Updated: Dec 14, 2022
Most couples can benefit from relational counseling, but for some partners there can be communication issues or sticking points that may NEED an outside perspective. If you and your partner seem to be arguing more, or maybe aren’t communicating at all these days, you should consider counseling. Sometimes one partner may be resistant to the idea of trying therapy, which makes the process more difficult. Here are 6 ways to help your partner come around to the idea of going to therapy together:
Let your partner know that you are trying to seek help for the relationship because you care about them and want things to be better. Marriage therapists don’t pick sides, so don’t go into therapy thinking that the counselor is going to favor you. Couple’s counseling is not a place to gang up on your partner-it's a place to gain new skills to bring couples closer together.
Be honest about how you’ve been feeling without blaming your partner. What’s the saying? It takes two to tango? It’s likely that both partners have contributed to the marital issues. Telling your partner that they are at fault for everything is absolutely not a way to get your partner to go to counseling with you as they might see counseling as an attempt to back them into a corner.
Be clear with your intentions. Please DO NOT tell your partner that you want to work on things only to blindside them with a request for a divorce or separation once you get in the room with the therapist. If you’re unsure whether you want to continue in the relationship, be honest about this up front.
Understand that not everyone has positive views about counseling. Give your partner some time and space to warm up to the idea.
Overcome the stigma. Many people still think that therapy is only for “sick” people. This just isn’t the case. Seeking the assistance of a therapist is becoming less taboo because people are finally opening up and talking about the importance of addressing mental and relational health. You might consider talking to your partner about how you view therapy and even offer examples of successful couples that you know who have attended therapy.
Pick a counselor together! It’s important that your partner feels like they are a part of the process and that their input matters when it comes to finding the right therapist. Please DO NOT schedule an appointment with a marriage therapist without telling your partner. Therapist’s can’t have a session without your partner’s signed consent anyway, so counseling is not exactly something you can surprise your partner with.
If you haven’t had success in convincing your partner after all of the above, it might be a good idea to schedule consultations with a few different therapists and invite your partner. Many therapists provide free consultations via tele-health that usually last about 20 minutes. Sometimes meeting the therapist first and having your questions answered can help your partner feel more at ease.
As a couple’s therapist, I specialize in helping partners communicate more effectively. With healthy communication comes respect and honesty, the foundations for a loving relationship. Once we learn to communicate with our partner, my goal is to bring couples closer together by helping them get to know their partner better and remember why they chose each other in the first place. When we show love, affection, and respect for our partner it’s easier to imagine a future filled with love and shared goals.