Couple sitting on couch with intense faces looks to be arguiing in front of therapist during marriage counseling
Healthy Living

The Best Ways to Suggest Marriage or Family Counseling to a Spouse

Jan 10 2019
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Many avoid the conversation altogether out of fear: here’s how to approach it with ease

There’s nothing shameful about reaching out for help when there’s a problem in your marriage or family. Counseling is a powerful way to work together. It can help you get through the issues that seem to be ripping you apart from your loved ones. Talking with a trained professional gets you past the blaming and the arguments. It helps you move forward together in a way that may even result in stronger bonds. Every day, thousands of families and couples work with counselors to address their concerns.

However, not everyone understands the benefits. Some people are really resistant to counseling, believing that it’s simply “not for them.” But family and marriage counseling can work for everyone. How do you make the suggestion to a hesitant spouse or family member? Let’s explore the options.

When marriage or family counseling may be a good idea

If you’re even considering marriage or family counseling, it certainly won’t hurt. Both types of counseling can help you work through some of the most complex issues that cause deep hurt. Professional counselors help peel back the anger. They guide you to a solution that strives to help everyone feel loved.

Marriage counselors work with couples facing all kinds of problems. Communication breakdowns, sexual problems and infidelity are common. Family therapy, meanwhile, works through pain and wounds that originate from within a family unit. It’s for adoptive parents and blood relatives alike. The Positive Psychology Program explains that helping families become harmonious and loving can help children grow into healthy, stable adults.

How to suggest counseling to your husband or wife

When you’re in the midst of a fight with your spouse, it can be difficult to suggest counseling. That might turn into another fight. The key is to focus on what you hope to gain from meeting together with a counselor. Instead of placing blame on the other person, talk about what the counseling can do for both of you.

Don’t assume that a marriage counselor is going to decide which one of you is right and which one is wrong. It doesn’t really work like that. Instead, suggest a meeting because you want to create change in the relationship. You want to strengthen the skills needed to show your love for each other. If your partner is still resistant, ask them what needs to happen to make it a more comfortable situation. Maybe going to a counselor out of town or with evening hours would be better.

Is it ever a good idea to go alone?

Sometimes, your spouse or family members will simply refuse to go. Don’t beg them or create an ultimatum. Instead, just go by yourself. Dr. Kristi Pikiewicz writes in Psychology Today that even if you go alone, you’re still one half of the relationship. Often, issues might surround addictions like alcohol. It’s just as important for the non-addicted partner to understand how they’re involved in the cycle. If one partner has anxiety, working individually with a counselor can also help, even if you’re not the one with the anxiety.

Benefits of counseling

There are many benefits of going to counseling — and very few negatives. Almost everyone can learn something helpful. Talking about problems, even small ones, improves your overall well-being. Therapy helps you manage tough emotions and overcome stress, even if it’s not a huge crisis. Counselors can hold you accountable as you set goals for yourself and together with your loved ones. Counselors are a neutral third-party. They can cut through well-worn family and couple dynamics to help everyone work together for a solution.

Are you ready to connect with a counselor? Visit Mercy.com today to learn more.


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