Couples Therapy Tip: Relationship Inventory


Answering the following questions often leads to insight in my patients who seek both individual and couples therapy.

  1. Please describe your feelings in this relationship with your spouse, I.e. “I feel rejected when he/she …”, “I feel controlled when he/she does…”
  2. Describe your needs that are not being met. Do you feel some of the same emotions in other areas of your life such as work, friends and others?
  3. Make a list of characteristics and behaviors that you like about your spouse. Do you have some of the same characteristics? How are these characteristics similar to the one(s) related to your parents?
  4. Make a list of characteristics and behaviors that you do not like about your spouse. Do you have some of the same characteristics? How are these characteristics similar to the one (s) that reminds you of your parents?
  5. Are you experiencing some of the same feelings with your spouse that you had with your parents, brother, sister (frustruation, anxiety, lack of control, abandonment, hurt)?
  6. Can you identify some of those needs that were not met by your parents and siblings? Are those needs being met by your spouse?
  7. How are you currently playing the role of the mother/father in your present relationship? “I am like a mother…”; “I am like my father…”
  8. Make a list of the main things that you complaint about your spouse. How are you displaying the same behavioral patterns in your relationship?
  9. What are your expectations / hope from your spouse?
  10. Take the place of your spouse for a moment. Express what you imagine would be his complaints about you. Do you believe that there is some validity as to how he would feel/think about you?
  11. What do you think is obstructing the ability to reach an ideal? goal in this relationship?
  12. How are you contributing to your lack of harmony in the relationship?
  13. Describe the ways in which you feel controlled by your spouse. Why are you allowing your spouse to control you? How do you control your spouse?
  14. Give examples of when you feel rejected, ignored, dismissed, betrayed, abandoned by your spouse.
  15. Make a list of the ways show intimacy or closeness with your spouse. How do you let your spouse know that you love her/him?
  16. What makes you the happiest in this relationship?
  17. Describe the ideal person that you would like to be in a relationship. (Please notice that you have just described your ideal-self as to how you would like to be). How are you failing to become that person that you would like to be?
  18. How would you like for your spouse to take for feelings into consideration? “I am hoping that when I express my feelings to him/her, he/she would….”
  19. Free associate: ” Men are….”, ” Women are…”
  20. Describe how you feel at the completion of this exercise.          

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