One of the things I did was go to marriage counseling. A lot of marriage counseling. And marriage courses. And seminars. And retreats. And anything I could get myself or "us" enrolled in that I hoped would save "us." My spouse was usually more than game. We were both pretty miserable, and looking for a "magic bullet."
But in retrospect, I can see one of the reasons why counseling (and most of the other stuff) didn't work for us. Every single doggone counselor we ever saw wanted to start off by working on "communication." At the outset, that seems very reasonable. But the problem is, honestly, none of them ever seemed to get beyond that. And the fact that (looking back) I have an objection to that is really ironic, because I was a Communications major in college. I love the topic of communication--the psychology, the history, the rhetoric, the everything of communication. But for some reason, the more my spouse and I worked on our communication (painstakingly following multi-step models to guide us, writing things down and reading them out loud, using "key phrases," and every trick in the book) the worse things got for us.
The question is, why?
I believe that the answer is that communication wasn't the real problem. There were underlying issues that were so bad, that there was no good way to communicate about them. Those issues were an elephant in the middle of the room--that we tried to "talk nicely" around. It didn't work. In fact, honing our communication skills just made us better at fighting about the elephant. Better communication didn't make us more peaceful--it made us more articulate fighters!
Have you ever been in marriage counseling? Did the counselor fixate on communication, but without a seeming ability to address underlying issues that fueled the communication?