Both actors -- who married in 2013 -- praised their decision to participate in couples therapy as a way of preventing problems before they become an issue in their marriage. "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," Shepard told Good Housekeeping. "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."
Bell elaborates, "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."
The 34-year-old actress admits that at first she thought she had relationships "down pat" when she met her husband, but later realized she needed "a much bigger toolbox to have confrontations and disagreements with people."
Shepard, 40, agrees the differences between him and his wife is what spurred him to consider therapy. "When I met her and her friends, I was suspicious of their unbridled happiness. I thought, 'Something stinks here; they're in a cult.' But slowly I began to see her positive way of looking at the world," the Parenthood star explains. "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."
The couple are proud parents to two daughters, Lincoln and Delta Shepard, and while Bell says parenting is time consuming, she calls the experience "unmissable."
"Dax hasn't gone to the bathroom solo in three months, because Lincoln is obsessed with him! But other than the sleep deprivation in the beginning and trying to figure out how not to screw your kid up, the rewards are mountains larger than the battles," she quips. "Lincoln just started singing her ABC's yesterday. I left the house and she was singing a sloppy version of it, and I just had a huge grin on my face."