Top 7 Reasons People Go To Couples Counseling

communication marriage counseling relationships Jan 27, 2022

There are many potential reasons that couples attend couples counseling or coaching. Sometimes couples go in order to stop conflict and learn better skills to hopefully avoid divorce. Other times couples go in order to build and strengthen an already good relationship. 

In the U.S. up to 50% of first marriages end in divorce. For second marriages, the divorce rate is even higher with 60-65% of partnerships breaking up. 

Oftentimes, when it comes to a relationship that's in trouble, partners feel that there are only two options. 

  1. Divorce so that they can find happiness elsewhere
  2. Try to accept things the way they are

Fortunately, there is a third, better choice, for couples who find themselves struggling. 

When you improve communication skills, increase understanding, develop more empathy, and find common ground you will build a stronger relationship. (all of which we talk about in The Couples Guide to Financial Intimacy course)

In this blog, we're going to talk about some of the most common reasons couples seek counseling. Addressing these issues instead of leaving the relationship or coping with the way things are can lead to a happier, healthier relationship. 



Money is one of the number one reasons couples seek out counseling.

This is especially the case when one member of the couple is a spender and the other is a saver.

Couples may find they're not on the same page when it comes to paying off debt, savings, retirement, or how to support loved ones financially.

Very few people are taught how to successfully communicate about money. In fact, in our culture, the topic of money is often seen as taboo. Since money can be such a hot button issue it can lead to emotional outbursts or withdrawal from communication, which ends up causing other issues in the relationship such as a lack of trust. 


Issues With Family Of Origin

The family you grew up in has a powerful influence over you even today. There are several ways that issues can arise in an intimate relationship due to family of origin issues. 

One way is that the family members outside the couple cause issues such as asking people to take sides, being irresponsible, having addictions, or being intrusive. This can be challenging to navigate, especially if there are communication difficulties or issues with respecting boundaries in the family of origin. 

Another way that the family of origin can cause issues in an intimate relationship has to do with the beliefs, behaviors, and habits that you or your partner carry into the present day due to how you grew up.

Experiences growing up such as poverty, abuse, addiction, mental health issues, or trauma can have an especially powerful impact on adult behaviors. However, the experiences you have when you're young don't have to be big ones to influence your partnership today. They can be as simple as having neighbors who fought all the time and divorced which now makes you afraid of conflict. 


Differences In Values

Most people have some differences in values. However, when these value differences are overlooked early on in a relationship they can cause conflict down the line.

Value differences can include things like views on whether to have a family, religious beliefs, political views, views on education, or even time management.

It can be important to have clarifying conversations with your partner about your values in order to see eye to eye. But when the relationship is already established it can feel threatening to have these conversations because they may threaten the stability of the partnership. This is when having someone to help mediate these conversations like a coach or counselor can be incredibly helpful. 


Division of Labor

Division of labor issues relates to how each partner feels about their own and their partner's contribution to household duties, childcare, and work-life. 

Many couples feel as though there is an unfair split in how they each spend their time. In fact, it's rare for couples to have an exact 50/50 arrangement where both partners work the same amount, do the same amount of household chores, and spend the same amount of time tending to children. 

The important thing when it comes to the division of labor isn't that each partner feels that they have exactly half the responsibility or does exactly half of the work that needs to be accomplished.

The important thing is that both partners feel that things are fair.

Without this sense of fairness, the partner who feels they do more (and often it's both partners feeling they do more in different ways) may get resentful and angry which can lead to a breakdown of the relationship. Communicating about this clearly and establishing what's fair in the relationship can be incredibly healing. 



Infidelity can reference any number of things where one partner is unfaithful to the other. This can mean a romantic or sexual affair, an emotional affair, secret activities, or hiding spending from the other partner.

Whenever one partner is hiding a significant portion of their life from the other partner it can be considered infidelity, which is a breach of trust. 

It can be hard to get back on track after trust is broken. 

Trust is one of the most important things in a relationship. Without trust, partners don't feel comfortable being vulnerable or sharing their lives with one another.

Once trust begins to erode then each partner will often keep more and more to themselves rather than sharing it with the other partner. This can create a snowball effect where the partners eventually live almost entirely separate lives due to there being little to no trust in the relationship. 

This is why addressing any form of infidelity, secret-keeping, or breaches of trust can be one of the most important reasons to go to counseling as a couple. 



Whether it's an addiction to work, food, exercise, pornography, gambling, alcohol, or drugs, addiction is a powerful influence on the whole family. 

Addiction tends to come with a host of other issues such as codependency, defensiveness, criticism, shame, and low self-esteem. 

Often we think about addiction in terms of how it impacts the addict. However, family members are often powerfully impacted as well. Whether it's hiding the addict's behavior, making excuses, or feeling the addict would change if they "loved the family more". 

When addiction impacts a partnership it's essential to get support. Not only for the addict but for everyone involved. 


Communication Issues

Good communication is the cornerstone of a strong relationship. Without it, you can't overcome any other issue in your relationship. 

Problems don't resolve themselves by being swept under the rug. They must be addressed honestly and in communication with each other. 

However, most people aren't taught how to communicate well. And fewer still are taught how to communicate with their partner and how to navigate conflict. This is where counseling or coaching can be extremely helpful. When communication skills are learned the entire relationship benefits and all other issues become dramatically easier to deal with. 


If you're looking to develop communication skills, empathy, and understanding of your partner, if you want to work through issues related to money, or how your past is influencing your present consider joining The Couples Guide to Financial Intimacy.

Would you like more 1 on 1 support? Then perhaps Therapy Informed Financial Planning is for the two of you. I invite you to schedule your free 30-minute discovery call today.

Wishing You Healthy Love and Money,

Ed Coambs



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