Just like a car, your relationship can be “running ok” for a while before you notice that something may not be working as it should. And then maybe you start noticing something’s a little off, but you hope it’ll just take care of itself. This is when couples should NOT hesitate to get their relationship tuned up. However, the research shows that couples will stick out relationship issues for 6 years before getting help. 6 years.
Now I’m a big believer in resiliency and human’s capacity for change and growth, but 6 years is a long time to hang out with a problem. Without a doubt, that length of time with unresolved issues makes for so much resentment and hurt that it doesn’t leave a ton of space for fondness, admiration or intimacy.
In the shop
Many couples decide to try relationship therapy at the point that their trust, fondness, and friendship has been so worn down, that the relationship feels like a chore. Or even worse, a punishment. This means that working on fixing it is going to be harder and more time intensive. As a therapist I wish I had a magic wand that I could wave and POOF, everyone would be happy. But sadly. I don’t. When folks come in on that last relationship leg, it requires both me and them to roll up our sleeves and work really hard. Many times it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Regular Tune Ups
I never want to discourage couples from trying therapy, because it can absolutely do wonders for relationships if both partners are willing to work. However, If I could offer one piece of advice to any couple, it would be to make their relationship health a priority. Don’t wait for problems to get out of control. Prevention is easier AND cheaper. Make realtionship health a normal topic of conversation, so that both of you feel comfortable bringing up issues and asking for needs to be met.