When their marriage is in jeopardy, many people are willing to do anything it takes to make things right, including couples counseling. However, in some relationships this is not the case. While we would all like to think that our solution to a problem (i.e. counseling) is a worthy one and that our relationship is worth saving, it can be hard to convince someone else of this fact, particularly if this is the same someone who is part of the “problem” in the first place.
In these cases, many spouses want to convince their partners to go to counseling with them. However, it is impossible to “make” someone do something they don’t want to. While discussing the process with your spouse is clearly important, truly “convincing” them is too much like playing games to be helpful for the relationship.
For the best results, your partner must come to counseling of his or her own accord. Because he or she wants to. Otherwise, you risk making the situation even worse.
In my experience, the best thing to do in this case is to attend counseling yourself to work on your own inner healing and peace. Once you begin that process, your counselor can help you understand and work past why your spouse isn’t committed to counseling and you may be able to convince your spouse to join you in the process. While there are no guarantees with this method, it is the best way to work on the most important part of this relationship: yourself. [Related: How to Find A Good Couples Counselor]
Why You Should Attend “Couples” Counseling Alone
The prospect of attending “couples” counseling by yourself may seem contradictory. And, in fact, there are a lot of scary statistics flying around the Internet that say doing so actually increases the chances of divorce. Whether this is true or not is irrelevant, however. If you are hurting and feel trapped, maintaining your marriage without helping yourself doesn’t do anyone any good.
Many people have found that attending “couples” counseling is more about working on themselves than on their relationship. While you may start the journey by complaining about your spouse, a good counselor will work beyond that, and focus on you and why you find yourself in this relationship in the first place.
Not only will you acquire the tools and coping mechanisms you need to deal with your relationship problems, counseling will help you to understand why and how you find yourself in this situation in the first place. By working on yourself, you guarantee that, no matter the outcome of your relationship or your spouse’s feelings and actions regarding counseling, you come out on top.
[Related: 3 Changes You Can Make Today to Improve Your Troubled Marriage]
Who Your Partner Doesn’t Want to Go to Counseling
While every person is different, most people who refuse to go to counseling fall into one of a few broad groups:
- They feel counseling will be all about “blame”, mostly on them.
- They are embarrassed to speak with a counselor or don’t want to fight in front of others.
- They are concerned about the time/money commitment.
- They doubt the effectiveness of counseling (feel that all hope is lost for the relationship).
- They don’t feel the same amount of hurt/pain and think the relationship is “fine.”
While it is helpful to address these issues with your spouse directly, understand that, if he or she isn’t ready or doesn’t “believe” in the counseling, then all the logic in the world will not work. Through the process of working with your counselor on your own, you may be able to convince your partner (through your own actions and healing, not through further argument) that the process can and will work. Otherwise, your counselor can help you come to terms with why your partner refuses to come to counseling him/herself and help you work through it. The most important point here is to figure out the best course of action for you.
Let me help guide you on your path and unleash your best potential to ensure that you have the absolute best relationship with yourself, starting today.