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How to Suggest Marriage Counseling to Your Partner Without Freaking Them Out?

by Shlomo & Rivka Slatkin / April 14, 2017

Many wonder how to suggest marriage counseling to your partner without freaking them out. The thought of going to marriage counseling may imply something is wrong with the marriage, or that your spouse feels like you are a problem or he/she is ready to leave the relationship. There is also the fear that going to marriage counseling might exacerbate an already bad situation or stir up the pot.

That’s why it is important to learn how to suggest marriage counseling to your partner without freaking them out.


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The first thing you must do before any conversation is to make sure it is a good time to talk. This will dramatically decrease potential reactivity as you are making sure your spouse has a moment to prepare before hearing something that might be difficult. It will give him/her a chance to prepare, and hopefully to listen attentively.

 

Once you find the right time, focus on yourself. If you make your spouse feel on the defensive, like he/she is the problem, then they’ll freak out and go into fear mode. Share an appreciation with your spouse and you can also say that I would like to be a better spouse and I know I am not always the easiest person to live with and I thought it might make our relationship even better if we worked on our relationship together with a professional.

 

Coming from a positive, growth-oriented perspective and emphasizing this as an opportunity for you to be better as opposed to implying fault in your spouse, is a more effective approach.

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Offer to let your spouse read about the counselor and even schedule a time to speak over the phone. I always assure couples interested in our marriage retreats that we focus on the couple as a whole, don’t take sides, and our main goal is to create safe connection. That means the fears that people have regarding typical marriage counseling are non-issues in our program.

 

The retreat format also helps allay any fears of counseling being drawn out over the course of weeks and years as it allows for a more time efficient approach. The retreat is also appealing because it can be seen as a get-away to recharge the relationship as opposed to weekly marriage counseling sessions.

 

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