Why do we act the way we do with our mate?
How we relate to our mate and others is influenced by the way we were raised in our family of origin. This idea is based on Attachment Theory. There is good news! Once we have identified how and why we communicate the way we do, we can come up with an action plan to become Securely Connected to each other.
Part of counseling can be behavioral, meaning; if you will take out the trash, I will do the dishes. If you pick up the kids on Tuesday, I will make dinner. Agreeing to alter or change our day-to-day roles is a good thing but doesn't bring us closer together. One wife told me, "I have three kids, I don't need my husband to be the fourth!" Solving behavioral issues only gets us half the way there though. The most important aspect of the relationship is Intimacy.
The odds of a relationship surviving without intimacy are very low. Intimacy involves listening to each other without judgement, being empathic, tracking with your partner by reflecting back what has been said, spending time together, showing interest in each other, and sharing the most intimate details of each other's dreams and goals.
Getting back to communicating and treating each other the way you did when you were first dating is a primary goal. Once a couple can practice these skills for a prolonged period of time, it becomes habit and reciprocal; meaning, you both will learn what it takes to make each other happy and secure, and enjoy doing them.
Check out my Quarterly Blog on Couples Counseling