Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Patricia Lamas LCSW
10 Important Things You Will Learn In Couples Therapy
Published May 17th, 2021 & updated on May 17th, 2021
There’s a misunderstanding about couples therapy (actually, therapy in general) that says something must be wrong or broken if you’re seeing a therapist. But as mental health becomes more talked about and less stigmatized, more people are beginning to understand the benefit of attending therapy before something “goes wrong.”
If you’re considering couples therapy, it doesn’t mean your relationship is broken. There are so many reasons why you and your partner might decide on therapy together. Maybe something (good or bad) significant happened to one, or both, of you that impacted the relationship. Or, you speak in different love languages and have a hard time understanding each other sometimes. Maybe you want to be proactive and keep lines of communication open and clear. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t mean your relationship is failing — it means you want to work together to strengthen the relationship. And we call that a BIG win!
No problem in a relationship is too big or too small for couples therapy. You can still love the other person and recognize that some improvements (okay, a LOT of improvements) need to be made. As Hayley Williams once said, “It’s not a walk in the park to love each other.” But if after all this time, you’re still into your partner…then hang tight! There’s always more to learn, friend.
Here are some important things you and your partner will learn in couples therapy.
1. Your Relationship Is A Two-Way Street
If your relationship isn’t in the healthiest place right now, it’s easy to place all of the blame on the other person (or even yourself). But there are two sides to every story, even when we don’t wanna accept that. Sometimes it’s not so obvious who’s right or wrong…we all have our own perspectives and feelings that are completely valid.
Since you’re equal parts of this relationship, you BOTH have to work together to take what you learn in therapy and apply it to your daily life. You’ve both gotta be willing to put in that work!
2. It’s Okay To Have Differences
There are so many quippy little sayings about relationships that you’ve probably heard before. Opposites attract. Two peas in a pod…two halves of a whole. So, which is it? Do the couples who are more alike work “better,” or the couples who are less similar?
The truth is, no matter how alike or unalike you are, you and your partner will disagree sometimes. But it’s not the end of the world! Accepting each other for those differences and recognizing that you might not see eye-to-eye on everything can still bring you closer, not drive a wedge between you. As long as you still show each other the love and respect you both deserve, you’re golden!
3. How To Work Through Stressors Together
Stressors can come in small, medium and large. If you and your partner know each other pretty well, you’ll probably have some idea of what stresses each other out. Maybe it’s work shit. Maybe it’s family shit. Could be any type of shit, really. Stress is stress is stress.
Relationship therapy can help you recognize when the other person is really going through it, how they cope, and how you can support them through their stressful times. Alllll the stress management tools you both need, all the time baby!
4. What Your Values Are In Your Relationship
Maybe you value quality time, trust and open communication. Or, maybe you value affection, humour and personal time. Everyone has their own set of values (what matters most to them) for their relationship. Learning each other’s values can bring you closer and help you to better understand each other!
It’s also really important to learn what you need most from each other on an emotional level. ‘Cause everyone feels appreciated and loved in different ways! Your therapist can help you and your partner lay out what makes you feel loved and cared for. Whether it’s a post-it note on your mirror with a cute message, alone time to talk, or a great biiiiig hug after a shitty day — you both deserve to feel completely loved.
5. It Takes Practice To Make Things (Almost) Perfect
Couples therapy isn’t gonna magically change your lives overnight. You probably wish that your therapist could just wave a magic wand, say wingardium-whateverthefuck, and make all of the problems in your relationship go away! Buuut those changes aren’t gonna happen overnight.
It’s gonna take time. It’s gonna take effort. But the more you and your partner work at it, guess what? It’ll get there! The important thing is that you’re both actively trying and WANT to make things work. Your love will never be Disney-level perfect (because that’s unnatural, unrealistic), but it is definitely worth fighting for!
6. How To Work Through A Disagreement
Nobody likes fighting with their partner. You say things you don’t mean, slam a door, or give the silent treatment. Emotions, right? They can get the best of us. And it’s sure as hell not easy to work through a disagreement when neither of you is in the right mindset. Or if you’ve been having the same fight over…and over…and over again.
Couples therapy will help you work through those disagreements. That means knowing when to say sorry and take accountability. That means knowing when to pick your battles. It can also mean knowing how to approach disagreements in a way that sets you both up for success. These skills can help prevent those repeat arguments!
7. Communication Takes Commitment
Learning how to communicate isn’t just for fights. Open communication is all about talking through your feelings and being heard. You should be able to share everything with your partner — from your fears and failures to your joys and biggest successes. You should feel like they’re really listening. Your convos should be a judgement-free zone. And you should give all of that in return too!
Relationship therapy can teach you how to start that line of communication if that’s something that doesn’t come easy for you. One of you might feel a bit more closed off at first, but your commitment to working through it will pay off!
8. How To Be Individuals
It’s not uncommon to get so wrapped up in your relationship, you neglect other parts of your life. But you never wanna lose yourself in a relationship, and neither should your partner. You fell in love with each other for a reason! There were probably really cool things that drew you to them, like their passions, interests or goals. Those are what make us très unique, after all!
Depending on each other too much, or making your partner your entire world, isn’t healthy. If you’ve both lost sight of who you are as individuals, guess what can help you through it? Ding ding ding! Therapy.
9. You And Your Partner Are Only Human
No matter how much you love your partner, there will always be things about them that get under your skin. Maybe they’re not the best at texting back. Or they’re really bad at remembering important dates. Also, they kinda suck at driving. But what can ya do! You’ve gotta love ‘em anyway, right?
You know that you’re not perfect either. It’s safe to say that you also do things that drive your partner bananas. So how can you expect to have a perfect relationship?! It’s important to keep this in mind: neither of you will get things right 100% of the time. Learning to give each other the patience and compassion you both deserve is so important!
10. It’s Okay To Grow And Change
Days go by. Weeks go by. Months go by. Before you know it, yearsss go by. And just like we learn and grow with the times, so do our relationships! Maybe we change jobs or move into new homes. Or, we get engaged or married. Maybe we have kids, or maybe we choose to be child-free.
Every relationship has its own journey. The best part? You get to navigate it together! So be flexible, adjust as you go, and take those winding roads in stride.
Sooo, if you didn’t pick up on this already…relationships can take some work. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! So don’t feel ashamed for needing some extra help along the way. You’ve got this!