Have you ever considered using couples counselling?

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Have you ever considered using couples counselling?

Always being up for adventure and trying new things, my partner and I did something this week that we have never done before, and it was the best thing we ever could have done for our relationship.

What exciting new adventure did we embark on you ask? Well we aren’t swingers if that is what you are thinking. We actually went to couples counselling. The weird thing is that everyone we told immediately asked “oh my god, are you going to break up?” or “why, are things not going well?”. To be honest, we are probably in the best place that we have ever been in since we met. We very rarely argue, we speak respectfully to one another and we dote on our son. But there are a few things that could do with some tweaking. The big one for us is that we need to develop tools to help us to communicate more effectively. This is where the guidance of a counsellor comes in.

Parenting Challenges

Let’s face it, having a child impacts your relationship in ways you could never have imagined previously. Issues arise that you have never had to deal with before.

Having a child can highlight the differences that you have in how to raise children, which can create strain amongst couples. With one parent often being home to care for the child, or working part time and putting the child in day care, it can create financial stress as well as one partner feeling undervalued and underappreciated whilst adjusting to not contributing as much financially as they were previously.

It can feel as though one partner is bearing the weight of the housework whilst the other partner feels they are bearing the weight of the financial burden. And of course having a child impacts upon a relationship physically. How the hell are you meant to make time to create adult connections with one another with a child in your bed half or all the night?

You’ve been awake every few hours for feeds or to chase away monsters, you are drained from chasing sticky hands around the house all day or working 9-5 then racing back to day care, only to get home and cook dinner and bath the kids. By the time 9pm rolls around and the house is finally tidy and quiet, all you can think about is putting on your daggiest pjs, jumping in to bed and sleeping as much as possible because you are woken by cries in the night.

It’s true, having a kid can ruin your sex life. There is nothing sexy about feeling like a total mombie.

But there isn’t anything wrong with our relationship?

That’s not to say all or even any of these things will happen to every couple. For us counselling was to gain some skills and also reconnect as partners, outside of our roles as parents. My partner was sceptical about going, and when the counsellor asked her “why are you here today?” she literally replied “I don’t know”. I will admit that a part of me questioned going. I even asked the counsellor if we were crazy for going seeing as we don’t have any major issues. She explained to us that she sees two types of couples walk through her doors, the first being the couple who are at breaking point. They are close to or pretty much finished and they need help with navigating through the separation.

The Benefits

The other are couples like us, that come for what she likened to a yearly check up with the GP. Couples making sure they are on track and picking up some skills along the way to ensure the longevity of their relationship. We loved it so much we are now going back again regularly. We left the appointment and just that one hour of advice left us feeling accomplished and more in love than ever. It reiterated for us that we do make a good team, we are shooting for the same goals and we are going to last the distance.

I absolutely recommend couples counselling to everyone. Whether you are in a great place or you are at point break, that one hour could potentially change your life and the way you view your relationship.

We went through Relationships Australia, where the hourly fee is $75, or $35 if you have a Health Care Card. Our next date day will no longer be the movies, it will be counselling!

 

Carly is 30-ish, and living on the Gold Coast. She is a first time mumma to rainbow baby Oakland, 19 months. He was born after a long and painful IVF journey with her partner Alee. Average gardener, even more average writer, lover of cheese and chihuahuas. You can find and follow her here.

Carly Naughton -

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