Relationship counseling can work wonders for you and your partner, especially if you are going through a challenging time together. Unfortunately, not all people are on board with the idea of therapy in any form. The following tips can help you reap the benefits of counseling even if your partner refuses to go.
Tip #1: Get to the root of the issue
Before assuming that you are in this alone, find out why your partner wants to eschew therapy. Ask in a pleasant, non-confrontational way. There can be many different responses. For example, some people simply don't trust a therapist or want to bring a third party into the relationship, while others feel like there is a negative stigma to counseling or they are afraid they will be marked as a failure in the relationship. Knowing the reason will help you as you further your own growth through counseling.
Tip #2: Talk with the counselor
Be upfront and honest with the relationship counselor about your partner's reasons for not attending. Don't let your own hurt or anger color the truth in a negative way, such as by placing all blame on any relationship issues on your partner's shoulders. By being honest with your counselor, they can help you devise strategies to take home with you so you and your partner can still be working together on your marriage outside of counseling. The counselor may even be able to provide you with information that will set your partner at ease so they are more likely to come to a session later on.
Tip #3: Try take home therapies
As long as you are still attending the counseling sessions, you will still be provided with at-home strategies to try to help improve the challenges in your relationship. Ideally, your partner will at least be on board with working on the relationship at home. In this case, you can put into effect the conversation and listening skills your therapist is coaching you about, or to try out recommended exercises your therapist has pinpointed as being well suited to your specific issues. In this way, you attending therapy alone is still beneficial to you, your partner, and your overall relationship.
Even if your partner refuses all forms of counseling, including working on the relationship at home, it is important that you still seek relationship counseling if you feel it is needed. A counselor like Sharon O'Connell, MA can help you work through your own feelings about the relationship so you can make an informed decision about any next steps you should be taking.Share