It’s hard to communicate bad news to someone you love. Read on to learn how to bring up the idea of marriage counseling so that your partner hears you out.
The truth is that healthy marriages thrive on open communication. That includes communicating about delicate topics. If you are hesitant about bringing up an issue, it’s almost always because of one simple reason.
You’re afraid to bring attention to the problem.
Why Partners Back Away From Tough Conversations
No matter how happy they seem in public, the reality is that all married couples have problems. So what defines happy couples? They have more powerful communication habits than dissatisfied couples.
There are three fears at the root of every couple that backs away from tough conversations:
You’re not ready to take responsibility for your side. There are always two sides to the story. If you are unwilling to reflect on your part in the conflict, then this is likely why you're avoiding the topic. Before you worry about how to bring up marriage counseling, consider doing some deep self-reflection.
You don’t want to make your partner feel upset. If there's been an increase in verbal disagreements, you want to prioritize peace. But part of being open and honest is addressing conflict as it comes up. If you’re unhappy with the relationship, you need to talk about it.
You’re convinced your partner is going to disagree. At the very least, give your partner a chance to hear you out. This kind of anxious thinking is called fortune-telling. It prevents you from having healthy discussions about the conflict in your marriage.
Are you ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away on its own? You’re making the relationship issues worse in the long run.
The more openly you can discuss what's wrong, the more satisfying the marriage will feel.
Are you ready to tackle complex topics with your partner? Here’s how to bring up marriage counseling with empathy and compassion.
How To Bring Up Marriage Counseling To Your Partner
Follow these six research-based steps and master the art of tough communication.
1. Clear your head.
First, work out your negative feelings about the issue and set them aside. If you go into the conversation emotionally charged, the conversation will tank quickly.
Be sure you’re in a neutral or positive space before approaching your partner. Mindful communication is crucial when it comes to discussing troubling topics.
2. Schedule a time to talk.
Next, tell your partner you’d like to talk and suggest a time. Avoid vague phrasing such as we need to talk now or we need to talk later.
Instead, make your delivery warm and detailed. For example, you might present the conversation like this: Hey, how was your day? I was hoping we could find time to talk today. How about we sit down together after dinner?
3. Clarify your end goal.
You aren’t having a conversation to point out how things are going badly in your marriage. You’re having a conversation so you can propose a solution. Be sure you know what the end goal is ahead of the conversation.
Once you set aside a time that works for both of you, it’s time to dive in. Here’s how to bring up marriage counseling when you and your partner are ready to talk.
4. Make an emotional connection.
By establishing an emotional bond, you’re activating the trust and love that exists between you. Leading with affection helps both partners feel at ease. Consider your partner’s love language and find a way to remind them how much you care.
This step is critical, so be sure not to skip it. You’re breaking down walls and creating space for open and honest conversation.
If you know physical touch is meaningful to your partner, hold hands during the talk. If words of affirmation are important, begin by telling your partner something you adore about them.
5. Name the problem and offer a solution.
By this step, you should shift the focus from how to bring up marriage counseling to your why. Be as direct as you can and state what’s bothering you. Be sure to use “I” statements rather than accusatory language. Balance the delivery with compassion by letting your partner know that you don’t blame them.
Then, phrase your request to solve the problem positively. Suggest actionable steps to make things right and explain the benefit of taking action. What vision do you have for your relationship? What do you hope to rekindle or repair between the two of you? Let your partner know the value of your solution.
Be sure to keep the conversation as on-topic as possible. If your partner steers the conversation in a different direction, listen. Then gently nudge it back towards your end goal. Accept criticism if it’s on topic.
6. Let go of the win / lose mindset.
Don’t go into the conversation expecting your partner to agree right then and there. Your partner will likely have questions, and this is a good sign! Practice active listening. Take notes on what your partner needs to know before they agree.
When it comes to marriage counseling, there are some common questions you can expect. How much will it cost? What happens during sessions? Is it abnormal to need couples counseling? Assure your partner that you hear their concerns and make a plan to start researching counselors in your area.
After the conversation ends, you should have some next steps in place. Give your partner time to process what you discussed. Then, circle back to the topic after a day or two. Offer answers to their questions. Remember, you’re both on the same team, so be respectful of your partner’s feelings while also asserting your own.
Do you believe communication is a problem in your marriage? Couples counseling can help. Couples counseling uses a research-based approach to improve communication and strengthen your marriage.
Ready to take the first step?
Find out if couples counseling can improve your marriage.
Call 833-934-3573 for your free, no-obligation consultation.
Ready to Book an Appointment?