No relationship is immune to stress coming from all directions, from within and from without, some predictable, some random. The effect on the intricate fabric of the family is a pulling and tugging and unraveling sensation leaving little hope of repair. Longing for connection, burdens and joys of raising children, stress of professional pursuits, financial rollercoasters, illness , injury and health challenges can result in a perceived loss of shared hope and dreams, leaving home as less than the safe haven looked forward to on one’s wedding day.
"I want to know what became of the changes we waited for love to bring...
Were they only the fitful dreams of some greater awakening..."
―Jackson Browne, The Pretender
The pain of life stages (adults becoming partners, rearing children together, middle age, loss) is burdensome in spite of moments of joy. Relationships suffer, each partner feeling alternately overwhelmed, resentful and deprived of the satisfaction they thought love would bring. Communication is compromised and the sense of connection and intimacy dwindles. Children suffer as their parents become unhappy with each other and their lives as they question whether or not to remain together.
Chronic unhappiness can lead to depression and anxiety which adversely affects health and erodes feelings of commitment. Happily, many couples can and do manage this slippery slope and make a turn to a more positive direction. Though many couples can do this on their own, sometimes consultation with a marriage and family therapist can help drive the negative energy in a positive direction.