Sadly for many couples, they don't actually see much alternative. I surveyed a couple of hundred visitors to our website, and asked them why they were a bit hesitant to try out couples therapy. It turns out that most people I surveyed are worried that their relationship is beyond hope, because somehow they are with the wrong partner. They see therapy as a process which will just stir up all sorts of hidden problems, and make things worse.
Gosh - there has to be some good news here somewhere. And there is!
There's hundreds of thousands of couples, who through Imago, discovered that they really did get it right when they fell in love with their partner. When people fall in love, we don't get it wrong. We're attracted to our partner for very real and important reasons, often closely connected with our past, and our emotional needs.
Here's another piece of good news. Practically every couple goes through some kind of struggle together - we call it the power struggle. The reason that's good news, is because if you are in a struggle with your partner, it means that you are just like all the rest of us. If your struggle is harder or more challenging, then it might mean the forces that attract you are stronger too. And if your energy has gone flat, and the relationship feels dead, it might simply mean that you are the kind of people who tend to protect yourselves against difficult emotions.
So let's revisit the old joke about directions. If you want to be happy, try to avoid having to start by picking up the pieces after infidelity. If you want to be happy, a great place to start is where you first find you are having problems in your relationship.
Your relationship problems are the direction arrows to deeper love and more connection.
Now when I read sentences like the one above, I often get a bit worried. Maybe it sounds a bit too optomistic? A little too hopeful? Unrealistic? Impractical?
Not in Imago. Imago is all about going underneath the problems and frustrations in your relationship, and finding out what is really happening at a deeper level of emotional need. It's a non-judgmental process, no-one gets blamed, or comes out as the bad guy. You come out feeling good, and finding ways to live your life in a richer way. It's an amazing experience, getting to know your partner on a deeper level. But please, if you want to be really happy, try it out when the problems first come up. Don't let yourself get to a place where divorce seems unavoidable, because the chances are breaking-up won't make you happier.