So Your Partner Won’t Go To Marriage Counseling
I have to be upfront here. I am critical of marriage counseling for a multitude of reasons, which is why I developed The Fire of Knowledge. That said, I am still here to offer free advice in my professional point of view.
Marriage counseling is not desired by one or both partners for a few reasons:
-A partner may be in denial, claiming that the relationship doesn’t need saving.
-The counselor may be seen as someone that will criticize their behavior, placing all of the blame on their shoulders.
-One or both enter counseling with the mindset of blaming their partner for the marital turmoil.
These reasons can make marriage counseling unable to solve any relationship, which does help to explain the absolutely abysmal statistics as they relate to post-counseling success. 85% of couples did not get the help they desired and only 50% stay married. You are noticing a discrepancy, no? Well, 35% that didn’t get divorced stay in a marriage, even though they are miserable.
As I explained in the opening, I am critical of marriage counseling. I studied it and I’ve been involved (on both sides). Remember, though, I am a coach, not a counselor. I specialize in emotional transformation, something that is almost unheard of in the counseling community. Psychotherapists get into that, per Cognitive Behavior Therapy, which is effective, but the vast majority still don’t see relationships in very healthy way, that is, few individuals blend emotional transformation with setting up healthy foundations of marriage. That said, the way to maximize your chances of marriage counseling working is to come at it from an unbiased standpoint. Put the bigotry aside. I can help you set the foundation for entering counseling or you can use and abuse the services I offer so that you don’t have to go to counseling.
What do you do:
Forcing your partner to go to counseling is sure to backfire. When you exert control on your partner, they are more likely to pull back, not lean in. You have to re-invigorate the relationship on a foundational level before you are able to go to any counseling. During this time, you have to absolutely master yourself. Don’t do it out of desperation; do it out of necessitation. Fix yourself, for yourself. Doing this will yield incredible benefits, extending that olive branch once again to your partner, where they feel the comfort needed to accept it.
Realize that just because they don’t want to go does not mean that they are disinterested in the relationship, necessarily. You are likely in a difficult spot if you are considering marriage counseling, but it is just not meant for times of crisis. My program works in and out of crisis, as it has that individual-centred focus. Humans have a physiological need for connection. They are rewarded when they have a deep connection and they are punished when they do not. If you extend that olive branch, then you can show them that reward is possible, for both parties. The purpose of my program is so that you learn how to master yourself, in good times and the bad times (especially the bad). At that point, the point of self-mastery, you can gravitationally change your partner (without coercion or demands). They may also be willing at this point to go forward with marriage counseling. It seems counterintuitive, but the best time to enter marriage counseling is when things are on FIRM ground, not shaky ground. Realize that you still have to go home from marriage counseling, and you have to have a tool set for how to manage yourself and behave in your relationship between sessions.
Well if the relationship is on shaky ground, then marriage counseling can stir up tensions, only making things more difficult at home. But if you wait until things are foundationally intact, you can work on the relationship as a team, without criticism,judgment and guilt.
Respect your partner’s wishes, whatever they are. Pushing them one way or another does not signal to them that they are respected. It does not signal to them that you are someone they desire to be with, only someone that you think they have to be with. How unattractive is that? Realize also that if you enter marriage counseling, your unwilling partner may just see the counselor as someone to complain to about you. Finally, someone will listen to their complaints about you and not judge them. That person should be you, not some third party. And that is another reason that differentiates counseling and coaching. As a coach, I am here to elicit individual success that can grow into relationship success. I am not going to convict your partner of relationship crimes. I will find ways to re-ignite the fire, not put it out by stirring up conflict.