Everyone knows relationships are difficult, but it’s easy to feel like your relationship is really hard — like your partner is the first partner in history to nag or nitpick or leave dishes in the sink and expect you to clean them.
There are a number of reasons couples go to couples therapy. They are:
Do you see any pattern(s) in what is happening with the examples from above? Really, before you go on to read what I have to say about it, think about what themes are in the list above. What are the main issues the couple is really dealing with? There is no right answer, and you may have other answers than mine.
The main issue I see in the list above is differences in values. They are each evaluating some situation (communication, children, time away from home, work, money, sex, etc.) differently. Each person’s values matter a great deal to him/her. AND they are not working it out with their partner.
You might also be able to see that, where there are differences in values, both partners want it their way. They might give in on many other issues, but on at least a couple issues, they want it their way. They are convince they are right.
And staying stuck with ones own values and not knowing how to get to a change in the relationship causes the couple to gridlock, stay stuck in their battle, and not get to resolution, not get to something that works for both of them.
So it would be possible to look at the long list of problems that take couples to couples therapy and say that their values, selfishness, and stubbornness are what is behind all of them. That would not be complete because it doesn’t address forgiveness, for example. But if you think about your relationship, your partner, and you think about your struggles, can you see your partner’s values, your partner’s selfishness, your partner’s stubbornness? And more importantly, can you see your own values, selfishness, stubbornness?
Dr. Robert G. Kraft is a career psychologist in Omaha, NE. He earned his doctorate, as well as his bachelors and masters before that, from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and has practiced in Nebraska ever since.
As well as maintaining his practice, Dr. Kraft is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Creighton University School of Medicine, where he teaches residents about psychotherapy.