If you've ever gone into an Ikea with a significant other, you know it's a veritable minefield for arguments. You can blame screaming kids, endless aisles, or just pure shopping exhaustion, but only the strongest couples make it out still on speaking terms. Then, once you're at home, trying to build your Billy shelves — that's when the cracks in a relationship really start to show. That's why Santa Monica-based clinical psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula uses Ikea furniture assembly as a marriage counseling exercise.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Durvasula explains that she will task a couple with assembling a large piece of furniture at home, and then have them report back to her about whether it went well or not. She even calls one particularly complicated piece of furniture, the Liatorp, "The Divorcemaker."
As for how she evaluates the exercise, Dr. Durvasula told us, "It's not really a pass-fail grading system. I view it more as a diagnostic. We can learn a lot about communicating under frustrating conditions, the roles they take, and how they cope with a short term stressor."
Wondering whether your partner may be "the one?" Perhaps you should head to Ikea to see if your relationship can withstand the ultimate Swedish test. Lycka till! (Good luck!)