The essential problem in any bad relationship is a breakdown in communication between the two partners. No matter what the issues are (money, infidelity, etc.), the real problem is that the two partners haven’t been talking openly to each other about their feelings. This lack of communication is what makes the problems grow in the early stages and furthermore, what makes them hugely difficult to deal with in the end stages of the relationship. And essentially, whether couples go to workshops together, or therapy, or even answer the questions on a relationship quiz together, the real bottom line for any method is that the two people are talking to each other about their relationship.
Too often, talking to each other means fighting with each other. Relationship problems can’t be solved with yelling and screaming and the main purpose of a workshop, or a quiz or therapy is that there is something or someone there to prevent the yelling and screaming from taking over the process.
The therapist can be helpful if he or she does nothing more than to provide a safe, controlled atmosphere for the couple to talk calmly about their relationship problems. Obviously, if the therapist can make suggestions, comments and offer advice to the couple on how to better deal with each other, this will greatly benefit them and speed the healing process. By merely providing a forum for calm, orderly discussion, the therapist can move a couple off of the path towards a breakup or divorce and back into the realm of hope for the survival of the relationship.
The problems may come from any list – sex, money, quality time, control, outside influences, personal issues, infidelity, fear, listening to and supporting each other, but all of these problems can be addressed, perhaps not solved but at least addressed, through communication with each other. If there is no communication, the relationship problems will win out and the relationship itself will ultimately fail.