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State of Marriage: Counselors point to importance of openness and communication for couples

Saving a marriage through communication
Saving a marriage through communication 02:47

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Divorce rates in the United States are on the decline, but not because of the reasons that you might think, while the causes of couples parting ways have remained consistent.

New data from the CDC shows divorce rates are declining because more people are living together without getting married. Turns out, millennials are waiting longer to get married and some couples end out splitting without needing a divorce.

The new statistics have KDKA's John Shumway looking at the state of marriage.

Marriage counselors listen to couples' issues every day. It can take effort to get them to open up and talk, says counselors Molly Alvord, of Thriveworks, and James Shamlin, of Cranberry Psychological Center.

"We want to be able to do the work in the marriage necessary to be able to say - we can talk about anything," Shamlin said. "Easier said than done."

"A lot of times, the build up to having a conversation is the most stressful part," Alvord said. "When you get it out, it can go a lot better, just to have everything out in the open."

A look at the key issues that come between couples 03:04


Whether you are doing it with a counselor or doing it on your own, they say it takes a deliberateness of effort.

"Looking at each other when you're talking instead of being distracted by the phone or something else, so really feeling that connection goes a long way in a lot of different areas," Alvord said.

"I love when a couple comes together and they use the word 'we' in all matters," Shamlin said.

The counselors say not being able to talk can be the root of all issues - from kids to intimacy and especially financial situations.

Of course, many people are reluctant or just don't want to admit they need to seek counseling help. But the counselors say, one way or another, couples have to be able to sit down without distractions and talk about the issues in the marriage without judgement. 

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