Couples Therapy Not Needed for Happy Couples

Closeup of couple making heart shape with hands

What do happy couples focus on most?  Mosaic Tree Counseling’s team have researched and focused on what happy couples do better than unhappily unhappy couples. They used to call these couples the masters of marriage.  Today, (I think in an attempt to de-stigmatize these people), these happy couples are now called the masters of relationships.

Mosaic Tree Counseling’s team provides a Relationship & Growth Lab for your relationship. They have studied research that explores how behaviors that characterize happy couples earlier in their marriage may, in fact, tend to undermine them later in their married life.

Counselors are intrigued by how happy couples chose to concentrate most on certain marital problems.  Research shows that couples therapy while all couples have disagreements, happy couples tend to focus on the 31 percent of marital issues that are solvent problems.  Research suggests that happy couples are more selective about which issues can be resolved and solved, and which seem more suitable to put on the back burner.

Issues such as how to divide household tasks or how to spend free time can be addressed more easily— and happy couples tend to talk about them first.

What are the other 69% of marital problems about?

Research tells us that 69% of marital issues are fundamentally unsolvable.

Happy couples tend to avoid endless issues that are unresolvable. This desire to postpone is a short-sighted strategy to avoid ongoing conflict.

Happy couples prefer to approach their marital dispute in a solution-oriented manner, and this solution-oriented approach begins with how they choose their battles.

An experiment was performed that included two cohorts of happy couples of distinctly different ages. 57 research couples were in their thirties and 64 were in their seventies. Both couples are asked to list the least serious to the most complicated of their relationship problems.

Among the study topics, money, intimacy, interaction, and disagreements about how to spend free time were the most serious issues. Health management was another source of tension among the older couples cohort. Jealousy, religion, and family issues were the least serious issues.

The research found that couples preferred to work on solvable issues because it was anxiety-provoking to address unsolvable problems.

It may not be easy to rebalance tasks, but it lends itself to more concrete solutions than other issues. To balance the scales, one partner could do more of certain duties. Focusing on the perpetual problems that are more difficult to solve could weaken the confidence between partners in the marriage.  The happy couples in the study avoided addressing perpetual issues.

Everything is about momentum. Happy couples who have selected issues they can fix feel they are developing more psychological energy in order to work in the future on their more insoluble problems. If partners were unable to work together on minor solvable problems, they would be even more hesitant to discuss the bigger issues in their relationship. The results showed that couples together for longer tended to argue less, suggesting they knew which disagreements they could make progress on.

If couples feel they can work together to solve their problems, it can give them the confidence to move on to tackle the more difficult issues.  Couples seem to gain confidence when they can solve solvable problems. However, many bigger issues may not only seem unsolvable in a marriage, but they may also be unsolvable in fact.

Interestingly, 69 percent of marital problems are essentially outside the scope of human effort. These include variations in the family of origin, personality, principles, opinions, etc. This is usually not understood among happy couples… these have a “common sense” approach towards problem-solving.

Yet partnerships do not have “common sense.” Often the hardest thing to do in the long run is what seems to be a reasonable course of action now.

These can be set up to avoid big problems and endless problems for more conflict in the future.

Good couple counseling will teach happy couples how to cope with unsolvable problems rather than avoiding them or attempting to win over their mate.

That’s the value of pair counseling based on science. Many people in Couples Therapy are relieved to hear that there is an alternative to trying to solve an issue and stop the dispute entirely.

Managing endless problems involves a skill set that typically draws on how happy couples in the past have effectively navigated solvable issues.

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