How do you know when it's time for marriage counseling? Easy. Are you in a relationship, even a good one? Then it is time. Years ago my wife and I participated in an organization called "Marriage Encounter," which emphasized communication techniques. I've always liked its motto: "Making Good Marriages Even Better!" That's what I hope to emphasize for you today. It's time to make your good relationship even better! And how do I suggest you do that? If you have a relationship that is doing pretty good and doesn't really need any help, then I want you to go to Marriage Counseling! You may think that counseling is only for problems, but that's not so.
People without all those nasty problems can use the process to create far better lives than they ever imagined. I so love it when a couple comes to me just to grow. I'll admit that this is usually not the case. It usually takes pain to get people through my office door. But, occasionally, couples come to me just to make their good relationship even better.
What fun that is! So, what does a couple do in therapy if they have no problems to work on? There are SO many things we can do: -Develop even more sophisticated communication abilities -Use psychological instruments (tests) to determin differences, simularities, and how to complement each other's personality gifts -Seek spiritual growth together -Take time out from the busy-ness of life and become clear on what your common goals are and how you want to get there -Strategize how you will handle holiday get-togethers with in-laws and other relatives that are not that pleasant to be with And this is just the beginning. There is so much we can do to improve these marvelous relationships we've been given. Is it worth the cost? I think of it in terms of the old question at the end of life: Will you wish you had spent more time at work, or more time on your family and marriage? For most of us, the answer is clear. There is nothing in the end more important than our relationships to the people we treasure. The cost of taking yourselves to a counselor and working on life together is really nothing compared to the lifetime of joy and wonder that is possible with your partner.
The grocery bill, the car payments, the mortgage, the clothes for the kids and the thousands of other things we feel we must spend our money on will all argue against this couple counseling opportunity. However, I suggest that it is not an issue of whether you can afford it, but whether you can afford to not do it. Is your relationship really good enough for you, or do you wonder if there is more? Go for it! Grab all the love and togetherness you can get! And use a counselor to help you see what you may be missing.
Steve Roberts, "The Couples Guy," is an experienced Marriage and Family Therapist who shares tips and real life relationship secrets from over 20 years of practice. Get Insight and Wisdom at: http://www.whatworksforcouples.com/