Relationships can bring up all kinds of unexpected obstacles, and therapy can be a helpful tool to navigate them. But what if there's no significant conflict at play? I get asked this very question pretty frequently as a therapist who works with many young couples who are just starting their journey together. My answer to them is that you don't have to go to couples therapy just because you're in an argument. You can go to couples therapy to make your relationship with partner better—which is actually a pretty sufficient and healthy enough reason to begin in the first place.
It doesn't matter if you've been together for one week or five years, you learn new aspects of your partner's personality all the time. It's not like you enter a relationship and have your partner fill out a personality questionnaire (or do you?) so you know as much as possible about them right off the bat. No, you figure it out along the way.
There are ways to understand your partner better that don't entail a personality quiz (although sitting down together to learn your Myers Briggs or Enneagram types could be a fun date, but I'm a dork so what do I know?). Couples therapy is one way to do that. I can hear you now: "We never fight. Why would we go to therapy together?" Well, couples therapy isn't just for couples who are on the brink of breaking up. It can actually be a beneficial tool to know your partner better in many aspects of your relationship. Couples therapy can help you learn about those little quirks a little bit faster, and in a setting that allows you both the space to air your thoughts in a safe manner.
By attending therapy when you're not in a fight or experiencing a crisis you can improve the quality of your relationship and deepen your empathy and understanding, and to communicate in a clearer and healthier way.
When you come to therapy before your ship starts to sink, we can more quickly work to gain heightened sensitivity to each person's feelings and needs, boundaries and vulnerabilities. Couples therapy increases knowledge and understanding of yourself and your partner, which helps both of you be kinder to themselves and each other. And that helps each person know and express their needs, communicate more skillfully, and be more attuned to the feelings and needs of their partner.
And guess what? All of these practices are useful for any couple at any stage in their relationship.
You and your partner don't need to be at each other's throats to reap the benefits of couples therapy. And in fact, getting comfortable with communicating honestly now might save you from an emergency session with a couples' therapist down the road.
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