Say the words ‘relationship counseling’ to a couple that’s in the early months of their relationship, and you’re likely to see them shudder.
In reality, it’s better to start going to therapy early, when you and your partner are in the honeymoon phase. It gives you and your partner a stable foundation to build your relationship on and can even ensure a healthier future together.
- It Improves Your Communication
Even if you’re absolutely sure that you understand your partner, you might be understanding them a lot less than you think.
People tend to put their best foot forward in the early days of a relationship and are too fixated on the other person. With guidance from a relationship counselor, they can learn how to communicate openly and honestly.
They can explore their own communication style and familiarize themselves with their partner’s. Good communication is essential for a relationship that lasts.
- It Strengthens Your Boundaries
It can sound counterintuitive, but it’s important to set boundaries early in a relationship.
Clarifying your boundaries in areas such as time, money, love, and sex—and recognizing your partner’s boundaries—helps bring mutual respect to a relationship.
Once you’ve made your way past the infatuation stage as a couple, having respect for the other person will help you in navigating any uncertainty.
- It Helps You Adjust Your Expectations
In the first phase of a relationship, when people are falling head over heels for each other, it’s easy to put the other person on a pedestal or think that they can do no wrong.
Opening up in the safe environment of a therapist’s office can help you adjust your expectations. You should still celebrate your significant other and think highly of them, but it’s important to realize that they’re only human.
It’s vital for people in a relationship to recognize that their partner had a full life before they met, and had experiences that shaped who they are today. Going through this process will help you take off any rose-colored glasses and take a realistic approach to building a successful relationship.
- It’s More Likely to Be Effective
Dr. John Gottman, an expert on relationships and marriages, once said that, on average, couples spend six years being unhappy about their relationship before finally deciding to go to therapy.
Treating marriage counseling or relationship counseling as a last resort can affect how effective it might be for a couple. While the techniques and interventions remain the same, couples can be less receptive to them.
If a couple has indeed waited for five or six years, then one person may feel differently about the relationship than the other. For example, one person may want a divorce, while the other may not.
When issues in a relationship go unresolved, they tend to accumulate and become more complicated with time. Going to therapy in the honeymoon phase—estimated by some to last two years—can enable couples to work out any potential problems before they get too big.
As a trusted marriage counselor in Birmingham, AL, I also provide relationship counseling services to people in Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, and Hoover. Set up an appointment by leaving a message or calling me at (205) 251-8808