Couples therapy is a sure sign of an impending divorce, right?

While it's true that marriage counseling is often the last step before spouses separate, it shouldn't be. There's a lot to be learned from couples therapy - about yourselves, your relationship, and each other.

Here are the top 5 reasons why couples therapy isn't a death sentence.

1) It can help you to learn to fight. Yes, I said fight. Or, rather, in therapist-speak, how to properly resolve conflicts. Rather than make a laundry list of things the other has done "wrong" and expect them to somehow make up for things that happened six years ago, you learn communication techniques.

2) You can learn to speak to the other WITHOUT making it a big accusation - rather than saying, "YOU make ME feel unappreciated," you learn such riveting (and actually quite helpful) techniques as the "I Feel" statements. It diffuses tensions to say things like, "I feel unappreciated when you don't thank me for making coffee in the mornings."

3) It's the safe zone. In the therapist's office, you're often in what they call a "safe zone," where feelings can be discussed, dissected, and objectively looked at without pointing fingers or having it turn to flinging hateful words at one another.

4) Once you can work through the issues that are currently plaguing your relationship, you can begin to focus on each other - the things you like, the things you don't, the reasons you fell in love.

5) One word: objective. Okay, more than one word - let's go with "an objective third party." The therapist isn't apt to take sides in the same way friends would; it's not a boxing ring, after all. But the therapist can watch the two of you interact without bias and point out what he or she sees happening when you talk.

What are some other benefits of seeing a marriage therapist?

 

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