14 Women Reveal the Most Valuable Lessons From Couples Therapy (PHOTOS)

Wendy Robinson | Dec 28, 2015 Love & Sex

counselingWhether it is for solving a particular problem or for routine marriage maintenance, couples counseling can do wonders to help improve communication and marital satisfaction.

Whether it is remembering the importance of listening (#4) or the reminder that marriage should actually be fun -- at least sometimes (#8) -- here are 14 of the best pieces of advice to come out of couples therapy. No co-pay required!

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  • Babies Change Everthing


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    "After our baby was born, we were thrilled, but our marriage took some BIG hits. It felt like we were more of a family but less of a couple. Counseling helped us both understand that babies change a marriage -- sometimes for the worst at first, but that we could decide what we wanted the future version to look like." -- R.W.

  • Interesting to Her = Interesting to Me


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    "Things that are important to my wife should also be important to me -- because they are important to her." -- K.N.

  • The Baseline Agreement


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    "Set your baseline as: You love each other, you don't want out, you are committed. Now, when you communicate, you know these are always true. You can share and talk about anything, because of your baseline agreement." -- C.M.

  • Words Distract


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    "Listen to their hearts, not their words. Words distract. Listen to actions, not words." -- E.K.

    More from The Stir: 5 Ways Marriage Counseling is Good For Your Sex Life

  • Listen!


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    "VALIDATE! You don't have to agree with what they are saying, but just let them know that you are hearing what they've just said without jumping to defend yourself. Also, do something different than before. Because we all know the meaning of insanity is 'doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.' If you keep reacting the same way to a certain situation, the result will always be the same. " -- E.J.

  • Touch


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    "After having kids, we were starting to feel more like roommates than hot and heavy lovers. Our counselor remind us of the importance of touching outside of having sex as a way to stay connected. Hold hands, snuggle, play footsie -- married couples need to flirt too!" -- S.T.

  • On the Same Team


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    "Our biggest lesson was that we both desperately want to be on the same team, but we engage in a lot of old habits that make us seem like we're on opposite teams. But, just realizing that we both WANT to be on the same team was really helpful and encouraging." -- T.S.

    More from The Stir: Your Marriage Can Survive If You Let Go of the Past

  • Fun


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    "Our therapist was really big on reminding us that we needed to be more than just a problem-solving team. We also needed to have fun, alone and together, to remind us that we are more than just parents and an old married couple. We're training together for a half marathon now, and it really is great to spend time together not dealing with regular life stuff." -- D.F.

  • Find the Right One


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    "An important lesson for us was that you might need to try more than one therapist before you feel comfortable with the process. You need to have someone who makes sure you both feel heard and safe in the process." -- P.K.

  • Not All Marriages Make It


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    "I learned that not all marriages can be saved, and that isn't the worst thing. We started counseling to see if we could save our relationship but decided to divorce. We kept going to therapy though as it was helpful to have a place to grieve and process the end of a really important relationship." -- S.D.

  • Same Goals, Different Approach


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    "Realizing that we had the same goals but different approaches to them was HUGE for me. Like, we both want to be good parents. For my husband, that means lots of play and silly time. For me, that means making sure homework is done and meals are healthy. I used to get so annoyed with him for not caring about what I cared about, but now I realize he DOES CARE, it just looks different." -- B.N.

  • Lessons Learned


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    "It takes two to make a relationship work. And it takes at least one person to not want divorce at the same time -- and the other to rejoin and get recommitted for it to work. And affairs are cries for connection and help -- as long as the person can realize this and work towards that in their marriage instead. And divorce sucks ass and doesn't really fix anything, especially when you have kids." -- S.W.

  • Importance of Intimacy


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    "Rebuilding intimacy after having a baby can take a long time, but it's important. It takes intention. And intimacy doesn't have to mean sex -- you can flirt, kiss, etc., and it doesn't always have to lead to sex. This was a big one for us. I had NO desire for sex, but probably would have been up for other things. However, because I knew my husband immediately wanted sex if I even looked at him in a certain way, much less touched him, I started avoiding everything, which only led us down a destructive path. It was also incredibly helpful to have [a therapist who] treated me like a normal human being and didn't try to 'fix me' when I sought out help for sex issues post-baby." -- J.R.

  • Five Things


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    "Do or say five things a day that are positive interactions towards your spouse. As simple as a stroke across the back. (I know, cheesy but very effective.)" -- E.C.

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