Why You Shouldn’t Wait for Conflict Before Going to Couples Therapy

Feb 21, 2024

Therapist doing online therapy Telehealth

One of the most common myths about couples therapy is that it is only for relationships in trouble. This misconception may discourage you from getting help early on. You may believe that you are not the right candidate for couples counseling. Or that your difficulties are not a big deal and can be resolved on your own. However, therapy can benefit your relationship anytime, not only during a conflict.

According to research by the Gottman Institute, couples in distress, on average, wait six years before they reach out for professional help. This is a long time for problems, resentment, and detachment to build up. So, it may take years of therapy before you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Imagine ignoring a toothache for weeks or months before getting dental care. This could lead to serious complications, such as the spread of infection into the bloodstream, resulting in sepsis, a potentially fatal condition. Just like we would arrange an appointment with our dentist right away, we should contact a therapist as soon as possible before our relationship problems escalate.

Benefits of Seeking Couple Counseling Proactively

Seeking therapy as a last resort when the relationship is on the rocks is still better than not looking for help at all. But proactively engaging in couples therapy and asking for help before problems emerge sets the solid ground for a healthy and resilient relationship. Going to couples therapy can prepare you for the transition into married life by helping you:

  • Understand how your past trauma or attachment issues affect your adult relationship patterns and shape your interactions
  • Get to know each other on a deeper level
  • Explore each other’s backgrounds
  • Set boundaries
  • Understand your relationship dynamic
  • Address any doubts and uncertainties you might have
  • Better understand each other’s love languages
  • Explore your expectations, beliefs, and values and address potential differences
  • Communicate openly and be vulnerable with each other
  • Explore your sexual needs and desires and address potential differences early on
  • Address potential problems and prevent minor issues from escalating
  • Establish mutual goals
  • Strengthen your emotional connection before marriage.

But here are three big reasons why couples shouldn’t wait for a conflict to go to therapy:

1.    Developing Communication Skills

There is no a healthy, strong marriage without healthy, effective communication. But how to have effective communication with your partner?

Firstly, it’s essential to be honest and vulnerable with one another, understand each other’s feelings, and communicate them openly. Insisting on openness and honesty can prevent misunderstandings and ensure that conflicts are resolved in a way that strengthens rather than damages your relationship.

When seeking counseling before conflicts and problems pile up, you will learn this art of communicating clearly and honestly. Through guided discussions and exercises, your therapist will teach you how to express your needs, listen actively, and understand each other’s perspectives. Also, with the guidance of your therapist, you will develop practical tools and conflict-resolution skills to resolve disagreements in a manner that strengthens your relationship instead of causing harm.

2.    Enhancing Emotional Intimacy

Going to therapy at the beginning of your relationship may significantly improve emotional closeness. You may think, “How? We love each other. Aren’t we already close enough?”

You can deepen your emotional connection by creating a dynamic where being open and vulnerable with one another is the way of being. When you feel safe disclosing the deepest parts of yourself to your partner without fear of judgment or rejection, you develop a deep understanding and genuine empathy for each other’s innermost feelings and experiences.

Building a strong emotional connection is essential, as it creates a sense of trust, security, and a deep sense of closeness.

3.    Fortifying the Relationship Foundation

Getting couples therapy early on can strengthen the foundation of your relationship by ensuring both of you are on the same page regarding your expectations, goals, boundaries, and values. Your relationship will evolve and change over time, and that’s natural. However, this alignment sets a strong foundation for a resilient relationship, preparing you to tackle future obstacles and handle life’s unpredictable challenges as a team.

Knowing that you and your partner can get through tough times together can boost your confidence and emotional connection, setting your relationship for success.

Let’s connect soon so we can set up a free consultation.

Filippo M. Forni, LMFT is a certified AASECT individual and couples sex therapist. Mr. Forni sees patients throughout California and Florida. His goal is to provide high-quality and effective goal-oriented therapy services to his clientele. He has extensive training in sexuality and multiculturalism and serves as an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology.