What causes marital and relationship difficulties?

All roads lead to childhood!! How we relate to ourselves and others has everything to do with how we were raised and influenced by our parents, teachers, and other caretakers.
In order to change negative relationship or marriage patterns, i.e., picking the same dysfunctional partner over and over, it is necessary to integrate a new model in our hearts and minds of Mr. or Mizz Right. We tend to choose our mates unconsciously. It’s based on our inner child’s need to “get it right” with someone whose energies closely resemble our parents/caretakers. Our inner child or subconscious mind has a hidden agenda. The agenda is tied to finally getting our unmet needs from childhood met. For instance, if you were left alone too much as a child, you may have the very real need for constant companionship. However, you will probably pick a mate that is incapable of giving you the time and attention you crave. In fact, this partner will probably need just the opposite, as in more space and time for self. This results in conflict within the relationship. It will seem that your partner doesn’t love or understand you, which is quite painful given your history.

The solution is for both parties to become conscious of their unconscious, hidden agendas and to find creative ways to get those needs met from within self first. This usually requires the help of a qualified counselor/therapist. However, the book Getting the Love You Want: a Guide for Couples by Harville Hendrix, ©1988, is a good way to discover what some of your hidden agendas might be and how to heal them.  This book refers to the Imago, which is the unconscious image of our ideal mate, complete with hidden agendas.

Another aspect of healing through the relationship includes choosing to give each other what the other wants, which is typically the hardest thing to give. However, doing this helps each person balance out their psyche for the better. As in the before mentioned example, the partner that wants more space and time for self chooses to gift their partner more time and attention in order to heal the part of them that fears closeness and intimacy. The partner that craves more time and attention chooses to gift their partner more free time and space and uses this time to deal with their childhood pain, rather than making their partner responsible for it.

Your partner can’t make up for the wounding you received from a less than ideal childhood. That healing must happen from within self and often requires the assistance of a qualified counselor/therapist.