Partners can come up with all kinds of excuses as to why you don't need marriage counseling. Reasons often come up like our problems aren't that bad, we can figure things out on our own, therapy is expensive, or we don't need therapy, a therapist can't teach us anything that we don't already know. It is essential to understand where your spouse’s opposition to seeing someone like Dr. Phillips, marriage therapist, comes from before you can convince them that your relationship needs help.
The principle of psychological resistance may hold the explanation to why your spouse is reluctant to the idea of getting the help of a marriage counselor. A person can resist the changes required to become their ideal self. For example, your spouse may display oppositional or counteractive behavior in resistance to the thought of having to change themselves. In addition, they may be struggling psychologically to accept that there are changes necessary to fix your marital problems, even though they know that the problems do exist.
Experts offer three critical persuasive practices to help convince your spouse that marriage counseling can help your relationship.
It is critical to appeal to your spouse's sense of logical thinking when trying to convince them that counseling is a good idea. For example, helping them understand that most couples who go through the counseling process report that they greatly benefit from working together with a counselor to improve their relationship can be valuable.
Studies show that nearly every couple that goes through marital counseling is delighted with the results of their time working together with a counselor to improve their relationship. Couples report that marriage counseling helped them gain skills and coping mechanisms to work through their problems together and have a much better relationship. Satisfaction with marital counseling is remarkably high. Though facts alone are probably not enough to convince your spouse to go to counseling, they are an excellent start to overcoming their resistance to working with a professional.
Never use hostility to try to convince your partner to go to marital counseling because that will make them combative towards you and eliminate the possibility of working through your problems together.
Offering a positive perspective when your spouse has a negative stance on the idea of speaking with a marriage counselor is very important. You can appeal to their emotions by persuasively relaying counseling benefits. Helping your partner understand how counseling may save your marriage by helping settle disputes faster, increasing overall marital happiness, and giving you the tools to work together and communicate better to overcome your problems in the future is vital.
Reminding them that marital therapy is common and more couples are seeking the help of counseling than ever before may change their mind. Show them how marriage counseling can allow you to grow to new heights together and help your relationship flourish. Creating an image of where your relationship could go with the help of marriage counseling is a powerful tool for inspiring hope for your future together.
It is common for reluctant spouses to need time and space to consider whether counseling is suitable for their marriage. Keeping a positive outlook and being patient with your partner while they think about the benefits of therapy will give them time to consider making changes to improve your future together.
Persuading your partner that you need marriage counseling should start with creating common ground within your relationship. If you can both admit that a problem exists and that you both want what's best for your marriage, then you are on your way to helping them understand that therapy is an excellent option for solving the problem. Spend some time together discussing what problems you see within the relationship. Remind them that you love them and want to work together to make your relationship the best marriage it can be.
Finding common ground is key to reducing your partner's opposition and promoting teamwork.
You likely know your partner better than anyone else does. This also means that you know the best approach to use persuasion effectively throughout your conversations. Using the elements of influence effectively throughout your discussions with your spouse can help convince them over time that marital therapy will be good for your relationship. Do not escalate conversations, and always stay calm to avoid accidentally pushing them away from your ultimate goal. Remember that it's unlikely your partner will change their mind about counseling overnight.
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.