How Can a Couple Possibly be Successful?

What does it take to make it as a couple? Being in a couple can seem like an impossible task. Here are two different people, whether same sex or not, from differing backgrounds, cultures, locations, upbringings, sets of life experiences, possible traumas, perhaps religion/values/education.

Best case scenario; the ideal

When a new couple comes in for therapy and both say they are committed to each other and to the work and demonstrate that very thing in the room, I know we’re in business. I know it’s for real when they listen to each other as best they can, validate each other’s feelings, know that each has a unique perspective that is bound to be different from the other, and that’s OK. In the ultimate scenario for success, they can even express admiration, recognition and appreciation for each other even when the going gets tough. A few are even capable of invoking some affectionate humor which always connects everyone in the room--even when things get tense. This is a truly masterful skill in relationships! It’s particularly masterful because it requires an ability to hold very uncomfortable feelings such as tension, fear, and anger while simultaneously moving out of that sphere and bringing in a completely different feeling state. It is a rare quality; some are born with it while some others have cultivated it on their own. However, with practice, it can be learned. Studies have shown that this dynamic is predictive of a couple staying together.