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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Treatment Tuesday - THE BIG 3

Erica wrote in with this question (among many others):
I need some suggestions for what exactly my character's parents
fight about?
I thought this would be a great opportunity to expound on what I like to call the Big 3 of Marital Discord (not to be confused with the Triple Threat, which is the top 3 reasons couples get divorced).

Married couples most likely fight over (not necessarily in this order):

1) Money

Money is what makes the world go round, right? Everything you do depends on money, and you work all day to make it. So when it's spent wrong or ill-gained, it causes major problems. Couples typically start out marital bliss up to their necks in debt nowadays, and debt is a major strain.

Maybe one partner has a gambling problem or drug addiction, and uses family resources to pay for it. Or one has trouble keeping a lid on internet shopping, and the bills are piling up, debt collection agencies are calling, letters from the bank come...any of the above could be cause for marital fighting.

2) Sex

Ooo. Always a big ticket item amongst couples. and probably one of the hardest to seek help about, since sex is supposed to be private. So what's to fight about? Frequency. Quantity. Positions. Quality. Suspicions of infidelity. Porn.

As an aside, I really believe in therapy helping in this area. Once couples get past the awkwardness of just talking about sex in front of another person, it's actually very freeing to have a safe place to discuss things.

3) Children

Parents argue about how to raise their children almost from day 1. Very rarely will a husband and wife come to a marriage from similar backgrounds. Part of parenting is learning how to merge two different lifestyles into one.

How to discipline, what the kids should eat, what school or church they should go to, who is going to change the poppy diaper, give them a bath...the list just goes on and on at any age. Also, in couples who don't have children, whether or not to have them can also crop up commonly, usually when one partner wants to and the other doesn't.

Hopefully this will give you something to start on Erica. I'll address the rest of your questions in a future Treatment Tuesday.

And for those of you who are just dying to know....the Triple Threat almost reads just like the Big 3. The top 3 reasons for divorce are: Money, Sex, and Inability to Communicate (not necessarily in that order).

Wordle: signature


Sarah Forgrave said...

Very interesting! I can relate to #3 in my own marriage. People who have children in hopes of fixing their relationship have no idea what lies ahead!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the tips :) I did have a burst of inspiration recently and I found their problem was staring me in the face. Since her mother is a Russian immigrant and her father is from old Irish money in Boston I decided to give them their own back story: he met her while on holiday in Moscow and she married him (not entirely but in large part) so that she could escape the USSR and live the American Dream. Years later this is their marital anguish (and they cannot divorce since he is Catholic and she doesn't want to give up the lifestyle)

Shannon said...

I'd argue that there should be a fourth: Chores! Me and my partner are really lucky, or at least I think so, but many other people have to fight to get their partner to do their share.

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Both comments and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed your time on the couch today.