Encouraging a Resistant Partner to Try Couples Counseling

Are you and your partner struggling to see eye-to-eye?

Have you tried to talk through your problems, but feel like nothing is changing?

Is your partner resisting or refusing to give couples counseling a chance?

Most couples go through rocky periods during their relationship. Sometimes conflict is triggered by a specific event. Other times, it’s seemingly out of nowhere. Regardless of how you came to this point, you and your partner may find yourselves unable to communicate in a productive way. Perhaps you are arguing more frequently or feel distance between you that wasn’t there before. While this can be overwhelming and frightening, going through a rough patch does not mean that your relationship is doomed. Couples counseling is a proven tool that, paired with hard work, can help to improve the understanding, compassion, and love that you already hold for one another. You may even emerge from counseling out a stronger couple than ever before.

Signs that It’s Time to Seek Couples or Marriage Counseling

There are a number of reasons that motivate partners to seek out a Couples Counselor. You and/or your partner may be…cracked heart | couples therapy & marriage counseling | st. petersburg, fl

  • Constantly bickering
  • Barely speaking to each other
  • Having or considering an affair
  • Lying about finances or spending habits
  • Arguing about the same thing over and over again
  • Dissatisfied with sex and physical intimacy
  • Considering ending the relationship

Counseling can help repair & heal broken relationships. The things listed above may make your relationship feel miserable. Yet, our counselors have seen couples overcome these difficulties and strengthen their marriage or relationship. You can reconnect with your partner, improve your relationship and find happiness in your marriage again!

Common Reasons People Resist Couples & Marriage Counseling

Unfortunately, some individuals are resistant or unwilling to engage in couples counseling. They may feel uncomfortable discussing intimate life details with a stranger, especially if they have never been to counseling or had a bad experience with a former therapist. They may worry that the therapist will “pick a side” and blame or criticize them alone for the problems in the relationship. They may also view couples counseling as a sign of a weak relationship.

In reality, a good professional therapist will never “take sides” during a session. Couples counseling is designed to be a space where both partners can openly talk about their thoughts, opinions, and feelings. On top of that, investing in the health of the relationship by attending couples therapy is a sign of strength, not weakness. It provides couples with the opportunity to learn healthy communication skills and work together as a team to resolve relationship issues.

How to Approach a Counseling-Resistant Spouse or Partner

Couple holding hands | Marriage Therapy | St. Petersburg, FL

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

If your partner does not respond positively to the idea of couples counseling, consider reframing how you approach the topic:

  • Be direct. Tell your partner that you want to make the relationship work and that counseling could help the relationship move forward in a positive direction.
  • Do not bring up couples counseling angrily, threateningly, or with an ultimatum. Broaching the idea mid-argument will only make your partner feel more defensive. Instead, do so when you can speak calmly, openly, and cooperatively.
  • Do not assign blame. If your partner feels like they will be blamed for your relationship problems during counseling, it is unlikely that they will be comfortable attending a session.
  • Suggest that you pick a counselor together. This way, your spouse feels included in the process. In order to get the most out of couples or marriage therapy, it is important that you have a couple’s counselor that is a good fit for both of you.
  • Convince your partner to try a single session. It’s a lot easier to make a small, time limited commitment. This way, they don’t feel trapped into making a long-term commitment to counseling before knowing what to expect.

If your partner continues to refuse to try couples counseling, consider seeking out individual counseling for your own personal support.

Meet McNulty Counseling’s Marriage Therapist

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist l Couples Counselor l St. PeteJerry Miller is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I work with couples, married and not married, and families, experiencing relationship issues, including infidelity and trust; communication problems; financial issues; intimacy concerns; separation and those contemplating divorce. I have also worked with their kids, whose lives are often turned upside down, because of what is happening in the family. As a marriage and family therapist, I enjoy helping the entire family. I especially enjoy working with men, not because they want to be in therapy, but because most do not. If I can convince the male that he will benefit from the process, both he, I and the family will have made great strides. It’s a challenge and I welcome it. Jerry is passionate about providing mental health counseling and couples therapy for over 15 years now. He sees adult clients for couples therapy and welcomes all types of couples, including married, partnered, LGBTQ, and polyamorous at our St. Petersburg, FL counseling clinic. Jerry also enjoys treating anxiety disorders, depression, addiction/substance abuse, and grief/trauma.

Begin Marriage & Couples Counseling in St. Pete today for a Healthier Relationship!

We are here to help meet the needs of couples in the St. Petersburg, FL area who want to work through their relationship problems. Contact McNulty Counseling today to begin the journey to better communication and a more harmonious relationship.

Are one of you still unsure about starting marriage counseling? Learn about the benefits of couples & marriage counseling and what to expect from couples counseling on our mental health blog.