4 Steps to Sell Your Partner on Couples Counseling

How to Convince Your Partner to Attend Couples Counseling

Couples counseling is a valuable tool that can help troubled relationships get back on track. Unfortunately, it's not something that can be decided on unilaterally. If you're struggling to broach the possibility of counseling, the following tips can help you sell the idea to your partner without causing another fight.

Explain that you want to be a better person.

Even if you have serious concerns and complaints about your partner, it's best to focus on yourself. Express your desire to improve and ask your partner for his or her presence and support. Explain that you believe you need help overcoming personal shortcomings, so you can be more responsive, available and supportive in the relationship. It may be difficult at first, but this sort of accountability can make it much easier to enlist your partner in joint counseling.

Express your desire for better understanding.

Many people have a knee-jerk reaction to the suggestion of counseling, because they believe it means there's something wrong with them or their relationship. This can result in feelings of anxiety and anger, which quickly leads to arguments and withdrawal. To alleviate concerns, explain that you'd like to use counseling to gain a better understanding of where your partner is coming from. Tell your partner that couples therapy will help slow things down and provide a quiet, calm atmosphere that's more conducive to listening, compassion and understanding.

Reframe the idea of counseling.

Many people broach the idea of couples counseling as a "last resort" that will either make or break the relationship. This sort of desperate outlook can inspire fear in your partner, In turn, they may get angry. They may also make bold promises to change in an attempt to avoid counseling.

To sell your partner on the idea of counseling, try reframing their idea of it. Explain that by agreeing to see a counselor, you are both showing your commitment to each other. Express how much you value the relationship and try to help your partner see counseling - not as a last resort to avoid separation - but as an investment in long-term happiness together.

Educate your partner.

Many people have misguided notions of how couples counseling will go. Try to alleviate concerns by educating your partner about the following realities:

  • Explain that the professional is not going to take sides or cast blame.

  • Tell your partner the sessions will not continue indefinitely, but will continue only for a specified amount of time.

  • The therapist will not advise you to stay together or break up.

  • You will not be forced to stare at each other, hold hands and perform other movie clichés.

  • You will learn sound strategies to communicate constructively.

It's not easy to come to a mutual agreement about something as serious as counseling, especially when you haven't been getting along in the first place. By approaching the situation with a calm, compassionate attitude, however, you can engage your partner and plan a better future together.

 
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