Did you know that more than 40% of marriages end in divorce?
If you’re worried that you could be heading towards the end of your relationship, now is a good time to consider couples therapy.
Going to therapy for relationships helps you to explore your current dynamic, modify destructive behavior patterns, and communicate honestly with your partner.
Couples therapy won’t always save a relationship, but it’s definitely worth a try. Even if you still decide to separate, you’ll both have learned valuable lessons about yourself.
Want to increase your chances of staying together?
Keep reading for details on seven ways to succeed in relationship therapy.
1. Go to Therapy With a Positive Attitude
Do you feel like going to couples therapy is weird, strange, or wrong?
There’s absolutely no need to feel that way. Many couples struggle with everything from splitting chores to discussing sex, and these problems are nothing to feel ashamed of.
Going to therapy with an open, positive attitude makes you much more likely to succeed.
After all, nobody wants to go to therapy with a partner who’s sulking, showing up late, or saying things like, ‘This is stupid.’
If you care about saving your relationship, you should be going to therapy with a smile on your face and a willingness to do the work.
2. Choose a Well-Trained Therapist
Not all relationship therapists are created equal and you might have to visit a few before you find ‘the one’.
Your therapist should be well-trained and certified. A legitimate therapist will be happy to give you details on their education and experience, and will also be able to provide references.
If there’s a specific area of your relationship that’s causing most of your problems, trying to find a therapist who specializes. There are therapists who specialize in sex, trauma, trust issues, same-sex relationships, bereavement, and more.
Don’t just choose the first therapist that pops up on Google — take some time to compare your options and find somebody you click with.
3. Be Honest About How You’re Feeling
There’s no point in going to therapy if you’re not planning to be honest about how you feel.
Opening up about your emotions can be difficult, but it’s what therapy is all about. You’ll be in a safe space, away from day-to-day concerns, with an experienced mediator there to guide things.
Instead of letting your emotions build up and then explode during a petty argument, take the time to speak calmly about how you’re feeling.
Not only will this help you to address your current issues, it’s also a valuable skill that you’ll be able to rely on in the future.
4. Prepare to Change Your Views on Your Relationship
How do you currently view your own relationship?
Maybe you think something like, ‘I’m trying my best, but my partner never puts in any effort.’
At the end of therapy, you might be thinking something more like, ‘My partner and I are both trying hard to make things work, but our communication skills aren’t developed enough yet.’
It’s natural to create mental stories about our relationships, but they’re not always 100% true. In therapy, you should be prepared for your current view of things to be challenged.
Try to keep an open mind and be willing to admit that things might not be as black and white as you think they are.
After a successful round of therapy, you should leave with a positive new perspective on your situation.
5. Be Ready to Change Your Own Behavior
Are you excited to go to therapy because you want your partner to change their ways?
This mindset is a recipe for disaster.
While couples therapy is about helping you both to change for the better, it’s important to remember that you can only control your own behavior. You can’t force your partner to change, but you can alter the way you react to them.
For example, you might not be able to change the fact that your partner never does the dishes. However, you can change how you raise the subject with them, how it makes you feel, and where you plan to set your own boundaries on the issue.
Therapy is about changing yourself to improve your relationship.
If you and your partner are both hoping for the other person to change instead of them, there’s no way you’ll succeed in therapy.
6. Don’t Just Focus on the Negatives
Therapy isn’t just about sitting down and listing all the things you hate about your relationship — as cathartic as that may sound.
While it’s important to speak honestly about the problems, you should also be ready to talk about what’s good. Even something small like, ‘I like when my husband cooks dinner for me,’ could be a great foundation to build upon.
You should also look for your own strengths in the relationship.
Maybe you’re good at going for a walk to cool down instead of starting a fight? Or perhaps you’re particularly attentive to your partner’s emotions?
Therapy is about uncovering what’s good about your relationship and learning to build on it.
7. Keep Communicating Openly Outside of Therapy
You can’t expect to chat about your feelings once a week in therapy, then go home and continue in your usual way.
Instead, you should take the communication skills you’ve learned during your sessions and start applying them to your everyday life.
You could even set aside some specific time each evening to talk about how you’re feeling, where the relationship is, and what you can do to make things better.
You won’t be in therapy forever, so you need to learn how to go it alone.
How Can Therapy for Relationships Benefit You?
Going to therapy for relationships is helpful in all kinds of situations. Whether you’re having raging arguments every single day or just feel like the ‘spark’ has gone, therapy can help you figure out what’s really going on.
Relationship therapy teaches you valuable communication skills and coping methods that will benefit all the relationships in your life.
Want more advice on building good relationships? Check out our dating section today.