You’ve reached a point in your marriage where you think some outside guidance would be beneficial and maybe help fix some of the problems you feel your marriage has. We cannot commend you enough for making this realization and deciding to 1. invest in your marriage enough to do the hard work, and 2. seek help from a professional marriage counselor rather than seeking input from friends, family, or social media. Now comes the task of talking to your spouse about it. This can sometimes be the most daunting part of counseling, but we are here to help. In today’s post, we offer a few tips to help you talk to your significant other about attending couples counseling.
1. Be open, honest, and vulnerable.
The one thing that frightens most people is admitting there are problems in their relationship. When you are open and honest with your partner about what you see and feel, it helps avoid placing blame and comes from a place of love and a desire to fix things rather than an accusatory “we need help or this won’t last” feel. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable with your partner and bearing the parts of hurt, shame, guilt, and fear you may have will help them to see why you are seeking therapy.
2. Remind them you are being proactive rather than reactive.
Marriage counseling gets a bad wrap as being a hospital for broken marriages on the brink of certain disaster. However, couples counseling can be beneficial for any stage of a relationship and any kind of a relationship. Many couples benefit from counseling before they get married and when the relationship is still in the honeymoon phase. There is no right or wrong time to go and many times it can help prevent bigger issues that can lead to a crisis.
3. Don’t be afraid to go alone.
Yes, it works much better with both partner’s buy-in, but don’t let your spouse’s hesitation stop you from trying. Going alone can help get a feel for the therapist, give you some personal insight and relationship tools, as well as help offer your partner more information about what it all entails and what they can expect. This can all show your dedication to the issue as well as quell any fears they may have about the unknown.
And, a few things NOT to try.
Now that we have shared a few helpful tips, we’d like to remind you of a few things you should never do when talking about couples counseling with your partner.
- Accuse your partner of anything.
- Make ultimatums.
- Hide your attendance from them.
- Schedule an appointment before talking to them.
- Use their willingness to attend therapy as a love gauge.
- State that they are the reason why you need counseling.
Marriage takes hard work and commitment. Two people grow and change while they adjust to the expectations and demands of their partner and their life together. With the right counseling and support, your marriage stands a fighting chance to be a lifetime of bliss. For happy marriages and struggling ones alike, couples counseling can help bring partners closer together and lay a healthy foundation for a successful future together. If you are interested in beginning your journey, take the first step by contacting Dr. Beth Firestein at Inner Source to book your first session today.