Objective The objective of the garden metaphor is to help couples draw boundaries between individual

versus couple issues.

Rationale for Use

Individuals frequently want to influence the behavior of their partners. Often this is motivated by a concern as to how the partner's behavior will impact the individual's own well-being. Other times, however, it may be motivated out of a concern for the partner's well-being. Although trying to influence a partner's behavior is a natural and ongoing process for all couples, some couples struggle with one or both partners perceiving the other as too controlling. This is particularly true for couples in which one individual tries to influence the other partner's behavior, but the partner perceives the issue as something that should be outside the other's influence. The metaphor of gardens described here helps couples think more clearly about individual versus couple issues, allowing them to better negotiate what should or should not be open to their partner's influence.