In the United States, the divorce rate has exceeded 50 percent of successful civil and religious marriages. While some individuals seek to remarry, many are turning to the opposite end of the spectrum citing a freedom and sense of security without marriage. Whatever the domicile relationship, more and more couples, both married and unmarried, opt to attend couple’s therapy before cohabitating. It is within couple’s therapy that many adults uncover the trials and tribulations, as well as the benefits, of cohabitation and, from there, make the decision to marry or not.
For men, in particular, the decision to attend couple’s therapy is often viewed as an “in your face” approach by the partner to bring to the forefront relationship issues and concerns which are, generally, not pleasant to deal with. When, in fact, this is not always the case. For men, couple’s therapy should be viewed as an opportunity to take an active, leadership role in the relationship which is anticipated to move in a new direction leading to cohabitation. It is through couple’s therapy that a man is equipped with a platform in which to express his desire to move forward and to define his role within the family unit.
During couple’s therapy, fundamental relationship issues are addressed such as religion, child rearing and finances. However, based on the nature of the couple’s relationship, and the degree to which marriage and cohabitation may be on the horizon, the therapist can design a unique program for the couple offering professional counseling advice for situations ranging from children, step children, caring for in-laws and even long distance relationships.
While couple’s therapy is designed for both married and unmarried couples, the concept may prove most effective, in today’s society, when encouraged for couple’s who simply desire cohabitation. As a growing trend in house warming parties, many guests are choosing to provide couples with a package of five to 10 sessions with a couple’s therapist as a unique approach to encourage a life of happiness, even when marriage is not on the horizon. While this may seem rather offensive to some, the concept of giving relationship counseling advice as a gift should be viewed as an optimistic and progressive approach to support a growing relationship.
As with any life changing experience, understanding the issues which may arise, both directly and indirectly as a result of the change, will encourage a more pleasant transition through the experience. With many relationship counselors and educators taking a creative and dynamic approach to relationship education, individuals who cohabitate often find the experience to be rewarding and beneficial to the long term stability of the relationship.