If you want couples counseling but your spouse refuses, what should you do? You have a few options in how you respond. Your response to your partner’s refusal can have a big impact on the relationship.It is important to carefully consider your options.
If you have been discussing couples counseling, clearly you must want some change to occur in your marriage. Therefore, individual therapy for yourself may still be a good option for you. Even if your partner doesn’t want counseling, seeking therapy for yourself can still be helpful. Depending your goals and needs, it’s likely that you can still learn some new skills and strategies that can help your marriage.
If you decide to attend individual therapy, remember that changes you make can influence your partner. Even if your partner attended couples therapy with you, you can’t make your partner change. So focus on changing what you can, within yourself. Making some changes in how you behave, solve conflict, and relate to your partner can improve the marriage. If you show a willingness to make change, it also may encourage your partner to reconsider therapy at a later point.
If you decide not to do individual therapy for yourself, you could choose to do nothing. You could decide if your partner isn’t willing to attend couples counseling you won’t do anything either. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to a stalemate. One partner draws the line in the sand and the other one won’t budge either. This can lead to both people thinking, “I don’t need to change, you’re the problem.”
Another option is to try and convince your partner to attend counseling with you. If your spouse refuses, nag, beg, whine and do anything within your power to get your spouse to agree. Sadly, this technique can drive a further wedge in the relationship as your partner is likely to grow more annoyed and less motivated than ever to attend therapy with you. Express your feelings to your partner, make your wishes known, and then leave it up to your spouse to make a decision. Avoid begging and whining.
If your partner refuses counseling, don’t give up on your marriage. Many people don’t want to attend couples therapy, however if you are willing to attend individual therapy, you can make some positive changes. Focus on making yourself the best partner you can be and it’s likely that will improve the relationship.