Behavior modification is usually thought of in situations involving children with behavior problems. Children that have been diagnosed with ADHD, ADD, mental retardation, depression, social anxiety and many other disorders. However, there are many other situations where behavior modification is the recommended treatment such as behavior modification in marriage.
Behavior modification in marriage works the same way as it does with children suffering from behavior problems. The divorce rate today is higher than it has ever been before. The main reason (besides the no fault divorce) is that couples don’t or can’t always work out their differences and problems. Behavior modification in marriage helps the couples to discover what their problems are, thus making it easier to work towards correcting and eliminating them.
Behavior modification in marriage is handled by a marriage counselor or therapist who acts as a mediator for the couple. The couple is interviewed separately and as a couple so the counselor can determine what the main problems are and the best way to correct them. Some couples are uncomfortable talking to a counselor or feel they can’t afford counseling, etc. While it is best to have a third party present, specifically someone trained in this field, couples can attempt behavior modification in marriage on their own.
Behavior modification in marriage involves both parties discussing where their concerns lie with their partner. Some concerns may be small ones while others may seem like they are insurmountable. All the problems each spouse has with each other should be listed on a paper, with the most serious listed on the top. As with any behavior issues, they aren’t all going to be eliminated at once, so it’s important to start with the most serious to the relationship.
The next step in behavior modification in marriage is to identify how you want this behavior changed. For instance, if a wife has a habit of saying “You never do what I ask” to her husband, she will learn a positive way to express herself to her husband.
The use of positive words and thoughts is a large part of any behavior modification. For example, a better way would be for the wife to be more specific with what she would like done such as, “I would like you to pick up your towel after showering”. In this way, the husband is not put on the defensive, yet the wife is expressing her feelings.
Another effective method of behavior modification in marriage is to give “rewards” to each other when something positive takes place. For instance, if the husband picks up his towels, the wife may want to cook him his special meal or give him special time with his friends, etc. These methods have proven to be very successful with couples when both work together on their issues. However, if the problems don’t seem to be improving after a month or two, they may wish to see a therapist for counseling.