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Do We Have To Be Fighting to Be in Couples Therapy?

Do We Have To Be Fighting to Be in Couples Therapy?

When you think of couples therapy, most people conjure images of two people on a couch, angry and distant, trying to find a way to reconnect and “save” their marriage.  Sometimes that’s exactly what it looks like, but there are so many other situations where couples therapy can be beneficial. 

Below are some common reasons people seek (or should seek!) relational therapy:


  • Grief
    • Many people seek individual counseling when experiencing grief, but often this can be supplemented by couples therapy, especially if the grief is shared. The loss of a child, close family friend, or parent/in-law can all take a toll on the couple’s relational dynamic. 


  • Parenting differences
    • No two people have the exact same parenting style, and while hopefully you are generally on the same page as your co-parent, this doesn’t always happen. Even the smallest of parenting differences can cause friction and lead to disconnection or communication challenges. Some co-parents come to therapy together when they aren’t in a romantic relationship and have no plans to be. A healthy co-parenting relationship is so beneficial for the children involved, and therapy can help people seeking to repair communication, set boundaries, and heal wounds so they can be present for their children. 


  • Extended Family
    • Successfully navigating relationships with both sides of extended family is a common goal of couples therapy. Tension between a spouse and a family of origin can wreak havoc on a relationship, and can lead to challenging conversations with loyalties feeling pulled in all directions. 


  • Infertility
    • Often a grief process of its own, infertility can put a strain on a couple’s dynamic. The rollercoaster of emotions, changed expectations, and physical and financial hardships are incredibly challenging and many couples find it difficult to reconnect to one another through it all. 


  • Discernment 
    • Some couples come to therapy to decide if they want to put time and effort into repairing their relationship or separate, weighing all options. For those who decide they do want to remain together, more traditional couples therapy is then recommended. 


  • Intimacy
    • Intimacy changes for most couples as they navigate different seasons of their relationship, as well as outside influences/stressors. Identifying and expressing needs and reconnecting in this way is often a challenge, and this opportunity for connection can suffer when other communication challenges are present. 


  • Finances
    • When the stakes are high, tensions can be too. People approach finances in many different ways, but when there is a perceived threat to either your security (if your partner is more of a spender) or quality of life (if your partner is more of a saver), conflict and communication errors ensue. 


  • Acute and Chronic Illness
    • Many couples come in when navigating an acute or chronic illness. Acute illness often leads to shock, grief, and an immediate change in daily life. Chronic illnesses can bring a need for increased understanding and patience, and a change in labor division or a potential caretaking dynamic. 


  • Division of Labor
    • A major tenant of relationship well-being for many couples boils down to the basics of living in harmony, without either partner feeling they are taking on an unfair share of the domestic labor– things like laundry, dishes, keeping track of family events, even keeping toilet paper stocked in the house. These might seem inconsequential, but we all take cues about how we’re viewed and valued through these day-to-day experiences. 


While plenty of couples do come into therapy at a time of intense conflict and anger, there are many other reasons for seeking therapy with a partner (past or current). If you find yourself feeling disconnected, unsure of how to proceed or communicate successfully with your partner, now is the time to seek couples counseling! A skilled clinician can help you and your partner navigate the situations listed above (and so many others!) in a way that helps both people feel heard and secure as you work toward your goals.




When is the Right Time to Try Couple’s Counseling?

When is the Right Time to Try Couple’s Counseling?

For better or worse. Those words seem easy to say at the time, but when worse gets really bad, many couples are ready to throw in the towel. Here are some things to consider that might indicate that your relationship is ready for a tune-up.

The Stigma of Counseling

It can be hard to make the decision to go to couples counseling because it means you have to face your problems and admit you and your partner are on shaky ground. That can be incredibly scary to admit. It’s not dissimilar to thinking something may be wrong with your health, but you’re too scared to face the music and so you ignore the issue until it gets way too big.

Beyond having to admit you and your partner have problems, there’s also the discomfort of not being familiar with therapy. It can definitely feel a bit mysterious and scary sitting down with a total stranger and sharing personal information about your relationship.

For these reasons, far too many couples let their marriage issues sit on the back burner, percolating. But the better option is to nip an issue in the bud as soon as it rears its ugly head.

To save you some confusion, here are some of the most common relationship issues that typically require some time in couples counseling.

Broken Trust

Whenever there is a major breach of trust, such as an extramarital affair, there is usually a need for couples counseling. A therapist can help you both rebuild the foundation of trust.

More Frequent Arguments

To each relationship, a little rain must fall. But when you start having frequent torrential downpours, it’s time to ask for help. An increase in fighting and intensity of fighting often means significant problems under the surface.


If you and your partner aren’t talking at all about important matters, this too can erode a relationship. Feelings of resentment can build up and be difficult to address if left to fester for too long.

You’ve Experienced a Devastating Event

Life throws us events in our lives that are hard to rebound from. Whether it’s a financial loss or the loss of a loved one, as in the loss of a child, the trauma can change the way you and your partner relate to one another.

These are just a few of the reasons you and your partner should consider exploring couples counseling. It’s always better to seek help than try and go it alone.

If you are interested in treatment options, please be in touch with us. We have a licensed marriage and family therapist now accepting new clients.