People will often ask what makes a good or long lasting relationship. In truth there is no one answer, what works for some will not work for others, it’s about finding the balance that suits the both of you. When we start out in our new relationship it easy to ignore the bad points of the other person for a while until the excitement dies down or you are unable to hide your own bad habits any longer, and you are both left with the reality of everyday. So balance is a good place to start.
The Equity theory came about as a result of previous studies in disruptive justice and concerns that for a relationship to be successful then there must be some balance, which was summarised by Walster, ...view middle of the document...
Stage 2 looks at bargaining, once we have found a partner that we want to spend more time and effort on we start to look at what the relationship will provide and how much will be required from us. It involves giving and receiving of rewards to see if the relationship will be profitable. If you put into the relationship is the return of an equal value to us (or better if we are lucky). Stage 3 focuses on the end of the tug of war and moves into more of a commitment phase. There will be a reduction, but not an elimination of bargaining, and things will settle into more of a routine and trying to make it work. Stage 4 is called institutionalization this is where the relationship has settled down with established routines and mutual expectations. As we get to know each other and settle into the relationship we will of course discover other things about our partners, for example how they cope in a stressful situation this will have an effect on how we react in the relationship too, again if this causes an imbalance and the exchange of effort and rewards changes this may result in the end of the relationship, but by communicating with each other or wanting to find a solution the suits both can be achieved.
Ultimately couples need to learn or improve their communication skills. So what happens when our perceived path of relationship bliss is thrown an unknown element that knocks us from our life script? And what can we do as therapists to help regain balance?
During couples counselling you would often start by seeing both people in the relationship. Using the models discussed you can establish break downs in communication or issues that have arisen. Significant change in the relationship, as with change in general, can throw people off balance causing disruption and possible separation. Occasionally you may find that during couples counselling one person may need additional help if their issues seem to over shadow the couple. At this point I would discuss what had come up and suggest that a one to one approach may be more beneficial, that is not to say I wouldn't incorporate the other person back into future sessions but the needs of one may out weigh the needs of the couple for a time, at least for diagnostic purposes. In the case of Mr. G we will see how an able bodied man was taken ill, and the journey that took him from being fit and healthy to wheelchair bound and lethargic causing him distress in his current relationship.
Six years ago Mr G was diagnosed with a progressive neurological condition that has affected his mobility seriously. The condition will get worse but no time limit can be given to its progression. He is now in a wheelchair most of the time due to fatigue and susceptibility to falling. He has some good days but more often he has days when he is immobile and depressed.
His wife of 18 years has cared for him throughout the illness and seems happy to do so. However in the last 3 years their sexual relationship has...