“Couples therapy” and “couples counseling” usually mean the same thing. There is no difference between them on a technical level.
The only context in which it matters what the session is called is a legal one; in some places, you must have a special certification or license to practice “therapy” that is more difficult to obtain than the certification or licensing to practice “counseling.”
Whether you call it couples therapy or couples counseling, this type of engagement with a qualified professional provides couples with an opportunity to work through their most difficult or emotionally challenging problems.
These problems can range from simple communication issues or significant disagreements to substance abuse issues and psychological disorders (Bonior, 2017).
While couples therapy can be a great way to reconnect with your partner or mend the differences between you, there are many ways to make sure you keep the spark alive and the relationship healthy without seeing a professional. There are many resources out there that draw from theories or research in couples therapy.
It’s never too late (or too early) to start putting a little more effort into your relationship. If you would like to improve your connection, choose one or two of the activities and exercises described below to practice with your partner.
If you are a marriage and family therapist or couples counselor, consider sharing some of these activities and exercises with your clients.
What Are the Best Relationship Activities for Couples?
There is no one “best” activity that couples can engage in to build a healthy relationship and fend off divorce or separation because each couple will have their own best practice.
For some couples, it may be engaging in a shared hobby together, like bike riding, playing a beloved game, or playing music together. For others, it may be the long talks they often have when looking up at the stars, over morning coffee, or lying in bed at night.
No matter what this activity is, the only things that matter are that the activity:
- Is something you can do together
- Is something you can do regularly
- Is enjoyable (or at least not unpleasant) for both partners, and
- Is something that allows you to communicate in a healthy and productive way.
These four criteria don’t narrow down the world of activities very much, and that’s how it’s meant to be. The prescription for a good relationship for one couple may not work for another couple, and vice versa. Each relationship is unique and should be appreciated and tended to as the unique connection that it is.
If you’re stumped on what activity might be best for you and your partner, the following exercises may be a good place to start.