People may want their marriages to be happy but there is certainly no guarantee of that.
According to one recent survey, thirty-nine percent of women and forty-one percent of American men aged fifty to fifty-nine report at least one divorce. Even for couples who stay together, domestic abuse and general unhappiness can cause a range of psychological problems including mental illness and substance abuse. About forty percent of mental patients blame relationship problems for many of their symptoms and the emotional damage linked to poor relationships is hardly limited to the couples alone. Children growing up in disruptive home environments can develop long-term behavioural and emotional problems as well. Some psychologists even suggest that relationship distress should be considered a public health issue.
But what options do a couple in trouble have to mend their relationship problems? Treatment programs such as behavioural couple therapy can certainly help. Efficacy studies have shown that two-thirds of couples going through behavioural couple therapy programs report that their relationships have improved as a result. Unfortunately, most couples with relationship problems never seek counseling and some of the counselors they do approach may not have the necessary training to handle their specific problem.
To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.