Does Couples Therapy Work? What You Need To Know

Does Couples Therapy Work? What You Need To Know


'Tis the season for weddings and all the stress that comes with planning for the big day. But what happens when the day ends and the marriage really begins?

I've noticed that although we do a lot to prepare for the wedding ceremony, not as much effort is put into preparing for the actual marriage? However, mental health and marriage health are both important. You really can't have one without the other.

Traditionally, topics like these have been taboo and approached with some resistance, especially in the African American community. However, consider a few reasons why counseling is good for not only you, but your marriage as well.

1.Every marriage is different. There’s no one solution for every marriage.

Getty Images

"Marriage is the collision of two histories, but you have to be willing to create your own history." In other words, my husband Eric is used to doing things a certain way and I am used to doing things a certain way based on what we both witnessed and experienced in our homes while growing up.

Hence, we had to find a happy medium that could work for us.

Everyone has different annoyances and pet peeves. Some people go back and forth about the toilet seat, how the toilet paper roll is placed, or how to load the dishwasher. On the other hand, other couples may have more complicated concerns like communicating effectively, discussing finances, having children, or divvying up household or work responsibilities. It varies from couple to couple; not to mention, personalities differ from person to person.

Hence, what may work for another couple may not apply to or work for your relationship. As much as I love my in-loves (in-laws) and as much as I can learn from them having been married for 40+ years, I also understand that our marriage will not and cannot be exactly like theirs. Moreover, just because your parents or your family and friends never went to counseling doesn't mean it's not worth a try for you. Counseling can help couples discover and figure out methods and tools that can be applied specifically for your marriage.

2.Counseling can help prevent single issues from becoming marital issues.  

Let's be honest – all of us have issues. At a conference a while back, I heard someone say, "You don't have marriage issues, you have single issues." Simply stated - what we go through affects how we go through life. So, sometimes the situation you're facing is really an underlying issue from your single life that's being projected onto your marriage and showing up as a marital issue.

For instance, some couples may think they're arguing about having children, when in actuality the husband or wife is actually hesitant or unsure about having children because their parents neglected them, or because of something that happened to them when they were a child. An argument that appears to be about finances or saving money could really be the residue from someone who is afraid of being broke because they experienced poverty and had to struggle most of their life, or they were never taught how to successfully manage their finances.

I remember early on when Eric and I used to have disagreements and major blow-outs. He thought abruptly leaving the house during an argument was totally acceptable. For him, it was a great way great way to manage his anger and refrain from saying something really hurtful ...so he thought. While his intentions appeared to be pure and logical, he didn't understand how it stirred up feelings of abandonment and actually showcased his lack of ability to control his anger. Hence, once we got to know each other more through counseling, he vowed to never do that again. Even now, when we have a disagreement, he may take some time alone and go to another room, but no longer will he just up and leave me.

Also, I used to get so mad if he didn't do something that he said he was going to do…no matter how big or small the task. However, through self-reflection and counseling as well, I realized that was really a trigger for me because my biological father (who was never a part of my life) would always do the same thing. It was as if my "dad" would make promises just to break them and in turn, break my heart. Hence, when Eric would do it, I often lashed out on him without even knowing the true root of my frustration. Now, I'm much more cognizant of it and try to be more mindful of how I react towards him.

By acknowledging things like this and being self-aware, you're better able to identify and manage certain triggers that you may not have been aware of previously. You're less likely to "major in the minor" because you're no longer allowing small things to turn into big arguments…which in turn, can result in a more peaceful, healthier, and happier marriage.

3.Counseling can serve as an unbiased mediator.

Getty Images

I remember when we first got married, neither one of us really knew how to handle confrontation. We knew how to communicate but we didn't always know how to communicate effectively. Eric has his way of dealing with things and I had my way, but those methods often clashed. Nevertheless, we had to learn how to talk to each other.

We've had to learn how to "fight fair" and what it means to fight harder for each other than against each other.

For example, we have embraced the idea that hitting below the belt with our words is unacceptable and something we will strive to avoid. Now, do we get it right all the time? Absolutely not, but I can honestly say that as we approach year eleven, we've come a long way compared to our first year.

Bringing in an unbiased, outside, trusted opinion can help calm the waters, as well as provide a different perspective and possible resolution that may not otherwise would have been considered.

4.Counseling is another form of self-care. 

As women, we often fill up our calendars and schedules with things for everybody else, but then we forget about ourselves. Counseling can simply be another way to ensure we make time for our own self-care.

If you've ever received a physical massage, then you know just how great they feel. For me, counseling is similar because instead of getting a physical massage, it's like I'm getting a mental massage. Plus, you get to talk and share whatever you're thinking and feeling with someone other than your spouse (something I'm sure my spouse appreciates because I can talk a lot) and without feeling like you're going to be judged.

Counseling has truly been an eye-opening and healing experience for me personally, and I hope it's helped to make me an even better wife.

Featured image by Getty Images

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

5 Crucial Financial Questions You Should Be Asking Your Partner

7 Honest Truths About Love & Relationships

How Disagreements About Money Can Ruin Relationships

6 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Ending Your Marriage

Your October 2022 Horoscopes Are All About Finding Flow & Alignment

October is a month of balance. With some energy moving direct and some energy moving retrograde, there is a middle ground to find this month between what is unfolding and what you are letting go. The month begins with Mercury officially moving out of retrograde and going direct in Virgo. Mercury this month is cleaning house and sprucing things up after the somewhat tyrant energy it’s brought over the past few weeks. Now that Mercury is direct, there is less interruption when it comes to daily flow and plans, and this is a good month to start setting things into motion.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.
The Myth Of The Sex Drive & How Libido Changes From Your 20s, 30s, 40s & 50s

No one prepared me for how horny I would be in my late 30s. All the elders in my life prepared me for random chin hairs, weight gain, and menopause but no one said a mumbling word about my sex drive. Something happens the closer you get to forty. I went from wanting sex here and there to wanting it all the damn time. Is there a support group for this? I can’t be the only one who has the sex drive of the Energizer Bunny. Upon my research to figure out why I felt like a cat in heat, I discovered several theories surrounding women and our sex drives–including one that says the concept of having a sex drive is a myth altogether.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive: Da’Vinchi On Protecting His Peace & Why He Prioritizes Mindset Over Looks In Dating

Da’Vinchi has appeared in many television series such as All American and Grown-ish but it was his role in BMF as Terry Flenory that helped propel his career forward. Since starring in BMF, he made his Broadway debut with Thoughts of a Colored Man and is currently shooting an undisclosed movie in Vancouver. The 26-year-old actor is beginning to see the fruits of his labor and so it’s hard to imagine that he almost went in a different direction. Da’Vinchi spoke with xoNecole’s Dana Blair for our xoMan series about acting, being a sapiosexual, and protecting his peace.

Keep reading...Show less
Black woman with an afro and tube top laughing

If you have been on social media for any significant amount of time this year you may have come across women saying that they are in their “villain era.” For these women, being a villain means embracing the negativity and judgment from others that comes when you say “no” to people, and living your life unapologetically. For them, being a villain means letting the chips fall where they may when you no longer allow other people’s ideas about you to restrict you from living the life that you want and deserve.

Keep reading...Show less
Niecy Nash Says Her Relationship With Jessica Betts Is The First Time She Has Felt 'Fully Seen'

When Niecy Nash-Betts announced she was married to musician Jessica Betts, many people were surprised. The Emmy-nominated actress has a history of dating only men and was even married twice prior to meeting her wife. However, Niecy has become an example of the saying “love is love” and she and Jessica have been open about their relationship ever since.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts