When you experience problems in your relationship, you may think that seeing a marriage counselor could help. The challenge? You’re not sure how your spouse will react when you suggest seeing a therapist. Unfortunately there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about couples therapy that could make someone feel uncomfortable. Here are some ways you can start the conversation about whether marriage counseling in Salt Lake City is right for you.
1: Choose the Right Time
Bringing up the idea of marriage counseling in the middle of an intense or heated argument is not the best time. Talking about the need for couples therapy can elicit feelings of fear, shame, and embarrassment, so it’s important to choose the right time to approach the subject. There may never be a really perfect time, but when you’re ready to start the conversation:
- Don’t lead with complaints, or a long list of things that bother you about your spouse or your relationship
- Allow your spouse a chance to talk about concerns or hesitations related to therapy without blaming or shaming them
- Be empathetic and honest, and share some of your own reservations or fears about therapy
- Try not to get defensive (even if they do initially), and don’t take it personally if your spouse has a negative reaction; give them some time to work through the idea
2: Talk About Your Goals
Because the idea of “marriage counseling” still comes with a stigma for some, your spouse may interpret the fact that you want to go to therapy in the wrong way. One of the most common myths out there is that marriage counseling is often the first step down the road to divorce, which could make your spouse fearful or depressed. They may also worry that you are going to blame them,orthe therapist is going to “side” with you again them. Share the reasons that you want to seek therapy—better communication, less fighting, a long and healthy relationship. Knowing that your goal is to make the relationship better (and not to try and “fix” your partner) can make them more willing to go.
3: Choose a Counselor Together
If your spouse is hesitant or distrustful when you bring up the idea of marriage counseling, choosing a marriage counselor without their input can make them feel like it’s you and the counselor against them. Instead, involve them in the process to select a counselor so they feel like they have some control and choice in the situation.
For a spouse that is reluctant to start couples counseling, finding the right way to talk about it can make a big difference in their willingness to try. Talk to your spouse honestly about how you feel, and let them know that your goals are to strengthen your relationship. Contact Boyle Counseling & Consultation to learn more about our marriage counseling in Salt Lake City and get all your questions answered.