How to Communicate with Your Partner about Going to Marriage Counseling-
Does this look like you when you’re doing your best to communicate with your partner about marriage counseling?
If you are like the other interested husbands and wives that call me all the time but can’t seem to get their spouse to join in, don’t give up just yet. You are wise in wanting your spouse to go with you as counseling is the quickest and most effective way for you to improve your marriage. I am convinced that if a couple would devote 90 minutes of their time for one session, that they would be filled with new hope for their relationship possibilities. If only it were that easy!
Before you even try to “drag” your spouse to marriage counseling, let me first share some of my secrets with you on How to Communicate with your Partner AROUND the issue of coming to marriage counseling, because I wouldn’t want the issue of coming to marriage counseling to put even more stress on your marriage.
The first step in learning how to communicate with your partner about marriage counseling is to know there’s always going to be a Dragger vs. Dragee
First of all, there will almost always be some dragging involved. Let me introduce you to the dragger and the draggee. This means that one of you is going to be more interested than the other. You can expect that if you are the interested party, that you will be doing the dragging. However, there are a few things you can do to reduce the resistance of the dragee.
Your Spouse Has Good Reasons for Not Coming to Counseling
Understanding that your spouse has good reason not to come to counseling is the first step in learning how to communicate with your partner effectively around the issue of marriage counseling. Realize that all because your spouse doesn’t want to come to counseling does not mean that he/she is ignorant or disagreeable. There are plenty of good reasons why your spouse would not want to come to marriage counseling, including all the previous times that it hasn’t worked. Would you be excited about being blamed or shamed, forced to change, or ganged up against by the therapist? I sure wouldn’t be. Although I guarantee that Imago will be different, nobody buys that until they have their first session.
Take Responsibility for Your Part
The second thing you can do to learn how to communicate with your partner about going to marriage counseling is to reduce resistance. The way you do this is to take responsibility for your role in the relationship. Most people resist couples counseling because they feel that their spouse wants to change them. Many spouses just don’t know how to invite their unwilling partner to work on their relationship in a safe way. The next secret for learning how to communicate with your partner about going to marriage counseling is just that-taking responsibility.
When you take responsibility for your role in your marriage, you take the burden off your spouse. Of course both of you are accountable, but if your spouse feels like it is all his/her fault, he/she will be less likely to acquiesce to your request. So what can you do to take responsibility?
How to Ask Your Spouse-there is no secret here.
There are no tricks or lies involved. You simply tell your spouse that you really want to be a better spouse and that you are inviting them to join you to help you in that endeavor. If there are any undesirable behaviors you do in your relationship which might hurt your spouse, now is a great time to acknowledge one and say that you want to work on it so you can be easier to live with. You can also say that you are only committing to one session and you can decide afterwards if it is helpful. This also takes away some of the risk as it is only ninety minutes of your time. After that hour and a half, you never have to come back again!
Go with the Resistance
What if all of these techniques you’re learning for how to communicate with your spouse don’t work? Don’t resort to coercion or threats. The worst thing you can do is to pressure him/her. No matter how ready you are, sometimes your spouse is not ready. It is important to go with the resistance. In the long run you will find that this approach of accepting your spouse where he/she is will benefit you the most.
How to Improve Your Relationship Regardless
In the meantime, find out what you can do on your own to improve your relationship. Click here to sign up for our free e-course- What if my spouse isn’t interested- 6 things you can do to create a happy marriage with an unwilling partner (including learning how to communicate with your spouse) . You will learn things you can do to build safety, trust, and love in your relationship. After you work on those, it may be a safer time to invite your spouse again for counseling. While things may be so good that you won’t feel the need to go to counseling, I feel that for couples who are committed to counseling, it is the best shot for you to improve your relationship as you have the opportunity to practice being together in your relationship in a whole new way.
Summary: How to Communicate with your Spouse about going to Marriage Counseling:
- Understand why your spouse may have good reasons for not coming to counseling, such as bad past experiences.
- Take responsibility for your part in your relationship troubles
- Learn how to ask your Spouse in a way that removes the pressure and takes responsibility
- Go with the resistance and don’t force if he/she says no
- Sign up for the e-course to improve your marriage even if your spouse isn’t interested
I’m hoping this piece will promote your confidence in learning how to communicate with your spouse. And if you need a bit more help in learning how to communicate with your partner about going to marriage counseling, feel free to give me a call at 443-570-7598.