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  • Carlien Serfontein

Couples' Survey Report

Thank you to all the men and women who took the time to answer our survey. The information has highlighted some common issues that will allow us to tailor the counselling process to suit the needs of our clients and ensure the best outcome.


I look forward to sharing the results below:

Demographically, 100% of the participants were in a committed, monogamous and heterosexual relationship. The largest portion of participants (67%) fell in the 30-40 age group. The majority of the participants had dependents like children.


The commitment level, interestingly, had some discrepancies where some participants felt like they were less committed to their relationship than their partner, but the majority of participants felt that each partner was equally committed.


In terms of careers, participants felt like their own work-home balance could improve (67%) but that they did not expect their partners to spend more time with them compared to their career.


“Dependency” indicated large discrepancies. The answers showed that participants were completely dependent on their partners or their partners were completely dependent on them. Only one participant indicated that both partners were completely independent of each other. The other participants indicated that there was an imbalance in dependency.

When it comes to romance and passion, 85% of participants felt that their relationship was average, below average or non-existent. Of those, 60% conceded that they were not satisfied sexually and wouldn’t mind experimenting to keep the passion alive.


When asked what they felt when arguments took place, the most commonly mentioned issues were that they felt: Misunderstood, under-appreciated, dismissed, under-valued and disrespected. A lot of these link to communication skills in relationships and how to speak to each other to avoid the above experiences.


When selecting conflict styles there were some discrepancies in how each partner chose to deal with a specific conflict. 50% felt that their partner was avoiding, and many participants indicated that they were competing with their partner when in conflict.


80% of the participants admitted that they keep secrets from their partner, that their relationship has experienced a loss of trust and that their relationship has been traumatised in the past.


100% of the participants agreed that couples counselling would be effective for their relationships, but listed the following reasons for not participating in counselling now: Finances, fear of what counselling would reveal about the relationship and it is already too late.


Generally, it shows that real commitment comes from making a decision to show up, respect, and value each other. This is shown in the way we communicate, how we resolve conflict and how we are willing to adapt if our partner makes themselves vulnerable in a request for change.


Another important lesson learned is that the issues couples have are not isolated events. Studies have shown that many couples face the same challenges and that it is nothing to be ashamed of in asking for support. A study done by the American Psychological Association shows that couples counselling has a 75% success rate (1) in bringing couples closer with more intimacy, understanding and better communication skills. John Gottman of the Gottman institute emphasises the importance of cutting out sarcasm and contemptuous comments, while building the friendship as well as the romance between partners (1). By rebuilding trust, you will feel less guilty frustrated and alone in your relationship (2). We feel guilt when we want or expect more fun, more excitement more attraction (2) within the relationship without actually seeking out an affair. The fact however is that it takes a lot of hard work to keep the “spark” alive within the monotonous day-to-day arrangements of how to get through the next week.


Counselling can help with this process in the following ways:


1. It will allow you a safe space to speak your truth and voice your needs and desires.

2. It will help with skills that enhance communication and collaborate on more effective conflict resolutions.

3. You will be given a “push” in the right direction to up the romance and increase the passion. Counselling can explore ways to experiment within your own boundaries and sense of safety.

4. By breaking down individual walls the relationship can find new and stronger foundations.

5. Your goals as a couple will be prioritised, above all else, for that hour.


If you are interested, or would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Resources:

(1) Grande, D. (2017, December). Couples Therapy: Does it really work? . Retrieved from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/za/blog/in-it-together/201712/couples-therapy-does-it-really-work

(2) Fraser, C. (2021, March). Reboot Your Relationship in Four Easy Steps. Retrieved from The Gottman Insitute : https://www.gottman.com/blog/reboot-your-relationship-in-four-easy-steps/


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