Relationship counseling is often a last resort for couples on the brink of the divorce. But some couples try counseling early on when the first problems rear their heads. Counseling is certainly something that a couple shouldn’t be afraid to try, even if the problems are relatively minor. Often, catching small problems early with counseling can prevent bigger problems down the road. Early counseling can even something prevent a future divorce.
Today’s couples seem more eager to try to new things, which makes counseling a good option. Couples married years ago seem less likely to go for counseling or try new approaches, perhaps because it wasn’t something commonly done when they were younger. Very often marriages of 30 or 40 years now end in divorce, which is a shame because they’ll never know if relationship counseling could have helped save the marriage.
If you feel like you need relationship counseling, be sure to as your partner to go to counseling with you in a non-judgmental way. If you ask him or her to go to counseling in such a way as it seems like you are accusing them of being the problem and needing counseling, you’re likely to encounter resistance to the idea. Try to make it clear that you want the counseling for yourself if nothing else.
If you ask your partner to go to counseling because you have some issues you need to work on, they’re more likely to view the idea favorably. Explain that you think you need some help to be able to contribute more to the relationship, and to learn how to be a better partner or spouse. Don’t accuse the other person of need counseling. Even if you believe that they are most of the problem, don’t say so. Once you’re in relationship counseling, they will learn tips and techniques for being better within the relationship, just as you will.
Don’t be afraid to suggest relationship counseling, whether you’ve been in the relationship for 3 months, 3 years or two decades. It’s never too late to try counseling to resolve problems. And it’s never too late to try to keep small problems from becoming big ones. If the relationship is relatively new, you might think that you’re admitting to problems and admitting that the relationship is rocky by suggesting counseling. But that’s not true. But facing any obstacles now, you’re making the relationship stronger in the long run.
If your partner believes that your suggestion of relationship counseling means that the relationship isn’t perfect, and maybe even is doomed, calmly explain that that isn’t true. Just because you’re willing to admit that everything is perfect shows that you’re willing to make necessary changes to keep the other person and yourself happy.
If your partner refuses, go on your own. While the counseling would work best if both of you go, you can go and work on things to improve yourself. If your partner sees you going to relationship counseling, they’re more likely to give it a try.
Loving Relationships: Becoming a Lovable Person in a Loving Relationship