The older I get, and the more serious of a relationship I find myself in, I come to a point where I feel that outside help will be a benefit to my partner and I. And I mean more than just talking to your girlfriends, your crew, co-workers or parents. I mean…professional help. I’m going to say something that may seem a bit controversial, but hear me out. “Every couple…even you…should speak to a counselor/therapist/mediator at some point in your relationship.” To be honest, I’m not sure how some couples make it without outside help.
Think of it this way. How many things do we do to prevent issues with our automobiles? It’s like preventive maintenance for your relationship. We regularly get our oil changed, tires rotated, etc. The same approach should be done with anyone that you plan or are planning to spend a substantial amount of your life with. But why? What’s the point of seeking outside help?
Just like you shouldn’t drive a car off the lot and when it first shows issues do you take it to a shop; the same shouldn’t be done with a relationship. You can go along the road of life, hoping your relationship runs smooth and maybe you will have one bump that requires attention. Or that one bump, because it hasn’t been treated sooner, becomes a huge front end blowing problem. You do the work to prevent bigger issues. Now, is this to say that it will work all the time? Hell no. There are some major issues that are unforeseen.
For most couples, the biggest issues usually revolve around four things: Money, Children, Sex and Communication. Some of these are issues that can be tackled before problems occur, simply by having in-depth conversations. And I mean, the conversations that may be uncomfortable. For example, I don’t want to have children. I never really did. I’ve always been very frank and open about this, early on in all of my major relationships. And with the exception of my marriage, I’ve always told my partner there is nothing they can do to change that fact. So the conversation became, “If you want to be with me, this has to be something we both agree on, or you need to be with someone else.”
That isn’t a fun conversation and it can bring up bigger issues down the road. But for me, having that talk early on, saves a lot of heartache. But what if you’re someone who is ok with say, not having kids and your partner at first feels the same way, and then over time that changes? What do you do? Well I promise you, issues will arise. The conversations will turn into disagreements, then to bickering, then to arguing or worst. That’s where getting outside help can be of benefit.
For one, it allows a neutral party to sit and listen to both sides and give counsel that doesn’t benefit that person. Whether we want to say it or not, when we ask our friends or loved ones for advice, there is always a part where it can benefit one person in the relationship more so than the other. It’s natural, they’re your friend. A third person outside of your circle can look at things truly objectively. Another reason to talk to a professional, is to shed light on any potential issues that may come down the road. “Ma’am, you’re gonna need an alignment soon.” AKA “So how do you get along with her mother?” This is a great time to openly and honestly, talk about things that may be on your mind that you fear to bring up in casual conversation. Or maybe even things, that you haven’t really thought about, but should talk about.
And what kind of help should you seek? I’m not going to tell you that you need to see a licensed therapist/counselor or a minister or even a doctor. Find someone who works for both of you. It could be any of the aforementioned professionals. Most importantly, it should be someone that you both trust and can speak openly with. The important thing to remember, is that this a process. I’m not also telling you that you should speak to someone weekly or monthly. But that you should give it a try. Maybe you will find that like a tune up, it’s something you do every few months. Either way, there is no harm in lifting the hood of your relationship and see how things are running. In the end, it will truly help it perhaps run a little smoother.
That is…unless you’re planning on an upgrade! (lol)