A Little Upkeep Can Lead to a Healthy Relationship
Going to therapy. Also known as a last resort for couples on the brink. More often than not, it's seen as the place where couples decide if they will stay together or go their separate ways. As a mental health professional, I can tell you that this idea, couples therapy as a last resort, is all too common. It's rare to meet with two individuals who would use the word 'healthy' to describe their relationship. Cue Kristin Bell and Dax Shepard. In 2015, the couple shared their secret to a happy marriage with Good Housekeeping (article linked below). What's their secret? Couples therapy, and lots of it.
In the interview, the two go back and forth about how important therapy has been to their relationship. Bell compares therapy to having a trainer, sharing "you do better in the gym with a trainer; you don't figure out how to cook without reading a recipe. Therapy is not something to be embarrassed about". Her point is well-articulated. Relationships, like the abs you're growing in the gym, will not develop without effort and steady support from the experts.
Shepard speaks to his previous experience of not seeking the guidance of an expert soon enough. He shares that waiting until 'the point of no return' was his biggest mistake, explaining that "we went to couples' therapy at the end, and that's often too late. You can't go after nine years and start figuring out what patterns you're in".
From a professional point of view, Bell and Shepard touch on two important points. First, the fact that seeking out an expert is not something to be embarrassed about. When your tooth hurts, you go to the dentist. When your taxes are tricky, you call an accountant. So why should your relationship be any different? Second, the fact that waiting until you are at the point of no return isn't the best idea. Just like your overall health, being preventative instead of reactive gives you and your relationship the best chance of success.
Ultimately, the interview highlights how therapy can be one of the best gifts you give not only to yourself, but also your relationship. Kudos to Kristin and Dax for sharing their story!