Is there hope for us as a couple?

Is there hope for us?


“How likely is it that we can save our relationship (or marriage) with couples therapy?” This is the question I heard countless times in 2 decades of couple therapy. Sometimes spoken out with fear and uncertainty, sometimes in despair and doubt. Sometimes none of the spouses addresses it directly. But couples want to know if there is still hope in their case and a chance to save the relationship. They seek for clarity and a kind of forecast. I saw couples with minor problems and couples with a whole list of severe struggles like addiction, violence, affairs, destructive communication, financial struggles, difficulties with education the children and emotional numbness.

Through my work and talk with countless couples I realized that some of the couples with rather “easy” problems didn’t stay together. On the other hand some of the “severe cases” managed to create a new way to be happy and satisfied with each other. The amount of difficulties seems to be less important to predict the outcome of couple therapy than the degree to witch both spouses engaged in the process.

If a couple starts to work on the following points, there is a good chance that they can make it:

      • Put a clear focus on the development of your relationship: free time and energy.
      • Let go of the emotional traumas of the past, try to forgive and forget.
      • Work actively to develop your communication skills further.
      • Focus on your own behavior and your habits instead of trying to improve your partner.
      • Improve your awareness and your being present in the moment.
      • Be open for compromises, you won’t get all.
      • Give your spouse space to develop himself / herself and be gentle with the mistakes.
      • Be brutally honest with yourself and in your communication with your spouse.
      • Don’t wait to change. Every fight and every hurt leaves a scar.

“Is it worth it, after all the hurts and with the fact that we don’t get along with each other well?” is often the next question. “…or should we just separate and start from the scratch with a partner that fits better?” Of course there is no general answer to this question. Sometime partners really don’t fit together at all. There are no common interests and values. In other cases the hurt of the past is so severe, that a person just can’t overcome it.


In general I value the time spent together. Years of even decades of common experience and history have their own value. Common friends or even children. It will take long to get so close and familiar with a new person.

And even if the new one is a “better fit”: you will take your vulnerabilities, your weak points, communication mistakes and bad habits into the next relationship. Often a person just repeats the story with a new partner or even a series of partners. For me it seems that nowadays couples often give up too easy. I think it is (nearly) always worth to try once more. With a bit of help and guidance you make the success more likely.