By Amy Freier, LCPC, CST
We often get asked the question, “If we’re already seeking therapy before we even get married, shouldn’t we just break up?” We offer a resounding “NO!” as a response. We believe that seeking therapy at any point shows that you value your wellbeing, and that doing so before deciding to commit yourself to marriage can set you up for a healthy, supportive, understanding, and engaged long-term relationship.
Dr. John Gottman, one of the leading researchers on love and relationships, found that, on average, couples wait an average of six years of being in an unhappy relationship before seeking help. SIX. YEARS. That’s six years of arguments…built up resentment…faulty narratives…toxic negative feedback loops…unhealthy patterns…shall I go on? The impact (both relationally and individually) of these unhappy six years is staggering, and usually avoidable! This is why we strongly support seeking therapy together at some of the first signs of distress in order to effectively learn how to:
Communicate your emotions, needs, desires, and distress
Resolve conflict and heal as a partnership
Talk about triggering topics, such as sex, family, and finances
Listen and hear your partner, not just wait for your turn to talk
Plan for the future together
Challenge faulty narratives about one another and see one another with fresh eyes
Learning and practicing these important skills early sets the tone for a healthy, happy long-term relationship (whether or not you decide to get married).
While all of us here at Spark Chicago Therapy offer counseling for folks wanting some pre-marital prep, both Amy Freier, LCPC, CST and Amy Stewart, LMFT, CST are both trained specifically in providing quality premarital counseling as a certified Prepare/Enrich Facilitator. They work with the Prepare/Enrich online assessment tool to help provide powerful insights about your relationship’s strengths and areas of needed growth, guided feedback, and integrated, custom exercises to further improve your partnership. Contact us for more information!