We all want our relationships to be successful. After all, if we are entering into a relationship with the belief that it will fail, then what is the point? Unfortunately, things do happen.
The reality is that sometimes relationships fail, sometimes due to things we have done wrong or other times due to circumstances seemingly outside of our control. One thing we can control is how quickly we get help. You shouldn’t wait until your relationship is already on the brink of disaster before bringing in a therapist to redirect your path. By working with a therapist, you may circumvent the issues that can infect a relationship. You can save your relationship before you even realize that it needed saving!
“Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down.” -Unknown
Many people think that they shouldn’t see a therapist until their marriage is on the brink of divorce or they are having a major crisis. But that simply isn’t true. While many of the people that we see are actively involved in a crisis moment, I would argue that it’s actually better to seek therapy before you are in dire need. This will help you from reaching that crisis point. Even if you are relatively happy in your relationship and everything is going great, taking the time to strengthen the ties between you and your partner will prevent issues down the road.
We can all agree that relationships take work. In my experience however, when things get hectic, the needs of our significant others often tend to be put on the back burner. While it isn’t exactly fair, it happens. You’ve probably even done it recently. We tell ourselves things like, “Our partner will understand” or that “We will make time later.” Or maybe this sounds familiar to you, “________ really needs our attention right now, our marriage will be fine.” When we don’t devote the time to maintain a relationship like we should, cracks will start to appear. But when we recognize that it’s happening, we can stop the damage and work on repairing. Just like with a house it’s easier to fix a few cracks compared to doing a full renovation.
A crisis rarely occurs out of nowhere. Things may start off great but over time we will experience moments of unhappiness, irritation, or dissatisfaction. Those moments occur infrequently at first and are easy to brush off. But if they are not addressed and acknowledged, then those small things will transform into bigger issues. For some, this leads to them constantly feeling just ok or as if they are getting by in their marriage but aren’t fully satisfied. For others, it may continue to snowball leading to feelings of resentment, contempt and loneliness. Little comments that you would have simply brushed off before will somehow erupt into an argument leaving both sides bitter and bewildered.
Unfortunately, many people put off going therapy for years after they reached a point where they actually need it. Dr. John Gottman, renowned for his work on marital stability and divorce prediction, discovered that the average couple waits 6 years before seeking help for marital issues. 6 years, Whew! By the time they land on one of our couches here at Solid Foundations Therapy, the level of repair needed is huge. Equally as large is the time and amount of effort required to make those repairs. But by attending therapy BEFORE you reach that point of crisis, you may find yourself equipped with the skills needed to mitigate any situation that may arise.
Your relationship deserves your attention. It deserves your devotion. It deserves your time. Keep reading for 4 reasons why all relationships can benefit from routine relationship maintenance.
4 Reasons Why All Relationships Can Benefit From Therapy
- We routinely complete maintenance on everything else in our lives, so why not on our relationships? Everything requires some sort of maintenance on a regular basis to keep it running smoothly. Can you imagine how well your car would run if you never got your oil changed? Or how about you teeth? How would they look if you did not visit the dentist on a regular basis? It’s simply not realistic to expect that your relationship will continue to remain happy and fulfilling without you giving it attention. By checking in regularly, learning new skills, and adjusting as needed, you guarantee that things won’t get broken. Remember – it’s much cheaper to get an oil change on your car than to replace the whole engine.
- Our needs change over time. When we are 25, what we may require from a relationship will more than likely be vastly different than what we require from a relationship in our mid-30s and 40’s. Often times those changes occur gradually without us even noticing until they are big enough to cause some sort of disruption in our lives. Making it a priority to assess what your needs are at regular intervals and sharing those with your partner will allow both of you to be proactive with making the needed adjustments. Plus none of the changes will feel as daunting because you are multiple small tweaks as needed.
- The majority of people don’t have the skills needed to maintain a healthy relationship. The fact is, we aren’t being taught how to properly engage in a romantic relationship. Mass media (movies, TV shows, books) only serves to enhance our unrealistic expectations of what relationships should be. A skilled couples therapist will help you adjust your expectations of what a relationship should be and provide you with the skills that many people are lacking. This will allow you to thrive and grow with your everyday interactions.
- Therapy provides you with a place to focus on your relationship. We sign up for personal trainers because they help to keep us accountable and help us to move towards our goal. It is the same way with therapy. Therapy provides you with a designated time where you can work solely on improving your marriage. It allows you to maintain that commitment to reaching your goals. Another benefit to seeing a therapist is that you are involving a neutral party into your relationship who can see both sides of a relationship without being emotionally involved in the outcome of each particular issue.
By working with a therapist BEFORE you’ve experienced a crisis, you’ll be equipped with the skills and knowledge on how to handle any issues that may arise. It’s always better to prepare for an issue than to be caught off-guard if something does happen. Don’t wait until it’s too late. You wouldn’t wait until your teeth are falling out before going to see the dentist for a checkup, now would you?
Contact Solid Foundations Therapy today to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled therapists and give your relationship a tuneup.