing wrong with needing or asking for help. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness, and asking for help is not an indication that the relationship is doomed or that we’ve failed somehow. Usually, quite the opposite.