“Couples Therapy is a Last Resort”
This spring marks my 5th year of being a registered nurse. I absolutely LOVE my job! I get to take care of lots of people from all different walks of life.
It’s amazing how a person’s health directly impacts their quality of life. This is why I’m so passionate about staying healthy!
On one occasion, I was taking care of an older gentlemen who was very sick. The first thing I do when I admit a patient to the hospital is figure out what their past medical history is.
“Do you have diabetes?”
“How about any issues with your heart?”
“Any home medications?”
“I’ve never had to take a pill a day in my life.”
“Are there any health issues we should know about?”
“No,” he said, “I’m as healthy as a horse!”
This was puzzling for the healthcare team. The more tests we did, the more issues we discovered. How could all of these health conditions suddenly show up out of nowhere?
After further investigation, we found the answer. There was a reason his health record was as clean as a whistle...
He’d never ONCE gone to see a doctor in his entire life!!
It’s easy to assume that everything is peachy when there is no one to show you that it’s not.
Here’s the thing about chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease… The majority of them are preventable.
If this man had gone to a doctor for regular checkups, all of the health problems he was now dealing with could have potentially been avoided.
It’s the same when it comes to marital and relationship problems.
It seriously hurts my ears every time I hear someone say, “Oh, we don’t need couples therapy. Therapy is for couples who are really struggling.”
This is so false!
Just ask Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard who see a couples therapist on the regular.
There is a huge stigma suggesting that couples therapy is only for marriages that are on the verge of divorce. Because of this, most couples wait an average of six years too long to get outside help with their relationship.
You wouldn’t wait six years before going to the doctor if you broke your leg, had a consistent high fever, or kept coughing up blood, would you?
When symptoms arise you get help from a professional that has the training and skills to help you.
You even see a doctor when you’re NOT sick - just for a regular checkup.
The idea of waiting six years to see a therapist is insane to me! Six years of ignorance, pent up anger, resentment, oblivion, unfulfilled expectations, crappy sex, or the same fights over and over again - all intertwined in a mess that becomes way more difficult to deal with than it should have.
Even if you think your marriage is perfectly fine and "has no problems", you could be living in a mediocre marriage without even knowing it.
If you wait too long, it could be too late.
What if you treated your marriage the same way that you treated your car?
Every couple of months you get the oil changed. You rotate the tires. Each year you take it in for an inspection to make sure it gets the stamp of approval for safety and emissions.
If you didn’t do these things, it wouldn’t be long before your car fell apart.
Is your car more important to you than your marriage?
Think of couples therapy like maintenance for your relationship. When you’re making that appointment for your yearly check up with the doctor, make an appointment with your therapist, too!
Nate and I started going to couples therapy after only a few months of marriage. We didn’t have anything specific we needed to work through - we just wanted to see how we were doing.
Our awesome therapist was excited to have a couple sitting in her office that wasn’t on the verge of divorce!
Every time we go to therapy, we find something that we can work through and get better at. It’s amazing how many things can come up during therapy that you don’t even realize are there!
It’s a yearly checkup for our relationship. It’s little course corrections that ensure we are on the right track. It’s an opportunity to learn and grow together.
Can you tell how much a LOVE couples therapy?!
My utopia would include couples therapy for everyone at least once a year. Can you imagine how far the divorce rate would go down?
There is something so awesome about having a third party as a mediator. Someone who can have a completely unbiased perspective and help to shed new light on the challenges you’re facing.
Someone who has been trained to recognize the problems you’ve taught ourselves to avoid.
Sometimes, all you need to understand your partner is someone to reiterate what they are saying in a new way. Someone to open your eyes to see things like you’ve never seen them before.
Couples therapy is NOT a last resort for your marriage. It could be the very thing that keeps you from ever contemplating a “last resort” in the first place.
Ignorance isn't bliss… Don’t let problems fester in your relationship before you even realize they are there. You can have an extraordinary marriage! You just have to be willing to work for it.
Have you ever been to couples therapy? What was your experience? If you haven’t, would you ever consider going? Let me know in the comments!
Check out Nate’s article on how to find the right therapist for you.