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011. Zippers and Wallets: Helping Couples Navigate the Power Issues in Marriage


Michael Sytsma, Ph.D. , Shaunti Feldhahn, MPP






When is the issue not the issue? When the issue is sex or money. Both of these hallmark causes of conflict in marriage are seen frequently by couple-helpers, and both are commonly misunderstood as being too specialized (or too awkward) to address. Current and ongoing research has identified common, simple underlying emotional and relational factors that significantly impact couples’ relationships in these two key areas. Participants will observe how this new information integrated with current helping skills can equip couple-helpers to guide couples through game-changing breakthroughs for the relationship. 


Learning Objectives 

Participants will: 

  1. Identify the primary source of financial conflict among couples, including core value differences, fears, and obstacles to oneness, as evidenced by recent research with married and partnered couples 
  2. Identify underlying sources of sexual conflict in married couples, including myths and attribution errors supported by current matched-pair couple research 
  3. Facilitate current research-informed conversations between members of a couple around these fears and values as a means of resolving the deeper issues rather than arguing about the details of the subject