Every relationship has its challenges, and part of loving someone is being willing to do what it takes to make it work. Unfortunately, problems often arise in relationships that can range from unresolved past issues to disagreements over finances and countless other topics, big and small. In some cases, you may not even know why you argue so much — you are not alone: according to the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, 22 percent of couples who seek counseling claim they love each other but don’t know what is wrong with their relationship. To help you get to the heart of your relationship matters, use these tips to approach your partner the right way about the need for therapy.
Bring It Up at the Right Time
The time to broach the topic of relationship therapy is not when you are in the middle of screaming at each other. Instead, wait until you are both calm so that your partner doesn’t view your suggestion as a threat. Once you are ready to bring up the subject, do it gently and avoid pushing the issue. If your partner is not immediately receptive to the idea, you can always bring up the topic later.
Avoid Placing Blame
Right now, you probably could make a long list of things that your partner is doing wrong. Yet, making them feel bad is not going to get them to see your side. Often, relationship problems start with a breakdown in communication that involves both people. Trying to blame your partner for issues that involve both of you will only make them feel defensive. Instead, tell your partner that you love them, and you want to go to therapy so that both of you can benefit from your relationship.
Make It Clear It’s a Team Effort
Remember, it really does take two to tango. Don’t tell your partner that you want them to go to therapy to fix their problems. Instead, let your partner know that you want to work together to make things better. Couples counselors are trained to take a neutral perspective that allows both partners to grow. While they may occasionally make a suggestion that is geared more toward one partner’s behavior, this is always done with the understanding that both people are working toward improving the relationship.
Offer Them Choices
Be prepared for your partner to offer reasons as to why they cannot go to therapy. For instance, they may claim that they do not have time in their schedule. Or they may worry about being judged based upon personal factors such as having had an affair. Address these concerns by having options available such as attending sessions online or choosing a counselor who is experienced with helping people handle infidelity. At Cuppls, our relationship experts have flexible schedules and specialize in areas such as providing counseling to gay and lesbian couples so that your partner is sure to find someone that fits their preferences.
Highlight the Benefits of Couple’s Counseling
Make sure that your partner knows that there are many benefits that come with attending relationship therapy. For instance, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists reports that 93 percent of couples found that they were able to more effectively handle their problems after talking to a counselor. Since this is done through learning how to communicate better, these benefits also extend to other areas of a person’s life. For instance, practicing effective conflict resolution makes it easier to end those typical relationship arguments, and the same skills can be applied at work.
Suggest a Trial Session
A hesitant partner may simply be afraid of the unknown. For some people, it is hard to imagine opening up private situations to a stranger. Help your partner overcome this challenge by showing them that a relationship counselor understands their hesitance during a first therapy session. This helps to make the commitment seem a little less daunting, and most people are willing to return for a second session once they see that therapy is beneficial.
There is no better time to start working on your relationship than right now. Remember to be patient with your partner as you talk about the importance of going to therapy. By listing the benefits and allowing your partner to help make the choice of a therapist, you will be on your way toward finding resolutions to your relationship problems.