Why You Should Still Seek Couples Counseling If You Have A Healthy Relationship

Like many other types of therapy, there's often a stigma attached to couples counseling. Many people might believe professional help is a last resort for an already-damaged relationship and would avoid counseling until they're on the brink of breaking up. And while couples counseling can be useful for pairs struggling with serious issues (such as finding out your partner cheated on you), it can also be helpful for couples with a healthy relationship.

Think of your relationship like you would a car. "Just like we (hopefully) don't wait till our cars are broken down to take them into the mechanic, regular tune-ups can help people, too," Andrea Wachter, a psychotherapist, author, and Insight Timer teacher, told The Zoe Report. Or, consider couples counseling the same as going to the dentist: "Thinking of couples therapy as only for those in dire straits is analogous to thinking of a dentist as only for tooth pulling and not for routine cleaning and maintenance," David Bowers, a couples and family therapist, explained to Healthline.

No matter which metaphor you prefer, relationships deserve some TLC before things have a chance to go south. Spending time with your bae on the therapist's couch might be exactly what you need to keep the love alive for years to come.

Couples counseling could prevent future problems

There's no way to guarantee a relationship will last, but couples counseling might be the next best thing, even if you already have a healthy partnership. According to research by The Gottman Institute, preventative couples counseling is three times more effective than intervention. In other words, your relationship is much more likely to be successful if you seek help before you run into trouble.

If you think you already have the tools needed to keep your relationship strong, couples counseling can still be useful in reinforcing those positive traits and habits. "Even if you're not having any active arguments, couples therapy can be a really good place to affirm your connection and build on the strengths you have," Andrea Battiola, owner and psychotherapist at Peak Couples and Sex Therapy, revealed to USA Today. "Couples therapy is actually best to avoid getting into the crisis in the first place by helping set a foundation for any storm that will come your way."

How exactly does couples counseling prevent future relationship problems? As GoodTherapy explains, a counselor can help you and your partner understand each other better and learn how to manage disagreements in constructive ways. These insights can empower you to act with empathy and solve conflict before it snowballs.

A professional can help you navigate changes together

If you're in a healthy, thriving relationship, chances are you'll want to pursue some major milestones together. You might talk about moving in together, getting married, or starting a family. These exciting life changes can all be ways of celebrating the love you and your S.O. share, but they can also invite some new challenges (such as learning how to split expenses after deciding to live together or suffering a sexual dry spell after having kids).

That doesn't mean you shouldn't take your relationship to the next level. Instead, consider seeking couples counseling to help you and your boo iron out any unexpected kinks (because, trust us, there will be kinks) that may come up. For those thinking of tying the knot, a 2012 study published in The Family Journal demonstrated how effective premarital counseling can be. In the study, couples who attended an average of eight sessions experienced higher relationship satisfaction and significantly lower levels of individual distress. Other event-related therapy can also benefit couples, such as pre-baby counseling. "Don't wait until after [the baby arrives]," Kellie Wicklund, a licensed psychotherapist and owner and clinical director of the Maternal Wellness Center in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, told Pregnancy & Newborn. "Couples counseling before baby comes can help things stay on track once the baby arrives."

Remember, when life changes, so does your relationship. Don't be afraid to reach out for help before entering a new stage as a couple.