It can be difficult, even scary to reach out for help when our relationship is challenged. Let’s face it, we are taught that we should know how to have a healthy relationship on our own. We shouldn’t need help from a therapist. What if therapy opens up some bigger issues that we are not ready to face? These are normal thoughts when it comes to deciding on whether or not to attend couples therapy.

Most of us learn what a relationship is supposed to look like from what is modelled to us through our caregivers. While some relationships model healthy behaviours and attachment, others quite the opposite.

There is a societal idea that couples therapy is something we seek out when we are close ending our partnership, it is seen as a last chance to save our relationship. In a relationship there are many dynamics involved; our past family attachments, our past relationships, our past experiences, our current relationship, our current life situation and more. That is a lot to deal with.

So we often put off reaching out to a couples therapist for different reasons. We wait and wait and wait until we hit a point in our relationship where we can no longer work through the challenges on our own and need help. It is at this point that many couples reach out for therapeutic support. This is brave, this is strength and we as therapists are happy to support couples on their journey wherever they may be. It is during these times that there is often a whirlwind of challenges and multiple hurts to unpack and therapy can be emotionally draining, require a lot of effort and be financially tough on our bank accounts.

I wonder what would happen if we looked at couples therapy another way? What if we looked at couples therapy as a way to check in on our relationship when we first notice things are not going well or we are feeling off?

What if couples therapy was a way to work on our challenges as a couple when they occur as opposed to years down the road?

Relationships are hard work, some days harder than others. They take time, effort, introspection. We are bound to have multiple moments where we struggle as an individual, as a couple and as a family. What if we reached out when our relationship is inevitably going through a sticky point?

What if we didn’t wait until years of pain and struggle and challenges overwhelmed us toward ending of our relationship?

I often ponder on how different couples therapy would look if we sought out support the same way we go to the Dentist, or to the Doctor. What if we did regular check ups on our relationship? Could we gain the skills that many of us weren’t taught from our caregivers? Could we learn to understand our partner better? Would it cost less money, less time and less rifts to our commitment if we reached out earlier and made couples therapy a regular routine?

I wholeheartedly imagine it would.