You’ve finally experienced all the pain you’re willing to put up with and are ready to seek help. But your spouse won’t even consider marriage counseling. Don’t give up on the idea of marriage counseling. After 38 years of marriage and 36 years of providing marriage counseling I’ve found that people often give up too quickly when it comes to marital therapy. I believe you can make positive changes in your marriage with – or without – your spouse actively participating in marriage counseling. 

5 Most Common Reasons for Not Going to Marriage Counseling

It helps to understand the “why” behind the refusal. Here are the five most common reasons I hear for not going to marriage counseling. 

  1. Money. We can’t afford it.It’s true that marriage counseling is expensive and is usually not covered by health insurance. But it is affordable. Consider this: USA Today estimates the cost of a typical wedding in Oklahoma is $21,475. The most expensive counseling in town won’t cost anywhere near that much. 
  2. Fear. I’ll be told it’s all my fault. I find that a lot of people (particularly men) won’t go to marriage counseling because they are afraid of the counselor with ganging up with their wife in order to blame them for the problems in the relationship. A skilled marital therapist doesn’t take sides.
  3. Blaming. It’s not my fault: you’re the one with the problem so why should I have to go? Rather than argue about how much each is to blame, invite your spouse to go so they can give their side of the story. I believe that no one partner is to blame for all the problems in the marriage.
  4. Denial. We don’t need to go to marriage counseling because we don’t have any problems. 
  5. Experience. They’ve been… and it didn’t work.

So, What Do You Do?

Talk with your spouse. Pick a time when life is relatively calm. The middle of the same, old argument is not the best time to bring up marriage counseling. Don’t argue. Don’t cajole. Don’t threaten. Instead, ask, talk, and most importantly, listen. See if there are any of their objections that you can address.

Ask them to look at a few marriage counselor’s websites. Or, maybe call a few (many counselors will offer a free phone consult.) 

Finally, if your spouse just won’t be moved and absolutely refuses to go to marriage counseling, then go by yourself! Individual therapy that is focused on how you can change the dynamic of your marriage is not only helpful, it may inspire your partner to eventually join you in marital therapy.