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Assembling Ikea Furniture is Now a Tool in Couples Therapy

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It's often joked that Ikea's labyrinthine stores and hard-to-assemble furniture can ruin relationships (see: Tina Fey and James Marsden's Ikea-induced fight on 30 Rock). But according to a new Wall Street Journal report, the struggles of tackling Ikea as a couple are so real that at least one psychologist started using the retailer's furniture as a tool for improving couples communication. According to Santa Monica-based clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, Ikea stores have become "a map of a relationship nightmare," with the kitchen section stirring arguments about who shoulders more of the cooking, the children's section opening a whole different can of worms, and so on.

Durvasula now incorporates Ikea products in communications exercises, tasking couples with "putting together a large piece of furniture at home and reporting back how it went." Durvasula tells WSJ that a small Nornäs coffee table is "fairly undemanding" but it's the massive wall units, like the $1,200 Liatorp TV storage combo (↓), that hold the title of "The Divorcemaker."

On Ikea's front, the closest the company gets to offering couples counseling are "home-furnishings consultants,"available in 85 percent of its U.S. stores (That, and this semi-raunchy ad about how Ikea products can help couples in the bedroom.) According to one former consultant, some best practices for couples prepping a trip to Ikea include focusing on major purchases first and going in at a down time like a weekday evening. For the rest of her tips, plus the full story, head over to the WSJ.

· Can Your Relationship Handle a Trip to IKEA? [WSJ]
· In Stores Soon: Ikea's Gamechanging Furniture Line with Built-In Wireless Charging [Curbed National]
· Here Come 10,000 Ikea Flatpack Refugee Shelters [Curbed National]
· Here's a Video Game About Building Ikea Furniture, Because It's Not Frustrating Enough in Real Life [Curbed National]