How to Talk to your Partner About Couples Counseling
We still live in a world where the topic of therapy can still be looked down on. We are slowly making changes, but we are not at a place where everyone believes therapy is beneficial and helpful. Sometimes our partners reflect the negative view of therapy or have a fearful view of it. If you think Couples Counseling would be helpful and you are wanting to pursue it, here are some ways to best communicate your desire for it.
Share about your desire using "I think, I feel, I want" statements, not "You should, you need."
When we start our communication with "you" statements, it often sparks a defensiveness from your partner. It's like when your doctor says "you should lose weight or you need to watch what you eat." When we hear that we often feel ashamed, defensive, or offended. Starting the conversation by saying "I want us to pursue couples therapy," "I feel like couples therapy could help us," or "I need us to pursue couples therapy" can help diffuse the defensiveness that arises. Share your thoughts, feelings and needs and then invite your partner to share their thoughts about what you are bringing up.
Be open to their view.
It is important for you to also give your partner space to share their thoughts, feelings and needs. Listen to what they have to say and really listen to what they are saying. Consider their fears and concerns and work towards collaboration. Maybe that looks like reading a book about increasing your relationship before starting therapy or scheduling time each week to check in on your relationship. It's important that you both be willing to try couples therapy and that it not be forced.
Consider the time, place, and energy of yourself and your partner before having the conversation.
Evaluate the situation before bringing this up with your partner. If your partner is often drained after work, consider waiting to bring this topic up or asking to schedule a time to have this conversation and letting them know what you would like to discuss. It's important you both come to the conversation with an openness and good emotional state. I encourage you to find a calming space you both feel safe in. Maybe that's on your couch, on a walk together, or laying in bed. I discourage having these conversations at dinner or where there are lots of people around you. Create a space you both feel comfortable in.
Implementing these ideas can help you communicate with your partner about Couples Counseling and potentially get you the support you are wanting and needing.
What's your biggest difficulty communicating your needs with your partner?