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What To Do When Your Spouse Won’t Go To Marriage Counseling

One of the common questions I receive as a Marriage and Family Therapist is how to deal with a spouse who refuses to attend marriage counseling sessions. Many times, the wife seeks out the help of a therapist, only to get frustrated that her husband is not interested in coming.

First, we need to understand why the other person refuses to attend. Here are a few common reasons I’ve seen:

  • Bad past experiences with counseling
  • Denial of the problem
  • Resistance to change
  • Looking “weak” for going to counseling
  • For men, they may not want to face the fact that they are unable to fix the relationship themselves
  • Some refuse to go to counseling as a means of controlling their partner and the relationship

When a wife, in particular, realizes her husband will not see a counselor with her, she may give up and decide not to go at all. However, one of the best things you can do for your relationship is to go to counseling, even if the person you love chooses not to attend. For those who decide to come by themselves, a few things can often happen:

  • The husband will attend a few weeks after she does to “set the counselor straight.”
  • The wife will start feeling better and more confident about herself, which will in turn improve some aspects of the relationship.
  • The wife begins to learn skills to better cope with her husband’s behavior, causing her to feel hopeful again.

These positive outcomes are not limited to wives; perhaps a husband is seeking help but the wife refuses to come. These principles still hold true. By initiating change in the relationship, you learn ways to cope and be emotionally healthy, which in turn strengthens the relationship.

If you’d like to pursue counseling but your partner doesn’t, contact us, and let’s work together to bring positive change to your relationship.


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