I am fascinated by how other people make their marriages work. I love hearing (anonymously, of course) from marriage counselors on what goes on behind closed doors.
If you have similar curiosities, here are 15 professionals on some dumb reasons couples come in for counseling.
15. It’s the secret to a happy marriage.
It’s always the dishes.
I don’t see couples anymore because I cannot have one more conversation with adult human beings about the various philosophies of dish washing.
14. A simple conversation would have sufficed.
My anger management group facilitator told us a funny story about a couple that came in for counseling. The husband wanted to write a book. The wife said she would work and do everything around the house for a year while he worked on his book. So he quit work and wrote his book while she did everything.
The book got published and was a hit. The publisher asked him to do a book signing tour. The wife was furious. She had supported him writing the book and she was done.
They came to the appointment and explained the situation. The therapist asked the wife, “So what would it take for you to be ok with the book tour?” She said, “A trip to Hawaii with my sister.” The husband was like, “Really? Done.” The appointment was over in five minutes.
13. That is a serious decision, to be fair.
Couldn’t decide on which chicken to buy for their chicken farm.
12. Ok here are your divorce papers.
Husband: “She forgets the laundry in the washer.”
Wife: “Ok, but I’m busy. Maybe you could put the laundry in the dryer if you see it.”
Husband: “Yeah, that’s not my job.”
That was the least of their problems.
11. Wow that must have been interesting.
A pimp and one of his sex workers scheduled a session to see me because they were having jealousy issues.
They were legally married and he was unhappy with how she couldn’t “leave work at work”.
Best. Couple. Ever.
10. That’s extremely petty.
During my brief time, one of my clients was really struggling with the color of dog that her husband got for her.
She wanted a specific breed of dog since she was a kid and her husband did a bunch of research and got her one from a good line of the breed, but its coat was darker than the dog she imagined, and she was *really* struggling with it.
We had a few sessions about expectations clouding your happiness and it turns out the dog was the most explicit example of a much bigger issue she had in her life. But I had to seriously put my WTF on hold when she told me about the shade of her dog being a problem.
9. FYI for the parents out there.
I work with a lot of kids, and I see far more stupid reasons that couples have NOT scheduled an appointment… Parents spill their guts while explaining what’s wrong with their children, and 90% of the time it’s the parents’ marriage causing issues with the child/family.
This is totally not a catch-all statement because many children have true behavioral/emotional challenges separate from their parents’ marriage… but at the same time, if you feel like your child is struggling and you have tried everything, maybe try marriage counseling…
8. There’s an easy way to fix that. A few ways, actually.
My sister in law made an appointment for marriage counseling because her husband greeted their dog before her when coming home from work.
7. What’s the actual problem, though?
A lot of couples schedule counseling for legitimate reasons like “communication issues” but then it will come out that the real reason IS something stupid and they don’t even realize it.
I had a couple married 25 years who were struggling to connect and it turned out they were resentful of each other because they both wanted to spend various holidays with their families of origin. Never talked about it, never mentioned it, just both simmered in silent resentment for 25 years. It was resolved so quickly once it was unearthed.
Another couple came in for parenting challenges. Told me very casually they hadn’t had sex since their youngest was conceived. How old is your youngest? 13. Both were acting like it was completely normal and fine and unrelated. Turned out it was not normal and not fine and definitely related. Referred for sex therapy and heard the whole family happily graduated from therapy within months*.
*The entire family was seeking therapy with different counselors for different reasons (or so they thought). NO they were not doing family sex therapy. I can’t believe I just typed “family sex therapy.”
6. What was the point, then?
Not a couples counselor, but someone who went to one once.
My wife wanted us to go, but didn’t actually bring up any of the issues that were bothering her. She let me talk about things that I knew about, but she’d been building up a list of things she resented for years and didn’t mention a thing when we were actually there.
She divorced me a year later and trotted out the list then.
5. But did he have a legit gripe?
Not a counselor, but my friend is one.
A couple came to her (unofficially) because the wife wouldn’t tell her hubby when her mum was coming over because she knew he’d be “sick” or “out” that day.
4. Dear heavens.
My specialty is children and families, but during the pandemic I was assigned whatever came in because it has been super busy…
One lady called and spoke with me first about how her husband was horrible at communication and never listened to her. She asked for a couples session.
As soon as she ambushed her husband with a “there is a therapist on the line that wants to speak with you” her husband screamed:
“YOU CALLED A THERAPIST BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO PAINT THE HOUSE PURPLE?”
She wanted me to convince him to paint the house purple, and like any normal human who sees colors, he refused to listen to her.
3. That’s a new one.
A buddy of mine was in therapy with his wife. She told me later that my friend (let’s call him Gary) has a drinking problem.
Me: “Wait. What? Since when is Gary drinking. I never saw him drink alcohol.
Her: “That’s the problem”
Oh Gary, i hope you are fine now
Edit: it seems like i worded it in a weird way. Her issue is that he doesn’t drink
2. Those little things really pile up.
I can totally see this sort of thing coming up between my husband and I.
He refuses to learn where anything in our kitchen lives. So if he unloads the dishwasher and doesn’t know where something lives instead of asking me, putting it to one side to ask later etc.
He just shoves it somewhere random.
I spent a month looking for my spatula once. He denied point blank that he had touched it. Eventually I found it wedged under a sugar bag in my baking cupboard.
He denied he’d put it there.
We are the only two people in the house and I know the spatula lives in the goddamn fucking drawer with the other utensils.
The argument on its face is about a lost spatula. But the reality is the fight is about why it went missing in the first place. And the subsequent denial of involvement in said loss.
1. That can’t be the real problem.
My cousin went to counseling because her husband cuts the sandwich straight inside of diagonal.
When i first heard it, i thought it was a joke.
I think these lists just make me feel better about my own relationship!
If you’ve been to therapy or are a therapist, I want to hear details in the comments!