What Should You Do If You Want Marriage Counseling But Your Spouse Does Not?

Posted on: 16 June 2017

Making the decision to find a counselor and begin the process of marriage counseling is a difficult one, even though it is an excellent tool for repairing your marriage and strengthening the relationship between you and your spouse. Unfortunately, often one of the partners in a marriage will decline to participate in the process, which presents a definite challenge to you and your counselor. For the greatest chance of repairing your marriage, you should work with your counselor to develop strategies to bring your spouse into the process.

Understand Where Your Spouse Is Coming From

The prospect of marriage counseling can be terrifying for your partner; your partner may not want to admit anything is wrong in the marriage, may not agree with your estimation of the issues at hand or may not want to make an effort to fix the marriage. In addition, many people carry a strong stigma against counseling, especially marriage counseling. Your partner may not see it as worthwhile or may not want to share your personal life with someone he or she considers to be a stranger. There are many reasons why your partner may not want to engage in marriage counseling; it's important to discuss why they do not want to begin the process and take steps to resolve it.

Discuss Strategies With Your Counselor

However, in a marriage that is already strained, it can be difficult to discuss issues such as potential marriage counseling with your spouse. Therapists like Cranberry & WEXFORD PSYCHOLOGIST are experienced with situations like these, as it is common for one partner in the marriage to be apprehensive about counseling, and are knowledgeable about steps you can take to ease your spouse into the process. For example, if your spouse is defensive or expects that you will hold him or her at fault for all the issues in the marriage, you can arrange a one-on-one session with your spouse and your therapist where you do not have to be present, and your spouse can have ample space to discuss his or her side of the story. If your spouse feels uncomfortable with a certain counselor, for example if you have been working with that counselor on your own for a period of time, you may consider attending marriage counseling sessions with a different therapist in order to make your spouse feel more comfortable.

Marriage Counseling Is Still Worthwhile For One Party

Even if your spouse does not want to attend joint sessions with a marriage counselor, receiving marriage counseling from an experienced therapist is still a useful endeavor. Your counselor can instruct you in coping strategies, give you advice on how to handle shared parenting duties, and offer a neutral perspective on the health of your marriage.

When your spouse does not want to participate in marriage counseling, do not get angry and assume that he or she does not want to repair the relationship; sitting in front of a therapist and talking about your deepest interpersonal issues with your spouse in the room can be a terrifying experience for many people. It's important to slowly ease your spouse into the process and to be as understanding as possible in order to give you the greatest chance of success in repairing your marriage.