During the past months or even years, you’ve watched as your once-loving marriage began to deteriorate to the point that you know you need help. Unfortunately, this has become just another battle in your marriage since your spouse refuses to even consider the very idea of going to therapy. While you might have tried telling your spouse that the Center for Mental Health reports that 75 percent of couples described their relationship as being better off after couple’s therapy, it still doesn’t mean that your spouse is coming on board. Use these tips to help convince your partner that marriage counseling is worth the extra effort.
Look for an Opening
Keep in mind that your spouse’s hesitance to go to counseling does not mean that they don’t love you. It’s possible that you brought it up at the wrong time, such as during a fight. Alternatively, your partner may have had bad experiences with counseling in the past. Try to wait for a time when your partner is relaxed to bring up the topic. You could also open the conversation by telling your spouse about another couple who is going to counseling. Once you think the time is right, try asking them to go to counseling again, as it’s possible that asking a second time will yield a different answer.
Address Specific Reasons
Our relationship counselors hear many reasons regarding why people waited so long to seek help for their marriage. Time is a common reason given. Between working and taking care of kids, your spouse may simply feel as though they don’t need one more thing on their plate. Explore the specific reasons why your spouse is so against counseling so that you can find solutions. For instance, you could attend online sessions to eliminate the time constraints. Alternatively, you could let them help pick the counselor so that they feel more comfortable opening up in the sessions.
Avoid Pushing the Issue
Keep in mind that Statistic Brain reports that 11 percent of couples describe feeling contempt for each other, and trying to push counseling on to your spouse might cause them to rebel. Don’t threaten them with a divorce or hold their unwillingness to go over their head. Instead, talk about counseling using positive language when your spouse seems receptive to hearing your ideas. Although it may take time to get them to see your side, letting them come to their own decision helps you enter counseling together with the right mindset.
Suggest a Trial Session
Sometimes, a person looks so far down the road that they get overwhelmed by the thought of counseling. For example, your partner might be worried about making a commitment to weeks or months of meetings when they have a lot on their schedule already. Asking to schedule a trial session takes the pressure off of your spouse to make a major commitment right away. This way, they can ease into the process of working with a professional counselor to begin mending your relationship.
Consider Going Alone
If all else fails, keep in mind that couples therapy can still be effective even if you go alone. Although it’s definitely preferable to work together as a couple, it is possible that learning a few strategies such as how to communicate better could influence how things go at home. As your spouse begins to see the changes that occur within you, they may be more willing to accompany you to a session. Talking to a counselor also gives you an opportunity to benefit from the support of a professional who understands what it is like to live with challenges in your relationship.
It’s normal for spouses to have different opinions about the need for couples therapy, and our counselors see this all the time. Although it’s frustrating to feel like your needs are being unheard, it’s possible that your spouse just needs time to see the benefits that counseling brings to a relationship. As you wait for them to come around, remain patient and remember that you can always benefit from attending a session by yourself until they want to join in.