This is a wonderful question. When I hear this, I understand it from two different lenses. First, many people often mistake the absence of arguments, or fighting, as a “healthy marriage.” That may not always be the case, though. Second, therapy can assist couples in all stages of health, not just the worst of the worst. Let’s dive into these perspectives a little closer.
Is a conflict-less marriage a healthy one?
Conflict is a complex issue in every relationship, not just marriage. Just because there isn’t an argument doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem. Many couples (incorrectly assume) that just because they are not arguing every day means that the marriage is on the right track. Conflict in a marriage is not a bad thing, nor is the absence of argument necessarily a good thing. Here are a few things to consider:
- Is there conflict present, and you and your partner are engaging in avoidant behavior?
Some couples may not fight but also may not healthily resolve issues. Engaging in stonewalling behavior, defined by the Gottman Institute as the “…listener withdrawing from the interaction, shutting down, and stopping responding to their partner,” may not cause disruptions externally, but it can cause disruptions internally. Therapy can help you and your partner understand why you avoid conflict and engage in conversation in a healthy well.
- Have you misdefined what a healthy marriage looks like?
One of the first questions I ask couples in therapy is: What is your definition of a healthy marriage? If you or your partner grew up in an argumentative or verbally explosive environment, it can be easy to assume that a relationship with no arguments is good. We may avoid conflict because we have not seen (or we don’t know) how to handle conflict healthily. Conflict does not have to be the big bad monster of your marriage. You do not have to stuff down every disagreement to have peace in your marriage. Therapy can teach you proven tools to refine your communication techniques and have a healthy marriage, even with conflict.
Therapy is more than just crisis care.
Therapy is not just an emergency response to a crisis. Therapy can provide instrumental support for couples who want to ensure they are getting things right. Many people utilize the doctor’s office for a myriad of reasons. Some come for a yearly check-up to guarantee things are in working order. Others may come to the doctor for a specific problem. Similarly, ineffective communication is not the only issue in a marriage that can be addressed in therapy. Here are a few other reasons why you and your spouse may want to consider couples therapy:
- Bring difficult disagreements to resolution.
- Planning for upcoming life transitions (ex. becoming empty nesters or preparing to bring an aging parent into the home).
- Learning more tools and better techniques to communicate more effectively.
Whether it’s struggling with intimacy or disagreeing about finances, couples therapy could be the answer to turn your marriage from good to great.
Schedule an intake session.
People assume couples therapy can only help those in the worst positions in their marriages. While this is true, therapy is a multifaceted discipline, serving couples in all stages of health. My goal is to assist couples in marriage in whatever place they find themselves. If you’ve considered therapy for any reason, SEVN Therapy Co. has made scheduling an intake session as easy as possible. Click here to schedule a session with me online or call us today at 817-778-0522.
Alicia Williams, LPC-Associate
Supervised by Erin James, LPC-S