The Root Cause Of A Couple’s Conflict

Apr 30, 2022

Marriage Counseling Insights brought to you by California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

What would you think if someone said that there is one universal factor underlying almost all couples’ conflicts? That is exactly the proposition that Dr. Harville Hendrix puts forward in this short video. A clinical Pastoral Counselor and co-creator of Imago Relationship Therapy, Hexdrix has discovered that couples unconsciously transfer their childhood into their marriage — with a variety of effects.

Harville says that “When you become an adult and you go on your search and find mission, the falling in love experience, you see somebody across a crowded room and you move toward them like a moth to the flame and you feel all these wonderful things called romantic love and they are your dream person. You do not know that there’s a program running out of your awareness in the background that’s matching you with somebody similar to the caretakers with whom you grew up and matching you particularly with a person with whom you will experience the worst frustrations — the worst frustrations, not the best experiences — that you had with your caretakers. While they look like the person of your dreams, they will become the person of your nightmares. That leads then into a power struggle, and that’s when couples come to therapists.”

Traditionally, therapists at this point have helped couples communicate better and practice problem-solving techniques and conflict resolution. But Hendrix believes that this misses a fundamental reality — namely, that people are attracted to the person who is most able to help them grow and heal, which is generally a painful experience. Watch Hendrix explain the nuances of this perspective in this insightful video.