10 Ground Rules For Couples Therapy That Every Couple Should Know About

Last Update on October 23, 2023 : Published on May 10, 2021
Ground Rules For Couples Therapy

Does having ground rules for couples’ communication in a relationship sound a bit excessive? To some, it would mean taking away the freedom of open communication in a relationship but in reality, setting some ground rules can save your marriage.

In this article, we’ll explore what is couples therapy, why setting ground rules for couples therapy is important, and some fundamental ground rules for couples therapy that every couple should know about.

Why Having Ground Rules Can Help?

Having and setting ground rules for couples therapy can help both people in the relationship feel comfortable discussing their struggles and problems because this way they know that there is a framework they are following.

For these therapy ground rules to work, you need to abide by them and commit to them at 100%. This also means that the couple should agree with the therapy guidelines.

What kind of ground rules for marriage should you set?

It all depends on the couple, their needs, and their relationship. Sit down with your partner, review your relationship, and discuss what issues and rules you can settle on to help save your relationship.

So let’s begin!

Related: PACT: Psychobiological Approach To Couples Therapy

Ground Rules For Couples Therapy

Some of the fundamental points to keep in mind when it comes to couples therapy ground rules are:

1. Do Not Compare

It is easy to fall into the idea of marriage that movies and books portray but it’s not the reality. Social media images or movie images of a happy marriage can be deceptive. Whenever possible in couples therapy – and even beyond that – never compare your marriage or relationship to those of others.

Every relationship, every couple is different and they have different relationship struggles. You should remember that comparing your relationship with others can harm your relationship.

Also Read: Feeling Lonely In Your Marriage: Why & What To Do About It?

2. Do Not Criticise

Many people believe that by criticizing their partners they are helping them – it’s not true, sadly. If you’re in a relationship with your partner for decades, you know all about them – flaws included, so criticizing them is not the right thing to do.

If you don’t like your partner’s behavior, it is always better to talk to them about it rather than criticize them. Judging your partner is not the right thing to do in a relationship – marriage or not.

Also Read: How To Deal With Criticism Efficiently Without Being Depressed?

3. Always Listen

Sometimes someone says that they are listening but in reality all they are doing is hearing. There’s a difference between listening and hearing. In a relationship, when a couple is in a middle of a conflict they are too busy arguing that they forget to listen.

In our couples therapy guidelines, take time to listen to your partner and try to understand their point of view over a particular situation. When one is talking, the other should listen. Understanding each other’s point of view is one of the most important parts of having a successful marriage or relationship.

Also Read: Top 15 Couples Therapy Exercises To Try At Home

4. Communication Is Important

No matter how difficult a topic is, you need to communicate with your partner. Couple communication is key, remember that. Lack of communication is one of the biggest problems couples seek therapy for.

Not having open and honest communication can increase doubts and uncertainty in a relationship. Whatever the conflict or problem, remember that communication is key and can help you protect your relationship.

Also Read: 7 Keys To Building Stronger and Better Relationships in Your Life

5. Do Not Threaten

Another important rule for couples therapy is to not make threats against your partner. People in anger love throwing the word “divorce” in the middle of an argument. Do not do that. Don’t threaten your partner with divorce. Please take note that every relationship is based on the foundation of mutual trust, respect, and love.

This includes loyalty and commitment. Commitment brings security to your relationship and threatening your partner abuses that security.

6. Have Weekly Meetings

If you’re setting ground rules for marriage, this is an important one. Set weekly meetings with your partner/spouse and talk about good events and bad experiences that happened to you in the week. Each week, try to discuss the issues in your relationship and how you can work on them, together.

Apart from this, you can use these weekly meetings to appreciate and treat each other in the way you and your partner deserve. This will not only help you strengthen your bond but will also help your partner feel relaxed and appreciated.

7. Make Use Of Timeouts During Arguments

Timeouts are not just for kids. Using timeouts can help you stop arguments from escalating in a relationship. This rule is not just for marriage but for couples therapy as well. If you and your partner are visiting a couples therapist and an argument begins, you can just call for a timeout to cool down.

At home, a 20-minute break can be a good start and in couples therapy, a 5-minute break can work out well.

8. Do Not Argue In Front Of Others

Another important ground rule for marriage is to never fight in front of others. Neither you nor people around you want the argument to be aired. In a marital relationship, conflicts should be resolved when it’s just the two of you.

This rule can also work as a couples therapy guideline. Arguing in front of your therapist will not solve anything. Make sure you keep yourself calm and talk about your feelings and what’s bothering you instead of arguing in front of the therapist.

Also Read: Most Common Family Problems And What To Do To Resolve Those Issues

9. Do Not Accuse Your Partner

Accusations can hurt more than petty fights and arguments can. If you accuse your partner of something, it’ll only make things worse. Your partner will want to defend themselves and in the end, it will turn into a bigger argument instead of a resolution.

Instead of arguing or accusing, you can talk about how your partner’s actions are making you feel. Maybe then, they’ll understand your point of view.

10. Try And Be Specific About What’s Bothering You

Another rule for couple therapy that you should not forget is to be specific about your problems. Vague complaints about something can’t resolve anything. They don’t help make your partner understand what’s wrong. It’ll only confuse them more.

Make sure when talking to your partner, either at home or at couples therapy, you try to be specific about what’s bothering you. Only then, a resolution might appear.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q:1 What is the most common problem addressed in couples therapy?

A few of the most common problems addressed by couples in couples therapy can include communication problems, emotional unavailability, emotional immaturity, infidelity, intimacy issues, divorce or separation, and relationship trauma. Other than these, couples might seek couples therapy to better strengthen their relationship or improve their married life.

Q:2 How do couples communicate with therapy?

Couples can communicate with therapy by following these steps:

  • Talk about what’s bothering you at the right time. There’s always a right place and a right time to talk.
  • Understanding the other person’s perspective and putting yourself in their shoes to identify their basic, communication, and emotional needs.
  • Staying aware of the tone, language, and words spoken to your partner. You have to be aware of howyou’re speaking to your partner.
  • A good relationship involves equal giving and receiving. Be mindful of your actions and tune in to what you can give and not just what you can take.
  • Appreciation and praise are also important, even if you’re fighting with your partner. Remember, the right perspective can change how couples communicate.

Q:3 How do I start a couples therapy session?

To start a couples therapy session, you need to find the right couples therapist, identify the goal(s) of the couples therapy, and make sure your partner is on board with therapy. Keep in mind that couples therapy can be uncomfortable in the beginning.

You can make the therapy session easy by focusing on your actions, being honest (with yourself, your partner, and your therapist), and by being receptive to the suggestions made by the therapist. These points will ensure a successful couples therapy session.

Q:4 What is the goal of couples therapy?

The goal(s) of the couples therapy depends on the couple itself. Each individual, each couple, and each relationship is different and has a different dynamic. In this, a couples therapist can help.

They can help you identify your feelings, discuss issues with your partner, and teach you ways to resolve conflicts. You need to work with your partner and your therapist to determine the goal of couples therapy.

Also Read: 10 Healthy Tips To Help You Cope With Divorce & Separation

Final Thoughts

Ground rules for couples therapy and marriage are there to ensure that you respect each other’s boundaries and help guide your marriage or relationship in its growth. These couples therapy rules are more like a guide that will keep your relationship afloat if you feel it drowning.

Forcing these ground rules or guidelines on yourself or your partner can make you feel unhappy. Sit with your partner, discuss your problems, and set some ground rules for marriage.

Related: 6 Ways On How To Prepare For Couples Counseling

I hope these ground rules for couples therapy helped you and your partner in keeping your relationship healthy. Make sure you seriously abide by these rules for a successful and happy marriage.

Every couple in a relationship fights and argues but it does not mean that your relationship is not working. Communicate with your partner, listen to them, and make sure you understand their point of view as well.

For more on couples therapy, you can write to us at info@calmsage.com or follow us on our social media pages. You can also share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

Have a ground rule for marriage that you’d like to share with us? Share it with us by commenting below.

Love heartily, live happily.

Stay safe!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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