This book tackles three core questions which are central to the work of marriage and couple counselling services. These are: (i) what contributes to unhappiness in marriage? (ii) does counselling help unhappy marriages? and, if so, (iii) how does counselling help unhappy marriages? In order to answer these questions, we undertook extensive research involving approximately 1,000 couples and 1,500 individuals who received counselling between 2000 and 2002. We also reviewed an extensive body of research on these questions. The road to unhappiness in marriage is generally paved with a series of negative behaviours and associated emotions involving criticism, insulting, not listening and sometimes using force. All unhappy couples engage in some of these behaviours and men and women engage in them equally. However it is the partner’s behaviour rather than one’s own which is seen and experienced as the main source of distress in marriage. This, in itself, is an indication of how men and women who come for counselling feel powerless and hurt while apparently unaware of how their own behaviour is also affecting their partner. These couples seem passionately connected to each other as both cause and cure of their unhappiness. Counselling helps people in unhappy marriages because about half of all clients in this study moved from being stressed to being stress-free. More significantly, counselling helped about four in ten clients to improve their relationship, with the result that a third of men and a fifth of women moved from being dissatisfied with their marriage to being satisfied; the slower movement of women towards a more satisfactory marriage is due mainly to the fact that women were much more dissatisfied than men at the start of counselling and therefore may take longer to reach a satisfactory relationship. Counselling helps by changing the partner’s negative behaviours of criticising, insulting and not listening and by helping clients to become more satisfied with the partner’s share in housework and childcare. Both of these sets of changes bring about an improvement in the relationship. In turn, each of these elements are linked so that a change in one can bring about change in the other: less criticism and insulting can lead to more listening and more satisfaction with the sharing of housework and childcare as the partner comes to be seen in a more positive light.