Couples therapy first started growing in popularity in the early 1960s as a way for a skilled mediator to work with couples. Some of the reasons why couples find themselves seeking counseling are:
- Financial reasons
- Intimacy issues
- Extra marital affair
- Considering a separation
- Confirming the need for divorce
- Living as roommates
- Staying together for the children
I would say the most common reason couples come in for counseling is for communication problems. I would also say that most of the other reasons above and others also involve the underlying issue of faulty communication. Couples often get lost in their relationships because their communication is suffering.
Once communication stops… problems worsen.
One big factor that I think often gets lost is that a marriage is a partnership. A team. So when one member of the team is slipping, falling down or just lagging behind, the other person can pick up the slack to keep things on an even keel. And one member of the couple could be down for any number of reasons; depression, running late, not feeling well, work related issues… etc.
Think differently. In order to change our behavior, we need to change our thinking. So what if one of you leaves the dishes in the sink? Maybe that person was running late for work, didn’t have time and just couldn’t get it done. If the other person has more time than how about them washing the dishes or putting them in the dishwasher? Help one another out.
Chronic behavior is something else and would need to be addressed as well. Couples need to work together more instead of putting the blame on each other and soon the couple starts identify themselves with their problems. Also, arguments can get worse and take the place of meaningful interactions. And then it gets worse.
Never assume anything.
When we assume something about the other person our minds can run wild, imagining all sorts of things that might not be true. Assuming is not communicating. It might be difficult and awkward to resume communicating to your partner and talking about things that have not been discuss in a while. A marriage therapist can be that third person in the room to offer professional guidance and support to move the marriage forward.