A famous counselor who has treated 2,000 couples talks about “the lesion of married couples. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

A famous counselor who has treated 2,000 couples talks about “the lesion of married couples.

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Since Corona, the number of such couples who “don’t want to see each other” or “haven’t spoken for a year” has been increasing…

The first thing couples who don’t get along talk less. Because communication is not good, they are less motivated to understand each other and fight more. If such a relationship continues for a long time, both parties become ruffled, and they are unable to talk to each other more and more. I think this is a difficult situation to be in. Some people even say, “It’s really hell. Since Corona, there has been a real increase in the number of couples who have been ignoring each other for months or even years in some cases, and who are in a very “discordant” relationship. This is an unprecedented situation.

This has never happened before,” said Shukai Ando, a couple counselor who has counseled more than 2,000 couples over the past 10 years. During the three years of the COVID-19 crisis, they were forced to live as the smallest unit of a family, and each of them had to confront their family and marital relationships. While some couples have become stronger as a result of this, Ando says that there are now more couples who are in a state of “discord” and no longer want to see their partner’s face or be together.

Ando’s book, “Husbands and Wives Don’t Understand,” is a collection of real-life examples of couples counseling. In his book, “How to Recover from Marital Difficulties,” Ando provides examples of couple counseling, including “wives who want their husbands to pass away quickly” and “husbands who don’t understand why their wives are avoiding them.

Although not yet well known in Japan, marital counseling is a type of counseling that specializes in marital problems. While individual counseling is for one person, couples counseling is for two people (although sometimes only one person is consulted). The most common issues that couples bring to the counseling sessions are cheating, adultery, differences in values, and repeated fights.

These are the four most common marital problems. However, in many cases, the problems that are often the entry point for couples counseling are minor miscommunications or problems that are somewhat bothersome, which are often prefaced with the phrase, “It’s just a minor thing. It is not that I was cheated on or violated. However, there is something awkward and uncomfortable about the relationship. Such “disagreements” between seemingly happy couples are more troublesome because it is difficult to see the obvious cause. In couples counseling, we try to find the latent causes behind such discord.

Mr. Shukai Ando, a psychotherapist. He and his wife, also a counselor, provide couple counseling©Synchronous

According to Mr. Ando, marital problems are divided into three levels: communication, attitudes and values, and feelings.

The problem that tends to surface is the ‘communication’ problem. When there is a decrease in conversation or an increase in fights, or when people say things like, “I don’t like the way you say it,” or “I don’t like your attitude,” there is a high probability that there is a problem with “communication,” but when you look deeper into why the problem occurred, it is often due to differences in “ideas and values. However, when we dig deeper into why the problem occurred, it is often due to differences in “ways of thinking and values. For example, when we dig deeper into the background of “less conversation,” we find that there is a difference in values, and every time they try to reconcile their differences, they end up fighting, and because they don’t want to fight, they have fewer opportunities to talk.

However, it is natural for couples to have different values and ways of thinking, and that is why it is necessary for couples to come to terms with each other little by little when they live together. However, behind the inability to do so, there may be a latent feeling of “why do I have to do it all myself? If this is the case, then the problem is not only that they have different values, but that they cannot “forgive” their differences, and behind this may be a latent “emotional rift.

In many cases, what appears at first glance to be a problem of ideas or values is in fact a problem of emotional rifts, he says.

Rather, when we delve deeper into marital problems, we almost always end up with emotional issues,” he says. Especially in the case of couples who have been married for a long period of time, I believe that in many cases, what was initially a problem of miscommunication and lack of understanding of differences has over time created an ‘emotional rut.

According to Mr. Ando, emotions have no time axis. In other words, if something that happened today makes you angry because you remember something that happened 10 years ago, even if what happened today is a trivial matter, the feelings that have been rattling around for 10 years will become tied to it, and you will become very angry. So, what can we do to solve such emotional problems?

If today’s event is tied to a past event, the problem is that the “emotional rut” has not been resolved, so simply resolving the current problematic event may not change the situation. If you have an “emotional rut,” you need to first go back to the time when the rut was created and take care of the emotions that are there.

I said that emotions do not have a time axis, but the fact that they do not have a time axis also means that once the hurt feelings and swallowed thoughts are taken care of, they can be resolved, even if they happened many years ago. Then we can sometimes isolate it by saying, ‘Maybe this is just remembering feelings from 10 years ago and not feelings from today.'”

However, for “discordant” couples who do not communicate with each other and have no intention of doing so, even “improving” the relationship is difficult.

To improve the marriage, the damaged foundations of trust need to be repaired. But that takes time and energy. It is not so easy to rebuild trust once it has been damaged. It is fine if you want to build from scratch as you did when you first met, but in some cases, you will have to start from a negative base.

To return the trust to a zero-based relationship means to return to a state where we can safely talk to each other and where we are both willing to understand each other. It is also important that there are no strong emotional rifts that cause aversion. When the foundation of trust has been broken, there can be a large and multiple emotional rut. The more you dig, the more ruts can emerge like layers that have built up. The longer the marriage has been together, the larger the reservoir of ruts can be, so the journey from repair to improvement still takes time.”

So, what can we do to avoid falling into such a “rift” with our partners? Mr. Ando says, “We need to understand each other and be considerate of each other. However, the biggest problem, he says, is when people take these words in a blanket way and blame the other person, saying, “Look, you don’t understand me,” or “You don’t care about me.

When we blame the other person for “you,” we are in no small way hurting ourselves. When we are hurt, we all tend to become aggressive, and it is understandable that we blame the other person. Why do I have to understand you when you don’t understand me? It may be a natural reaction for them to feel, “Why do I have to be considerate of you when you can’t be considerate of me?

Of course, it would be better if we could start working together, but that is often difficult. If that is the case, you must first realize that you are hurting. It is important to realize that you are hurt and that your priority is to take care of yourself rather than to blame the other person. We often hear people say, “Take care of yourself. That’s true, but it’s not enough to “take care of yourself” to take care of the other person. However, I believe that unless you combine “taking care of yourself” with “taking care of your partner,” marital relationships are likely to become strained. I think the important thing is to understand the other person and to be understood by the other person, so that both parties are aware of the need to take care of each other.”

  • Profile Hidekai Ando

    Marriage counselor, born in 1973. Together with his wife, he runs "Life Design Labo," a counseling office specializing in married couples, in Shibuya, Tokyo.

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