Humans are designed to form strong emotional bonds with others to survive. Though some may prefer fewer relationships than others, it is nearly impossible to go through life without any support system whatsoever.
The strongest possible relationship that you can be in is marriage. This commitment is a lifetime promise to one person to love them and be their partner for decades to come. Although life in the Bay Area with your loved one can be truly special, that does not mean that there will be no challenges.
One tactic that many couples invest in is couples therapy. This practice is meant to help married people learn to communicate and express their feelings with each other with the help of a professional. Here are a few of the pros and cons of participating in couples therapy with your loved one.
Pro: Breaking Communication Barriers
The misconception about therapy is that it is only for couples that are dealing with marital issues. While this is certainly its main purpose, it can also benefit couples that are content in their marriages.
One of the reasons for this is that it can improve communication between the two of you. Licensed professionals know how to break down those communication barriers with the right questions and prompts, and this can strengthen your relationship no matter what it looks like today.
Pro: Building Trust
Trust is such a crucial aspect of a close relationship, and cognitive behavioral couples therapy often results in building trust with your spouse. Many circumstances can hinder the growth of trust in a relationship, including past relationship trauma or feelings of abandonment during childhood.
Therapy can help you talk through those issues and how they are affecting your trust in your spouse now. As the trust between the two of you grows, you will be able to communicate more effectively and have a stronger relationship going forward.
Pro: Improving Conflict Resolution
The purpose of couples therapy can be summed up with one concept; conflict resolution. Counseling teaches you communication skills that allow the two of you to talk through issues if and when they arise. And they will arise because no marriage is perfect and without conflict.
Whether you attend therapy to solve a specific conflict or not, what you learn there will benefit your marriage with conflict resolution strategies in the future.
Con: It Can Be Expensive
Marriage counseling/couples therapy is generally not inexpensive. Even if you see the need for it with your partner, the investment that it may require could be enough to deter you from taking the initial step.
Though some companies in the Bay Area are starting to see the benefits of couples therapy for their workers and include stipends in their benefits packages, these opportunities are few and far between. It may be a financial sacrifice, but the result is often worth the amount of money that it will cost.
Con: Not Always What You Expect
The effectiveness of couples therapy is very unpredictable. It takes two willing partners who are open to the process for it to work, and this is not always the case for a lot of couples.
For example, there is a negative stigma about mental illness in men especially, which can make it difficult for some husbands to buy into the idea of attending therapy. There are many other obstacles as well, and the sessions themselves may not achieve the outcome that you expected.
Con: Rarely a Fast Solution
If your marriage has come to a point where you feel therapy is needed, you should not go into it expecting a quick fix. First, there is the possibility that the problem will not be overcome if it has escalated too far. Second, even if it is something that can be moved past, it could take a longer time than you expect to reach that stage.
Some people have the false assumption that therapy will solve all their relationship problems, but this is no guarantee, and even a successful process could take many months or even years.
Stabilize Your Most Important Relationship
Although couples therapy in the Bay Area is not a guaranteed solution and it is not for everyone, the pros tend to outweigh the cons. For marriages that are already healthy, therapy can equip you with valuable skills like better communication and conflict resolution, which will foster a decades-long marriage.
Couples who are struggling can have a platform to talk through the issues with a professional third party that can guide them through the conversation so that it is productive.
Although couples therapy can be scary and may reveal more than you expected, couples that plan to be together for the long haul will find the benefits worth it.