I recently heard what I found a profound piece of advice, but I wanted to take it a bit further.
Are you a mechanic? No? So when your car needs something worked on (or even general maintenance) do you do it? No. You take it to a mechanic.
Are you a doctor? No? So when you are not feeling well, need a vaccine, general check up, or surgery what do you do? Of course you go to a doctor.
Are you a teacher? No? So when it comes to educating yourself or your children you send them to school or you go to a university.
Are you a therapist or relationship expert? No? So when you and/or your relationship are struggling, or to simply promote their general health, why wouldn’t you visit an expert?
Why is there often an aversion to therapy? Why do some (myself included) feel ashamed? Or, for those accepting of self therapy, why do couples resist counseling (often until it is too late)?
If you wait until your car tire blows while going 70 miles an hour on the freeway with your entire family, there will be much greater consequences than having your tires balanced, rotated, and changed regularly by a licensed professional.
If you wait until you are having a mental breakdown or you and your partner are separated, there will be equally greater consequences. We all deserve to invest in ourselves and our relationships AT LEAST as much as we invest in our cars, our health, and our education. Truly, however, we should invest in ourselves and relationships more than any of these other things. Unfortunately most of us, myself included, do not do this.
I speak from my own experience in recognizing that there is often a stigma around seeing a therapist. I pushed against it for a long time. I finally went, the first time more than a decade ago, because I didn’t know what else to do. I had tried everything else so why not this. My issues weren’t surrounding depression, but it doesn’t matter what the "issue" is, we should invest in correcting it as early as possible to prevent greater damage to ourselves and those around us.
The original piece of advice I heard, and immediately connected with was specifically regarding relationships. The advice was to go to couples counseling early and often, especially when there are “no problems.” I truly believe this type of therapy could be extremely beneficial in many (if not all) relationships. Go to counseling while things are “working” so you can correct on anything you might not even realize isn’t working before it causes the machine to break down.
You never fight? Why is that? You think you communicate well? What aren’t you saying? You think their habit is cute now? Will it still be endearing in 10 years or will it become annoying?
We, myself included, need to abandon the shame and self consciousness around seeking professional advice for ourselves and our relationships. No one is perfect. No one is an expert at everything. I look forward to my therapist sessions because I know how I have benefitted form them over the years. I look forward to working through issues with a partner in the future and ensuring we learn to communicate in a healthy and effective way for ourselves and each other.
I look forward to continue to invest in myself and my relationships with as much consciousness, expense, and effort as I put into other things in my life. I recognize the benefit of experts in many other aspects and appreciate the insight I have recently been given in doing the same for my mental and emotional well being not just the physical and tangible.