We love to help couples work through marriage and family issues. We love helping couples move from a place of disconnection and (sometimes) hopelessness to discovering that their home—and their marriage!—can be a place where they experience happiness and fulfillment. We’ve worked with families that are struggling with the effects of alcoholism, destructive family patterns, parenting disagreements/challenges, work/life balance, and co-dependency ... to mention just a few issues. 

We’ve seen couples begin their first session with us by stating, “We’ve tried counseling before. It hasn’t worked. This is our last shot before we get divorced.” And then, after working through their issues, they say, “We never thought our marriage could be like this! It’s amazing how different things are now.” 

Finding Patterns in Problems Couples are Facing
There’s one pattern in our work with couples that comes up in many different ways—expected gender roles in the family. The wife will say something like, “I work a full-time job the same as he does, but then I come home and I handle the cooking, the cleaning, and the laundry ... while he watches the game or something. It just doesn’t seem right!” And the husband says something like, “I don’t expect my wife to handle all those things. I’m not a chauvinist pig or anything like that. I just don’t think about that stuff.”

We believe this struggle comes from the huge cultural shifts that have occurred in the last 30+ years. More and more women are working outside the home—either full-time or part-time. Most husbands are supportive and like that their wife works ... and they especially enjoy the extra income she brings in. But no one thinks about how these changes will impact the family system.

Many men today grew up in homes where their mothers did not work outside the home. So their whole unstated, deeply ingrained framework for how a family operates revolves around the wife/mother taking care of the daily cooking, cleaning, and laundry tasks. And guess what? Many women grew up in these types of homes as well, so they have a deeply ingrained feeling that they should be doing those things. One of the biggest struggles that working mothers wrestle with is the guilt they feel when they can’t “do it all.” 

So the guilt felt by the wife and the (many times) unintentional expectations of the husband converge to create a difficult situation. Gender roles in the home have not shifted to match the shift of gender roles in the workplace. 

Working on Things Together
Oftentimes, of course, this isn’t the only issue that couples are facing. This might be one of the first issues that comes up in a counseling session, but it is rarely the core of the problem. However, if couples can get to a point where they can talk about what it means for them to work together on the tasks that need to be done to keep the family operating well on a day-to-day basis, they make great progress.

Like many other marriage struggles, if couples understand the issue and work on it together (rather than getting in opposing corners and trying to duke it out and declare a “winner”), a better future is much easier to find.

As we like to say at SC3 Partners, it just makes sense. It’s not easy ... but it does makes sense.

If you or someone you know is struggling with relationship issues, we’d love to help. Contact us today to set up an appointment.