What if your Spouse Does Not Want to Go for Counseling?
Perhaps you feel that your marriage could use some help. You have broached it with your spouse – but he or she does not feel the need and refuses to go. This is one problem that has stopped many people from going to marriage counseling.
Why the Reluctance?
When you first suggest it, your partner may drag his or her heels about getting help from a marriage or family therapist. There are actually some reasons for the reluctance or resistance. These may include:
– Their fear of sharing personal and intimate details with a stranger.
– They are satisfied with the status quo and feel that such efforts will just rock the boat.
– They are happy with the way they are and don’t want to make any changes.
– They are happy with their position in the relationship (the level of power they currently hold) and fear that this may change if they undergo counseling.
– They feel that the problem is with the other spouse.
– They fear that counseling sessions will be all about outlining their shortcomings. Perhaps, afraid you may gang up with the therapist and lecture them or emotionally browbeat them.
– They feel that your budget can’t accommodate it. The question really is, can you afford NOT to go to couple’s therapy? Marriage therapy or counseling programs are often provided by training centers or by religious organizations at a fraction of the price.
Don’t wait for your partner
When you know that it is time to seek help for your marriage, you can go for marriage therapy even by yourself. Of course, it would be better if both partners participate. However, it is better to work with just one person rather than ignore the danger signs and not go at all.
Going for marriage counseling by yourself can help:
– Have a deeper understanding of your spouse
– Know how to communicate with your spouse
– Learn and understand “what makes your spouse tick” and how to influence him or her constructively and positively
– Learn what you can change about yourself
– Understand how to deal with conflict and at the same time provide a positive environment for your children
The great thing about growing while undergoing therapy is that it can encourage your spouse to join you in the marriage therapy sessions. When your spouse sees the positive impact of counseling on you, he or she may want to see “what it’s like” and how it has helped you.
How to encourage your spouse to also want to join in
Here are some ways to persuade your spouse to attend couples counseling sessions with you.
– Share. Discuss with your spouse the reasons why you want to go into couples counseling. There may be instances where you feel your conflicts can be better resolved with the help of an unbiased third party who has the necessary training. Share that getting couples counseling will help you gain a deeper and better understanding of each other. You can also outline the issues you can thresh out during counseling, including problems with substance abuse, sexual disconnections, handling money and other stressors.
– Listen. Ask and listen to your spouse as he or she discusses his or her unwillingness to go for marriage counseling. Listen to his or her reservations and feelings about the matter. Don’t start an argument or criticize him or her about his or her feelings. You can convey your disappointment but at the same time confirm that you respect his or her decision.
– Make the appointment. After you have done all to convince your spouse and he or she is still unwilling, set the appointment with your choice of marriage therapists. Inform your spouse about the appointment (the time and date) and invite him or her to join you.
– Get help from your therapist. Ask the therapist to help you get your spouse involved and what further steps you can take.
While you encourage your spouse to go with you to see the marriage counselor, do so lovingly and graciously. When your spouse sees you taking the steps and sees the positive changes in you, he or she will, hopefully, want to join in.
Finding a Therapist Where You Are
It is helpful to find a therapist near you. If you are residing in Provo, Utah, there are a number of reputable and highly trained marriage and family therapists to help you. One of them is Triston Morgan. With years of experience under his belt, he is also certified to provide PREPARE/ENRICH courses for engaged couples. As a practicing therapist who provides Utah marriage and family counseling, he has helped families, couples and teens. He is also a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.