One of the things that many face in a relationship is the stubbornness of their partner to participate in making changes. And this stubborn attitude acquires an even greater intensity in one specific area: attending marriage/couple’s counseling. It isn’t uncommon for spouses to show reluctance towards attending therapy and admitting that their marriage really does need help. They may often talk about counselors in a negative light and say that therapy is a waste of time and money.
Some other common excuses made by partners to avoid marriage counseling include the following:
- Fear of being blamed for all things going wrong in a relationship/marriage
- Not convinced about the results of counseling (‘it won’t do any good’ attitude)
- Feeling ashamed about arguing/fighting in a therapist’s office
- A strong belief that the couple is capable of solving its own issues
- Denial with regards to the deteriorating state of the relationship/marriage
If you’re struggling to convince your partner to join you in couple’s counseling, these tips might be helpful:
Pay attention to the timing and your tone
One of the most important steps in convincing your partner to join couple’s therapy is to choose the right time and the right approach for the conversation.
It won’t do any good if you get angry with your partner and will perhaps result in greater resistance from his/her end. Relationship counselors suggest that it is best not to bring up the topic when you’re in the middle of an argument or fight. Instead, try and create space for the conversation when you’re having a good time or getting along fairly well.
The truth is that when you approach the topic from a place of love, it is less threatening for your spouse. They need to know that you’re only looking to strengthen your bond and create more cherished times.
Be calm in voicing your concerns
The worst thing you can do when trying to convince your partner for marriage counseling is to threaten them with a divorce or blame them for the things that aren’t working out in the relationship. Rather than employing an ‘attack’ approach, start by focusing on the good things in your marriage and then move on to the concerns. Avoid pointing fingers at your partner as much as possible. Threats and accusations can be extremely hurtful and prompt a negative reaction from your partner. Another good way to address the problem is to take responsibility for your own mistakes. This will encourage your spouse to sit up and really listen to your concerns about the relationship.
Educate your partner about therapy
Once you’ve let your partner know that you’re coming from a place of love and that you’re really interested in marriage counseling (because the relationship is valuable to you), take small steps to educate him/her about the subject. They will likely feel more comfortable when they know what to expect in the sessions. For instance, you could tell your spouse that the counselor is not there to take anyone’s side. In fact, a good marriage counselor will always avoid favoritism. Also, tell your partner that you wish to attend the counseling in order to learn different ways of treating him/her better. These small encouragements can make a huge difference in convincing your partner to attend marriage counseling. Let them know that most people report couples therapy as positive and feel that it has strengthened the relationship.
If your relationship is struggling give us a call. We can make it easier for your partner to join you in building the relationship you both want.