Maintaining a relationship is difficult, what more when it comes to keeping a marriage intact. In fact, an average of 3 out of 1000 married couples in the U.S. broke up in recent years. Because of this, some married couples go to therapists and support groups for advice regarding their marital problems.
Over 21,000 therapists in the U.S. alone provide services for couples counseling. However, we do know that taking counseling services may be costly for most people, and not all couples have the time to spare in going to a counselor. But is it possible for animals to provide the said therapeutic effects? Does animal therapy have a positive impact on keeping a marriage healthy?
What Is Animal Therapy?
We all know that having a furry little friend around the house can be messy, but it sure does brighten your day. Having a pet in your home, whether it’s a dog, a cat, or a bird, can help you ease your stress from a long day of work.
They are just there to snuggle with you and listen to your story of a tiring day at work. They don’t complain, and most importantly, they don’t nag you about the things you did wrong. Simply put, pets are the perfect listeners, and cuddlers too. It’s no doubt that when animals come into the picture, we don’t just consider them as “pets,” but more like a family member.
Animal therapy is so much more than just having a pet for leisure. Some people have animals as their personal animal therapists, which help them cope up with stressful situations, and even with their health conditions. According to Chris Corbett, PsyD “There are many reasons why people come to therapy. Sometimes it is to deal with long-standing psychological issues or problems with anxiety or depression.”
Basically, they provide a sense of calmness and even a diversion from stress. Animal therapists are said to help people stabilize their emotions and improve their communication skills with other people. Because according to Agnes M. Boksa, PsyD, LP, “Emotional health plays a critical role in our overall health and life enjoyment.”
Animal Therapy In Marriages
How is animal therapy suited for fixing marital problems? Well, according to some psychologists at Florida State University, just by looking at pictures of dogs and animals, spouses began developing a positive reaction, and when they were shown pictures of their spouses in between of these pictures, they also began an association that positivity with their partners.
Simply put, animals elevate the mood of people even just through pictures. Imagine what progress it can make when a real dog was assigned there as their animal therapist. At the same time, having an animal therapist does not necessarily mean having to keep them in your own home, which makes it convenient for a couple not looking to own a pet, but want to interact with one.
However, it should be noted that even if animal therapy does provide therapeutic effects on married couples, they cannot guarantee to fix the entire marriage. Donna M. White, LMHC, CACP once said, “Many times I have heard couples say, “We know what’s wrong, but we just don’t know how to fix it.” They are just there to guide and support you and also ease the pain of what you are going through. It’s still you and your partner who can make the necessary changes to make things work in your marriage.