is often a last resort for couples on the brink of the divorce. But some couples try counseling early on when the
first problems arise. 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 sometimes help prevent a future
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 to 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 ask your partner to go to counseling with you in a non-judgmental way. If you
ask him or her to go to counseling in a way that seems opinionated, you’re likely to encounter resistance to
the idea. Try to make it clear that you want the counseling "at least" for yourself.
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 needing 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, or admitting that the relationship is rocky by suggesting counseling. But that’s not true. By 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 you both 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