5 Tips For Getting Your Spouse To Go To Counseling

When facing a difficult time in your marriage, couples counseling can be immensely beneficial. A great therapist can help the two of you navigate relationship challenges, become better at communicating with and appreciating each other, and help you to understand each other’s perspectives. Unfortunately, just because couples counseling may be a great idea doesn’t mean your spouse sees it that way. One spouse resisting counseling is actually a pretty common problem. Here are five ways to deal with it: 1. Listen to Their Reasons It’s a good idea to sit down and have an open, non-judgmental discussion with your spouse about why they are hesitant to attend counseling with you. Approach this in a gentle way and don’t let yourself react defensively to their reasons. You may be surprised to discover that their reasons for not wanting to see a counselor are things you can easily address and reassure them about. For example, perhaps they are worried that you and the counselor are going to “gang up” on them. You can then explain that you instead see counseling as a collaborative discussion between the three of you. 2. Focus on the Positive Another way to help persuade your spouse to attend counseling is to focus on the positive reasons instead of focusing on your problems or the things you’re upset about. Rather than telling your spouse you’d like to see a counselor because you’re mad at them and have a list of grievances you’d like to discuss, tell them you think counseling will help give the two of you better communication and relationship skills. By focusing on the positive aspects of counseling, you will both start to see it as a step in the right direction and perhaps even something to look forward to. 3. Make Counseling Part of a Weekly Ritual Marriage counseling shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. Instead, it should be part of an overall effort to increase emotional intimacy and strengthen your relationship. With this in mind, talk to your spouse about making counseling part of a weekly couples ritual. Maybe you can hire a sitter, attend your counseling session together, and then have a quiet dinner at home where you relax and decompress together, discussing what you found helpful about your therapy session. 4. Ask Them to Commit to Just One Session If your spouse continues to resist counseling, ask them to commit to just one session. If they know they don’t necessarily have to commit long-term, and can back out if they go to counseling and hate it, they may feel less pressured and more open to counseling. Hopefully, once they attend their one session they will be able to see how beneficial therapy...

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The Little Details And The Big Picture: Rekindling Emotional Closeness In Your Marriage

Even though divorces can happen for serious reasons, like infidelity or abuse, many divorces in America happen simply because the love and romance behind the marriage contract slowly fade away. One article lists lack of intimacy, unmet expectations, and a loss of individuality as some of the reasons why couples contemplate divorce. These problems usually come when the closeness and trust you built during the early years is not longer there. It takes some real work to bring closeness back into a marriage, but if you are both willing to put in some extra effort, you can rekindle some of the spark that seems to have disappeared over time. Here are two ways that you can help to keep emotional intimacy alive in your marriage– even when it has been years since the honeymoon.  1. Get the details. One of the reasons why people start to “grow apart” in marriage is because they become so involved in the day to day task of living life, working, and raising kids that they fail to really connect each day and know the specific details about their partner’s thoughts, feelings and struggles.  People change over time, so it is important to always reconnect each day. You can begin to feel closer to your partner again by getting past generic questions like, “How was your day?” and ask questions and share experiences that contain detail and emotion. Some of the questions you could ask include: what was the best part of your day today? what made you feel frustrated today? did you have to deal with any difficult people at work? what did you learn about in your photography class? is there anything you wanted to do today that you didn’t get around to doing? These questions show a deeper level of interest in your partner’s life. As you ask pointed questions, you will get more intimate details about their thoughts, relationships with others, and the personal struggles they are going through. You can remember these details to inform your questions the next day. For example, after your spouse confides that she really struggles to reach a special needs child in her classroom, you could follow up the next day with a question like “How did things go with Johnny today?” These questions do a variety of things: they let you into the world of your spouse, they show that you genuinely care about them and their individual trials, and they also show your spouse that their answers are worth remembering. You’ll find that as you get the real details about life, that you will begin to renew your friendship and trust in one another.  2. Keep the dreams alive. Again, mundane life...

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When Your Better Half Is Blue: Couples Counseling And Depression

When you got married, friends and family members were probably full of advice. Perhaps they advised you about the rough roads the two of you might have to travel further down the marriage journey, and, preoccupied with seating arrangements, cake, and flowers, you brushed their comments aside. However, you and your spouse are now traversing one of those rough roads of marriage–depression–and have spun off into a ditch. How can you tell if your spouse is depressed? How does this disorder affect a marriage? Can couples counseling help you get back on the road? Facts about depression Depression is the most common mental disorder in the world, affecting 16 million Americans and 350 million people worldwide. Women are 70% more likely to experience an episode of depression than are men, and 14% of women will become depressed after having a baby (this is called postpartum depression). Half of the people in this country who are depressed do not seek treatment for their sadness, despite the fact that depression is highly amenable to a combination of counseling and anti-depressant medication. Depression’s reach stretches further than just the person suffering its effects; taxpayers and businesses are also affected, to the tune of 80 billion dollars annually in lost productivity and the costs of treatment. How do you know if your spouse is depressed? Depression doesn’t affect everyone the same way, so you may not realize your spouse fits its clinical picture. Here are some common symptoms your spouse may display: pervasive sadness irritability or outbursts of anger change in appetite or eating habits (eating/sleeping more or less than usual) inability to make simple decisions confusion or “foggy-headed”-ness loss of interest in usual activities reckless, uncharacteristic behavior drug/alcohol use disparaging statements about self statements indicating you would be better off without him/her As you can see, your spouse may appear sad and lethargic, or angry and withdrawn. He/she may come home drunk in the middle of the night, spend a shocking amount of money, or be paralyzingly indecisive about a job opportunity. Only a counseling professional can accurately diagnose depression. How does depression affect a marriage? Depression profoundly affects the health of a marital relationship. Because the two of you are meant to go through life as a team, when one partner is crippled by this disorder the front crumbles. While the affected spouse suffers internally, the other suffers the fallout. Disagreements become commonplace, division occurs on significant life issues, and divorce can loom up ahead. You feel powerless; your spouse feels hopeless. How can couples counseling help? You might think of couples counseling as helpful for negotiating chores, resolving family/career decisions, or addressing infidelity. But it is also critical to helping...

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