There's a great song '80's by Squeeze called " She doesn't have to shave". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xskt2y9kRPY
The lyric regards awareness in a couple that though the gal partner doesn't have to shave, she deals with a raging monthly... and the guy finds places to support her that have meaning for her. A favorite, and only recently resurrected line from that song is "cry as much as you like, I'll do the dishes" has greatly resonated with this weeks work. http://www.metrolyrics.com/she-doesnt-have-to-shave-lyrics-squeeze.html
I am a mental health therapist in OKC. I provide variety of services. This weeks appointments have been a plethora of couples issues. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=coupleship
Couples are any combination of people who are in a relationship that is exclusive, married, committed or working towards that... Some of the couples came in depressed and sluggish, some frustrated and tongue-tied and some ready for full blown annihilation of their partner. All in a days work, I have been doing this for 25 years.
Where to start? With these couples it was empathy. Empathic response has to do with being present, probably more than anything. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empathy Being present means that you are ONLY attending to your partner. No phone. No tv. No radio. No other people. Just directing your full attentions to the other person in honor... and making a decision based upon what you find there between you as to what to do next.
The hallmark of diminishing couple satisfaction is often represented in the absence of conversation. Often their first remark about their history together was that they were able to talk. And they talked and talked and talked.
Life happened, and various confusion or stressors kicked in singularly or in combination. Exhaustion, addictions, other people, obligations, financial issue.... some known and some unknown things. And then the couple either did not have time or make time to talk, did not like talking with one another or found talking generated static and so they stopped.
Having skills early on to understand your OWN circumstance and your partner's circumstance increase your awareness of just how it all can go together as a couple.
One of the questions taken for granted in a couple is that each person would guard and promote their health or mental health... and often one of the things that comes out in couples therapy is that either they did have that agreement and are not abiding by it. OR they never discussed it. Having this baseline promotes individual and couples wellness.
Empathy in a relationship can do wonders for rejuvenating a coupleship.