According to Pew Research Center data, 69% of adults in the U.S. are “partnered,” meaning they are married, living with a partner, or in a committed romantic relationship. With Valentine’s Day approaching, these adults may be wondering how to celebrate their love and further cultivate and strengthen their relationship. The answer may lie in therapy—the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy reports that couples that attend therapy have a 98% success rate, proving therapy plays an enormous role in supporting relationships.
Marriage and family therapists are uniquely qualified to address marriage, couples, and family concerns—offering benefits beyond individual therapy, focusing on sexual matters, infidelity, child-rearing, and other shared concerns. In a typical session, therapists help couples reach a mutual understanding and establish a common ground. Therapy is usually solution-focused—the therapist can guide patients through their concerns or help them navigate an amicable separation.
Some things are inevitable; life changes or transitions, such as illnesses, having kids, or kids leaving the nest, are all potential issues for seeking therapy. Couples may also seek guidance when trust is broken or their goals need to be aligned. Marriage and family therapy helps both parties navigate their problems and reach the best possible outcome.
However, treatment is not reserved exclusively for such issues. A couple may decide to attend therapy to improve their relationship growth, connect more profoundly, or reinvigorate their relationship. Going to couples therapy is not a signifier of a bad relationship; seeking treatment when a relationship is in good standing or neutral can prevent future concerns.
Here are a few tips for sustaining healthy relationships:
· Be flexible with life changes and adjustments; it is natural for relationships to evolve over time
· Address relationship concerns proactively to prevent resentment and frustration
· Apologize to your partner when you are in the wrong
· Communicate effectively and regularly. Be honest with your partner about any anxieties or concerns.
This Valentine’s Day, let’s celebrate what it means to be in a healthy, sustainable relationship and consider the undeniable benefits of relationship therapy. Short-term benefits involve providing a safe space for the couple to express their concerns and learn coping and communication skills. In contrast, long-term benefits include enhanced intimacy and strengthened trust. The remarkable 98% success rate affirms the efficacy of couples counseling—a professional outlook can help couples manage expectations, modify unhealthy behaviors, and reach attainable goals. Naturally, improving a romantic relationship can lead to serendipitous results, such as increased happiness or improved quality of life in other areas. Relationships have become invaluable as our world grows more complicated; one should invest in our loved ones.
By: Dr. Jessica Popham, Albizu University