This Is Why Dax Shepard Thinks Every Couple Should Go to Counseling
Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell seem to be one of the most authentic couples in the entertainment industry. Despite the constant spotlight, they’re always goofing around with each other and proving just how much they’re in love. Many have idolized their relationship, but Shepard wants you to know that it doesn’t come without hard work.
While appearing on The Ellen Degeneres Show, Shepard whipped out his own counseling skills for members of the audience. Here’s why he thinks every couple should go to counseling, as well as other benefits he and Bell have addressed in the past.
1. He got real about this audience member’s relationship issues
During the “Ask Dr. Dax Shepard” segment on Ellen, an audience member named Courtney Hudson approached Shepard with communication issues in her relationship. “Me and my boyfriend, whenever we argue, he just gives me the silent treatment and he just sits there and makes me feel like a crazy person,” Hudson confessed. “What conflict resolution skills would you give to a young couple?”
Instead of starting off with direct advice, Shepard proceeded to ask Hudson some seemingly irrelevant questions. “Are you a transmission mechanic?,” he asked, to which Hudson replied, “No.” Shepard continued, “If your transmission broke, would you and your boyfriend try to fix it?” Hudson admitted that she would probably take it to the auto shop, to which Shepard added on, “Right, because you care about your car.”
Finally making his point, Shepard compared a mechanic to a relationship counselor. He explained that if you care about your relationship, “you should show it the same respect you’d show your car.”
2. He shared how it’s helped his marriage
Shepard isn’t just an expert on relationship counseling because he studies up on it in his free time. He has real experience from his marriage to Bell, who is also known to be quite open about their relationship. He admitted, “Kris and I started right out of the gates. It’s a great way to prevent terrible patterns from starting, as opposed to doing it way late and trying to unravel terrible patterns.”
3. He’s aware of the negative connotations
This definitely wasn’t the first time Shepard has raved about the benefits of counseling, as he opened up about the topic to Good Housekeeping in 2015. However, it doesn’t come without his awareness that counseling tends to indicate trouble in a relationship.
“I noticed an actor and her husband on [a recent cover of a celebrity tabloid] that said ‘In Couples’ Therapy!’ The clear message is, ‘Oh, their marriage is ending.’ There’s such a negative connotation,” he shared.
Linking to his advice that he provided on Ellen, he explained how therapy wasn’t able to save his previous relationship: “In my previous relationship, we went to couples’ therapy at the end, and that’s often too late. You can’t go after nine years and start figuring out what patterns you’re in.”
4. Bell shares the same philosophy
His wife revealed in the same 2015 interview that she wholeheartedly shares his views. Bell explained, “You do better in the gym with a trainer; you don’t figure out how to cook without reading a recipe. Therapy is not something to be embarrassed about.”
Considering it is a counselor’s job to guide relationships, it makes sense to see it as a positive effort, rather than as a band-aid over a wound.
5. It helps them exist peacefully
Shepard even revealed the moment early on in their relationship that he realized therapy would be the way to keep their relationship strong. Admittedly, he was a bit skeptical of the positivity Bell radiated, and it dawned on him that counseling would be the only way for them to coexist. He shared:
When I met her and her friends, I was suspicious of their unbridled happiness. I thought, “Something stinks here; they’re in a cult.” Slowly I began to see her positive way of looking at the world. She gives people the benefit of the doubt. There were hurdles, things she didn’t trust about me, things I didn’t trust about her. I just kept going back to, “This person has the thing I want, and I have to figure out how we can exist peacefully.” So we started [seeing a therapist together] right away.
6. It keeps their marriage healthy
They were quickly able to find trust in each other, ensuring their marriage would be a healthy one. Bell told People, “We have a very healthy marriage and we got there by doing therapy when we needed it, and constantly doing fierce moral inventories.”
She even opened up about a tactic they use to stay open and honest: “We both take responsibility when we are wrong, and I think it is easy to work with him because I married him, because I enjoy spending time with him and I trust him.”
7. It keeps them committed
Keeping in mind how happy and healthy their relationship is, it was a bit shocking to hear that Bell is “quite positive we are not meant to be monogamous.” She admitted, “It’s difficult, and it requires a lot of attention, vulnerability, and openness.”
That’s where therapy and open communication factor in. She revealed that Shepard is “very direct about his emotions and I’m grateful for that because it lets me in on the way he thinks as far as tending to our marriage — when we should go to therapy, when we have to be better at intimacy, all those things in order to meet each other’s needs.”
She continued, “He’s very open about what he needs to stay satisfied in our relationship, because if one partner isn’t satisfied, you just kiss it goodbye; somebody’s going to stray.”
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