The crux of difficulties with couples is a problem for the ages: communication. What does this consist of? In part, this consists of knowing each other and understanding. A significant part of this is the social and psychological background of each partner. If we have been traumatized in the past, we are compelled to recreate the trauma in our relationships. Freud termed this the repetition compulsion. Thus, if one had hypercritical parents, one tends to be critical. We move towards the familiar..good or bad…How do we cope with this? Mutual respect, part of which is greatly engendered by assertive skills. First, state your problem clearly..I am upset because you____….Step 2….how does this make you FEEL (do not attack or derogate)…Step 3…state the consequences of the other working with you or not working with you. A great source on this is the text. “How to say No without feeling guilty” by Manual Smith is a great source on assertiveness. These skills give one a good start coupled with humility, forgiveness and being a peacemaker. One has to look at the short and long range consequences of words and acts. Things from the past can not be undone. However, people can move forward with positives.