When Is the Best Time to Start Couples Counseling?

There is a general tendency to seek couples’ counselling when your relationship is on life-support. Emotionally focused couples’ therapy is an effective method of coping with turbulence in a relationship…

How does it Help to Start Couples Counselling Sooner?

There is a general tendency to seek couples’ counselling when your relationship is on life-support. Emotionally focused couples’ therapy is an effective method of coping with turbulence in a relationship, but this wait proves a genuine misunderstanding of the purpose of couples’ therapy. It’s common for couples to associate counselling with plenty of stereotypes and even shame.

It’s normal to experience this anxiety. Opening up to a therapist can be hard, and finding a therapist who fits with your particular relationship can feel daunting.

But a couples therapist can work with you and your partner regularly. They can help you practice relationship skills and build a healthy partnership. 

Don’t worry about sounding professional. Sound like you. There are over 1.5 billion websites out there, but your story is what’s going to separate this one from the rest. If you read the words back and don’t hear your own voice in your head, that’s a good sign you still have more work to do.

Be clear, be confident and don’t overthink it. The beauty of your story is that it’s going to continue to evolve and your site can evolve with it. Your goal should be to make it feel right for right now. Later will take care of itself. It always does.

Let’s start by covering what you already know. If you and your partner are having the same fights over and over again, a therapist can help you. They can find the core of the problem. From there, you, your partner, and your counsellor can problem-solve and help the two of you find common ground.

Now, let’s review some reasons to start couples counselling before you have issues:

You’re thinking about getting married.

Premarital counselling is popular and encouraged in many religious institutions, but you can approach premarital counselling through a secular approach, too. If you’re engaged or you had to postpone your wedding because of the pandemic, take some time to speak with a therapist together.

Couples therapy sessions can give your relationship a solid foundation. By building your conflict resolution and communication skills before marriage, when things inevitably get rocky through the years, you’ll be equipped to deal with it together.

You’ve reached the end of the honeymoon phase.

When the butterflies go away and your new marriage has settled into a comfortable routine, some couples miss the infatuation phase of their relationship. If this transition is challenging for you or your partner, couples counselling is a brilliant solution.

Living together and realizing that perhaps your partner has a few quirks you didn’t know about before the wedding day can be challenging. It’s okay to talk with someone about it and work through these tiny annoyances together.

Besides, it’s better to talk now, when the annoyances are small, rather than waiting until minor frustrations become big issues.

You want to be parents.

Transitioning from engaged to wed is a big step. Deciding to start a family together is an even bigger, and sometimes more exciting one! That said, parenting is rewarding, but it’s also hard. Maybe you’re planning a pregnancy, or perhaps you’re already a few months in.

Either way, this is another huge transition, and getting the support you need through couples therapy is a perfectly legitimate way to build your confidence.

There are inevitable hurdles in parenthood. Who will be the primary caregiver and who will return to work? Do you both want to work from home or split the difference with childcare? Or maybe you have different ideas regarding discipline you want to work out before the baby arrives. Couples therapy is for you too.

You’re planning your retirement.

This is another phase of marriage when many couples overlook an opportunity to talk with a therapist. You and your partner may have different ideas about what to do with your retirement. Sometimes making decisions about money gets uncomfortable.

When discussing retirement, those decisions can sometimes open up discussions about your and your partner’s wishes when one of you passes. A therapist can help you navigate these conversations with transparency and compassion.

These and more are all valid reasons to pursue couples counselling. This therapy isn’t just for people who are surviving an affair or who struggle to communicate, though we’re here for those reasons as well.

Just like individual therapy, couples therapy is designed to nurture a healthy mental relationship, regardless of where you are in yours.


Medically Reviewed by Jack Hazan

Jack Hazan, MA, LMHC, CSAT, is a Licensed Professional Counselor who earned his Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from The University of New York. With a passion for helping individuals navigate life’s challenges, Jack has honed his expertise in various areas of mental health. He specializes in providing compassionate and effective treatment for challenges with relationships, intimacy, and avoidant behaviors associated with adult childhood trauma, depression, anxiety, codependency, addiction (including excessive behaviors related to sex, porn, and apps), LGBTQIA+ identity exploration, as well as impulsive behaviors (including ADHD).


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