The majority of couples experience some measure of dissatisfaction in their relationships. Studies have shown that couples who work through their problems have better long-term outcomes than couples who choose divorce. Through counseling and relationship coaching, couples can learn the needed communication skills for growth in relational intimacy.
Our therapists understand the complexities of relationships and can offer real hope for your marriage or partnership. Whether you've been together 5 months or 50 years, every relationship can benefit from couples counseling. Through the counseling process, we will identify communication deficits, find ways to build trust and intimacy, and hopefully have a little fun along the way.
Upon request, our male and female therapist can work separately with each partner (male/male and female/female) and then come together for couples' counseling. This unique approach can facilitate growth and healing in relationships, bringing hope for change.
What if my partner doesn't want counseling?
Consider how you asked them about counseling. Demanding your partner go to counseling is not a good way to the conversation. When approaching a difficult topic, the start of the conversation is essential. Instead of telling your spouse "you need counseling," begin by telling him or her what you love about them, why you married them, what you enjoy about marriage. Paint a good picture and then tell them the truth—”I want more of that.” Tell them you want the relationship to be even better; you want to be an even better partner. Counseling is not simply about dealing with the negative aspects of marriage, it is about expanding the positive aspects of marriage. If you didn’t start the conversation well, apologize to them. Tell them you were wrong and try again.
Don’t demand an immediate answer. It’s possible your partner is surprised by your request or hasn’t put the time into thinking about your relationship as you have. They may need time to consider what you're asking. Demanding an immediate answer often leads to defensiveness which can cause a spouse to decline - or even be offended. Give them time and space to consider your requests. Respect their decision making process, which might require more time than yours. As you respect them by giving them the time they need, they should respect you by giving you an answer. When you ask them to consider counseling, negotiate a time frame in which they will give you an answer.
As you go, invite them to join you. No matter what your spouse says, go to counseling. Ideally, your spouse will join you, but go with or without them. You can only control you. You can’t make them change. If counseling is needed, you should go. Maybe they will eventually join you, but do not wait for them—go. Going alone also speaks volumes to your partner that you are willing to work on your own "stuff" in the goal of personal improvement. Individual counseling can also reveal communication deficits, poor confrontational styles and relationship tendencies that can be addressed in hopes of interacting with your partner in a more positive way.
Go to change you, not to change them. You should never attend counseling with the main focus being on how to get them to attend counseling. Any time we counsel, read, listen to a sermon, or do anything with the intent of changing someone else instead of us being changed, we have the wrong attitude. If you are attending marriage counseling alone, do so with the intent of becoming the best husband/wife you could possibly be. Do not attend with the assumption that the real problem is your spouse. Go to be changed.
Pray. Pray for God to change your spouse’s mind. Pray that God would change your spouse’s desire. Pray that God would empower you to love your spouse no matter what their decision. Sincerely pray on their behalf.
Few things are as frustrating and isolating as a spouse who refuses to join us in working on our marriage. It is tempting to feel rejected and ignore the opportunities we have to work on the marriage. While it is preferred for a couple to seek counseling together, individual counseling can go a long way.
14 Questions to consider if you need couples counseling
1. Do you worry your marriage is headed in the wrong direction?
2. Is there a significant secret which you have not told your spouse?
3. Do you feel disrespected by your spouse?
4. Are you unable to discuss your concerns or feelings?
5. Is there a destructive behavior by you or your spouse which could destroy your relationship?
6. Do you feel there is an aspect of you or your spouse’s life which you do not share?
7. Is there an unusual new stressor in your marriage (i.e. grief, child with special needs, sickness, etc)?
8. Is there a significant issue to which you cannot find a workable solution?
9. Do you sense you and your spouse are growing apart or living parallel lives?
10. Does either partner ever get emotionally or physically out of control?
11. Do you find yourself thinking regularly about someone else?
12. Do you experience the same conflict over and over without resolution?
13. Do you think with some effort your marriage could be better?
14. Is your relationship void of physical or emotional intimacy?