Honestly, when you are in a good place with one another is a great time to get support for your relationship. One of my main goals as a counselor is to help change the way people think and feel about counseling. I want individuals and couples to take a proactive approach to their mental and relationship health instead of a reactive one. Why? Just like the physical body, it is easier and often quicker to heal from an illness or injury when your body and immune system are healthy. Getting plenty of exercise, eating healthy, and sufficient rest are proactive things that we do to stay healthy physically.
Most couples seek the help from a counselor when they are in crisis resulting from spending months and sometimes years in unrest. In other words, their relationship immune system is very unhealthy. When the relationship immune system is weakened, there is very little tolerance for each other, and most conversations occur from a place of defensiveness.
I want people to see counseling as a preventative measure especially when the symptoms of disconnection are just starting. Couples have a higher tolerance for each other and are more receptive to try different connecting activities when they still like each other. ? Also, being vulnerable with each other isn’t as scary when you still feel safe with one another.
Highly conflictual couples have a very low tolerance for each other. Mistrust and operating from hurt feelings, make it very difficult for partners to be vulnerable with one another. This puts a strain on the relationship which then puts more pressure on the couple during the repair process. Couples can get past this rough phase of the repair process; it just requires more vulnerability and effort from them.
My recommendation is to either do biannual or early check-ups with a counselor when your relationship is healthy. You can attend workshops, retreats, and read books together throughout the year as maintenance also. Most importantly, keep the mindset of dating as you intentionally set aside special time to just enjoy each other.
There is no such thing as a conflict-free relationship. Stressful situations will arise. The health of your relationship will determine how impactful the conflict will be on the relationship. Be careful not to dismiss the little pangs that you feel because those have the potential to grow into major issues. The earlier you get support, the better off you will be and your relationship. Remember this golden nugget: a long hug a day will significantly boost your relationship immune system. ???