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10 Reasons to Start Couples Counseling

Leading couples researcher and therapist, John Gottman, PhD has found that the average couple waits 6 years before seeking help for marital problems.  That is a long time to be unhappy in a relationship!  If you are considering starting therapy to improve your relationship, it may help to consider the many benefits of couples counseling.

As a relationship therapist and couples counselor in Sacramento, CA, I have the joy of helping couples improve their relationships and marriages.  These are the top reasons to see a couples therapist–and how counseling can help:

1. You want better communication and less fights.

While couples will never see eye-to-eye on everything, if arguments are happening more frequently and causing significant distress in the relationship, it may be time to work with a counselor.  Couples counseling can help address underlying issues in the relationship.  Your therapist can help you practice new ways of connecting–even when you disagree, leading to less fights and higher relationship satisfaction.

2. You want to deepen your emotional connection.

When couples are falling in love, they often spend significant time getting to know each other, leading to a strong emotional connection.  As life goes on and work, kids and other responsibilities get in the way, couples may have less time to connect with each other.  If this is happening for you, you may feel lonely and unsupported within your relationship.  Couples counseling can help you reconnect and prioritize each other, leading to better emotional intimacy and secure attachment.

3. You want to improve your sex life and physical intimacy.

If you are dissatisfied with your sex life, you might be feeling frustrated, alone, rejected or unhappy.  To complicate matters, many couples feel uncomfortable and nervous broaching the topic (does it ever get easier talking about the birds and the bees?).  A couples therapist can help you and your partner discuss your sexual concerns, desires, expectations and unmet needs in a supportive way that can help you get the sex lives you want.

4. You want help talking about a tough/touchy topic.

Sex isn’t the only topic that can be hard to bring up with a partner.  If there is something important to you, but you are having a hard time discussing it in your relationship, a couples therapist can help you address and work through the issue in a supportive environment.

5. You want to rebuild trust.

There are many ways for trust to be lost in a relationship: small lies add up, broken promises hurt, and infidelity can tear a relationship apart.  It’s possible to rebuild trust when both partners are committed to the process of improving their relationship.  A couples counselor can help you rebuild a secure and satisfying relationship.

6. You are getting married & you want your marriage to last.

More and more couples are seeing premarital counseling as an important and valuable investment in their future.  With as many as 50% of marriages ending in divorce, taking time in the beginning of your marriage to set intentions for your life together and start building traditions can be incredibly rewarding.  Find a couples therapist who you connect with and this process can be both valuable–and fun!

7. You want to reduce stress associated with parenthood.

Becoming parents can be both incredibly rewarding and incredibly stressful.  So stressful, in fact, that research shows that the average relationship takes a big dip in relationship satisfaction from the time the first child is born until the youngest child leaves the home.  If you are noticing a strain on your relationship during new parenthood–this is totally normal, but there are ways to improve happiness in the relationship.  If you want to reduce the stress and learn better ways to cope and support each other, a couples counselor can help.

8. You need help supporting each other through grief, health problems, or life changes.

The loss of a loved one, infertility, a miscarriage, health problems and major life changes can all be incredibly hard to experience.  Both individuals in the relationship may be experiencing their own pain, loss, confusion or sadness, leaving it hard to support their partner.  A couples counselor can support you and help you move through your difficult time.

9. You want to be healthier and live longer.

Did you know that an unhappy marriage can increase your chances of getting sick by about 35% and can even shorten your lifespan by about 4 years?  Research has also shown that a healthy marriage can lower occurrences of pneumonia, heart attacks and even cancer.  The chronic stress associated with unhappy relationships has significant physiological consequences, so improving your relationship in couples counseling may even improve your health.

10. You want to improve other areas of your life such as work or leisure activities.

According to the founder of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Sue Johnson, PhD, a person in a secure relationship experiences benefits in multiple areas of their lives.  Benefits of a secure bond with your partner include increased confidence, more assertiveness, improved learning abilities, decreased chance of depression and mental illness, and better resiliency.  With improvement in your relationship, you will notice improvement in many areas of your life.

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Couples counseling and marriage therapy have incredible benefits.  If you are interested in getting started, or just have some comments or questions, please reach out to me — I’d love to hear from you!  My practice is in Sacramento, CA and you can reach me at 916-572-7412 or by sending me a message.