Whether a couple is married or not, couples therapy helps couples understand and resolve conflicts.  To do so, couples therapy helps couples develop tools to communicate more successfully, resolve conflicts and disagree in ways that will not lead to harmful fights.

Also known as marriage counseling, couples therapy is provided by a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) who, unlike other mental health providers, is trained to understand the dynamics of a couples' relationship.  Because of this, it is not unusual for an LMFT to tell the couple that it is their relationship that is their clien not either partner individually.

Depending upon the nature of the problem, couples therapy can be short term.  The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists suggests that on average, couples therapy may last as long as fifteen weeks.  If the issues are limited, it may be as brief as several weeks.  However, if infidelity or violence has infected a relationship, the process will probably take longer than the fifteen week average for the relationship to be healed.

There are all types of issues that bring couples to couples therapy.  Chronic illness, infidelity, digital mischief, anger and violence, a perceived inequality in the distribution of household tasks, parenting issues, and communication issues.  The result is barriers create distance in a relationship and erode intimacy.  When this happens, a couples' ability to live an intimae life is threatened, a problem they may not be able to fix .

If this sounds familiar, it may be time for couples therapy.  Couples therapy can help renew, rebuild and heal your relationship.  It’s worth a try.

     

What is marriage? There is quite a bit of controversy over what marriage is and how it should be defined today, but this is the not the place for that debate. A less polarizing definition of marriage might be found in the dictionary. There it defines marriage as:

a legally recognized relationship, established by a civil or religious ceremony, between two people who intend to live together as sexual and domestic partners.

It is interesting to note that the dominating theme in this definition is not religion, but law. Marriage is a legal contract established between two persons who wish to live their lives together as "sexual and domestic partners." When this legal relationship is established, a lot of things change and it is this change that we want to think about. What is it and how can a couple prepare for it?

 

We've all heard the scarry statistics on marriage, i.e., half of all marriages end in divorce and no one wants their marriage to end in divorce. However, before letting this number dominate your thoughts about marriage, here are some facts about this committed relationship:

  • Marrying younger than age 25 dramatically raises the divorce risk. Also, the divorce risk is higher when the woman is much older than the man, though the reverse isn’t as a strong factor
  • The average age for marriage in the U.S. is for women is 25.6 and for men, 27.7.
  • A person’s level of education influences the age at which they marry. Couples tend to marry later in states with higher numbers of college-educated adults, while the opposite is true for states with lower education levels.
  • A marriage ceremony typically ends with a kiss because in ancient Rome, a kiss was a legal bond that sealed contracts, and marriage was seen as a contract.
  • Due to jobs, kids, TV, the Internet, hobbies, and home and family responsibilities, the average married couple spends just four minutes a day alone together.
  • The average married couple has sex 58 times per year, or slightly more than once a week.
  • Approximately $6 billion in revenue is lost by American businesses as a result of decreased worker productivity linked to marriage hardship. Employees in a happy marriage, in contrast, tend to increase a company’s bottom line.
  • A marriage ceremony typically ends with a kiss because in ancient Rome, a kiss was a legal bond that sealed contracts, and marriage was seen as a contract.
  • One in three American marriages is “low sex” or “no sex.
  • In the United States, over 50% of first marriages end in divorce, 67% of second marriages end in divorce, and nearly 74% of third marriages end in divorce.
  • Half of emotional affairs become sexual affairs.
  • Over 40% of married couples in the U.S. include at least one spouse who has been married before. As many as 60% of divorced women and men will marry again, many within just five years.
  • The first recorded mention of same-sex marriage occurs in Ancient Rome and seems to have occurred without too much debate until Christianity became the official religion. In 1989, Denmark was the first post-Christianity nation to legally recognize same-sex marriage.
  • If you want to know whether or not the object of your affection will be a good marriage partner, check out his or her yearbook photo. In a 2009 study, scientists ranked the intensity of people's smiles in their college yearbook photos from 1 to 10. They found that none of the people in the top 10 percent—those with the biggest smiles—had divorced, while almost 25 percent in the bottom 10 percent had ended a marriage.