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 will be to your relationship and agree to attend more sessions. In fact, most people who do attend marriage counseling end up enjoying it, with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy citing a 98% satisfaction rate from clients. Even if they don't agree to attend further therapy appointments, at least you will know that you tried, and perhaps you will both learn a few valuable things at the initial session.
5. Consider Going it Alone
If your spouse remains adamantly against couples counseling, perhaps you could attend counseling on your own. While this will not involve both of you, individual therapy can help you to learn stronger communication and relational skills, as well as lead to a better understanding of your own behavior regarding your spouse. You may find this is enough on its own to start improving your marriage.
By following these five tips, you can tackle the problem of your spouse's resistance to counseling while also becoming closer as a couple. If you are interested in marriage counseling, go to website.