In the Western world, following women’s emancipation, the relationship between a man and a woman has undergone significant changes with respect to the traditional roles.
The struggle for equality has profoundly challenged the way of relating between the two sexes.
Today the couple’s relationship is no longer ensured, as before, by a marriage contract and by a woman’s economic dependence on a man.
It is founded on the capacity to relate to one another and there are no guarantees, with respect to its continuity, if not a hard and ongoing work on the relationship itself.
An adult and mature individual finds in the relationship with the other person the emotional and physical satisfaction which he needs and he is able to give the same to his partner.
It is a reciprocal and constructive relationship.
The couple consists of two individuals, each of whom with his own history, his own character and therefore his own inner world.
Therefore, a couple may be thought of as a relationship made of two worlds which come together but which both pre-existed.
When two people find each other, a unique relationship is created between them.
If one of the two people should meet another person, there would be a different relationship.
When unease takes place in a couple, it is important to understand what has happened in the specific relationship between those two people.
A couple which argues loses harmony.
For a couple, living a certain degree of conflict may be an incentive for a reciprocal change, provided that it is considered how each partner can tolerate disagreement.
Fighting, however, may also become the couple’s style of relating to one other.
It is a way which may be useful not only not to separate but indeed may reinforce the relationship because the two individuals, not tolerating to be alone, continue to fight to remain together.
In quarrelling, even if only practised in thought, the other is always present.
Indeed, anxiety, the pain of separation, loneliness, abandonment are driven away. If the individual is not emotionally solid enough to face these emotions, it will be unbearable for him to separate.
In couple conflict, it often happens that each partner reacts to the other by reverberating his own problems which are specular or complementary to those of his partner, that are just as problematic.
The inner world of one is activated thanks to the behaviour of the other.
In this way, the other becomes the stimulus to reactivate an old relational dynamic, evoking something deep of his inner world.
The aim of couple’s therapy is to understand what has become active in the specific relationship between those two people. It tries to recognize how each of the two components starts up a certain way of relating to each other, a way which annoys the other, getting bigger and bigger and paralyzing: it is at this point where the two are no longer able to meet each other.
The couple needs to step out from a dimension of guilt, each regaining his own responsibility in his way of relating.
In the couple each partner counts 50%.
When working on the couple each partner is stimulated to carry out a self-analysis in order to understand the origin of his way of behaving that triggers off a certain type of reaction in the other.
When both a man and a woman get into contact with the relational style of their original family, they may both consider if that way of being reflects them or if it is simply activated as an almost automatic reaction, because known. From there each of them can think how to act differently.
The therapist will not be a judge for the couple but a promoter of a work that each partner will need to do in order to reconsider his part of responsibility in the way he relates, way that does not originate only from the couple but from the dynamics of his/ her family of origin.