Family and Couple Relationship Difficulties


The number of divorces in the U.S. is staggering. I t is estimated that in the United States approximately 40% to 50% of the marriages end in divorce within the first eight years of marriage. Unfortunately, divorce has become a common event, and many people fail to learn from their first divorce. The number of divorces increases to almost 67% in couples who marry a second time, and the divorce rate among couples who marry for the third time is even higher.

There is no doubt that the consequences of a divorce can be serious, not only for the couple but for the children as well. Children of divorced parents often have difficulty in social relationships, and these children experience increased emotional problems and school failures. In addition, these children have a higher level of aggression, and alcohol and drug use is higher than children whose parents are in stable marriages. However, families who enjoy their lives and have a good relationship, for the most part, possess better physical, emotional, and psychological health. This is because the stress level is much lower than families where conflicts are common and there are almost daily fights.

It is important to identify the point the tensions, demands, and misunderstandings begin to occur in the relationship.  Dr. Myrna Weissman, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, says that disputes in marriages often arise from the responsibilities (who is responsible for doing certain chores), power (who decides what to do), finances , relationships with members of the family of origin (e.g., mothers, brothers, etc..), care of children, social activities and work outside the family, sexuality and intimacy, and communication.

Studies show that one of the behavioral problems among couples is communication. Unfortunately, negative communication or aggression is generally met with a negative response. This negativity will usually escalate and often ends in a major, violent conflict. In a marriage where couples have learned to communicate, a negative interaction is usually followed by a positive response from the other spouse. Reasons why couples fall into a vicious cycle and find no solution to their conflicts is the lack of communication skills and resources to solve their problems.

In harmonious marriages, there are differences and disagreements. However, they have learned to control their emotions and tend to solve marital problems when the husband and wife are calmer. These couples clearly understand the dynamics of their communication process. They also know techniques and have the tools to confront difficult situations in their relationship.

There are specific factors that can alert us that a divorce is about to occur. For example, infidelity, drug and alcohol abuse, and domestic violence are some of the reasons many couples end their relationships. Couples may also divorce over jealousy and uncontrolled spending by one or both individuals in the relationship.

Therapy can help families discover what they are really feeling. It can also help them understand how they are communicating and how this process may be causing problems in the relationship. There are many interventions and modalities that can help couples reduce the stress levels and, consequently, have healthier relationships. Find a marriage and family therapist in your area if you think your relationship is deteriorating.

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