Relationships take work. Even in healthy relationships, partners will argue or disagree from time to time. This is completely normal, regardless of how long you and your partner have been together. Sometimes, the challenges you face as a couple can become more than both of you can handle on your own and couples therapy is needed to help you resolve your differences.
There are several reasons to see a therapist and many ways couples therapy can be beneficial. But what can you do if you are ready to see a couples therapist and your partner isn’t?
Here are five ways to talk to your partner about couples counseling.
Write a letter to your partner.
Writing a letter can give you the opportunity to take time expressing how you feel. Alternatively, it gives your partner time to process what you’re really saying rather than reacting to your words in the moment. Remember to use I-statements like “I feel frustrated,” rather than you-statements like “You frustrate me,” which can sound accusatory and can cause your partner to feel defensive or stop communicating altogether.
Bring it up when you’re getting along.
Tension can make communication difficult. Emotions like anger and frustration can run high when you’re in the middle of a disagreement. Your partner might not be as receptive to the idea of couples therapy when he/she is upset. Wait until you’ve both cooled off to talk about it.
Approach therapy with the solution in mind.
Focus on the positives that come with attending couples therapy. Remember, blame can make your partner feel attacked, possibly resulting in defensiveness rather than being receptive to what you’re saying. Telling your partner that you want to strengthen your relationship by learning to communicate and problem-solve more effectively with one another might make him/her more comfortable with the idea of couples therapy.
Involve your partner in the process.
Sit down together and research counseling centers and therapists. This is an opportunity to find common ground with your partner, and reinforce the idea that you are both in this together. Going to counseling can be difficult for some, so looking for counseling options together can help you and your partner feel less apprehensive about the process.
Attend counseling by yourself.
If your partner isn’t ready to see a couples therapist, that’s okay. You can always attend therapy on your own. Therapy can teach you effective communication and healthy coping skills.
Every relationship has its own dynamic, and there is no such thing as “normal.” In fact, you might consider attending couples therapy even when things are going well since therapy can teach you how to resolve conflict, move on from past hurts, and communicate more effectively.
If you think couples therapy can help improve your relationship, contact one of our counseling centers. We have locations throughout Central Florida, in Kissimmee, St. Cloud and Longwood where our therapists specialize in individual, family, and couples therapy. We also offer couples therapy at our counseling center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.