Trying to land the right therapist can be difficult. For my husband and me, it has been an ongoing journey that, honestly, never quite worked out the way we planned or imagined. However, through our willingness to seek help, practice empathy, and ask each other difficult questions, we’ve learned some pretty valuable relationship therapy lessons along the way.
Talk about your therapy expectations early-on in your relationship
Once my husband and I decided to get married, I intuitively thought clinical therapy was the next step. My husband-to-be, however, had never really considered it. We talked about the pros and cons of both traditional psychotherapy and spiritual counseling for months. We debated about why I thought spiritual counseling, without complementary clinical therapy, seemed one-sided and left tons of room for bias. We also addressed why he felt allowing total strangers to weigh in on the nuances of our personal life seemed thoughtless and intrusive.
Related: Black Women Need Therapy, Too
I quickly realized that the therapy talk may have been worth a convo before the ring, just to help set and manage both of our expectations. We came from different schools of thought and working through our differences took time and intention.
Consider your partner’s comfort and offer to compromise
After months of conversation, we agreed on spiritual therapy, led by a pretty progressive pastor in Brooklyn. Neither of us had spent a ton of time in church growing up, but we were both spiritual people who enjoyed a good sermon now and then. I also rationalized that “some” counseling must be better than none. In the end it was also important to acknowledge my husband’s need to take baby steps into this unfamiliar area of intimacy. Maybe if this went well he’d be open to taking therapy a step further. We were both compromising which is 80% of what marriage is about.