I was reflecting the other day about my private practice and the demographics that I stepped on faith to serve. If I am being honest a little frustration appeared in my spirit and made me start wondering can I really serve my community.
The divorce rates are on the rise especially after covid and a lot of relational struggles. But when I work with clients even couples it is always the women who are willing to the couples counseling and the men avoid it by saying the following, “we don’t need that”.
The truth is I prefer preventative care, that’s why I try to present and create content center around ways to possibly avoid coming to counseling however sometimes we really do just need additional help. So I started thinking about something I say a lot in the field of education. We throw things out there to our kiddos and expect them to just show up without giving them the tools to make it happen.
So, I was inspired to write today’s blog on the topic of influencing your loved one or loved ones on going to counseling with you.
First step is to connect emotionally
I know from experience that when things are rocky, the first thing we want to last out and say is we need help, because this isn’t going to work. That type of tone or verbiage is not going to influence anyone to attend counseling and it automatically puts them on the defense. You also don’t want the person to become angry nor try to manipulate them because this will lead to resentment and withdrawal, ultimately undermining the effectiveness of the counseling.
Just a reminder that when you start conversations aggressively 9 times out 10 they will end aggressively. Before proposing couples counseling , it’s vital that you first connect with your partner emotionally. Make them feel appreciated and cared for. Maybe even have some fun. Here are some ideas:
- Watch a comedy show together
- Cook dinner with them
- Do a fun activity like playing a card game or miniature golf
- Verbalize five things to your partner that you appreciate about them
By doing this, you’re helping your partner feel like they matter to you, which will support them in being more open, calm, and receptive. The perfect formula to them listening to your suggestion.
Remember when you do have this conversation, make sure you do it at a time that is convenient for them. Don’t do it right before work or when they are stressed out or exhausted. I always preach to my clients (TIMING IS EVERYTHING). Think about how receptive you are when you are exhausted? The calmer the better. Trust me.
Structuring the conversation ( sentence stem)
Here’s an example of a sentence stem you can use
- “babe( or whatever word you use), I would love to have a conversation with you about what you want and need from our relationship.”
- “I want you to know how much I value you and our connection, and I want you to feel safe when it comes to being able to openly communicate your needs and feelings.
- “Are you willing to have this conversation with me?”
When you do this, and for all the following steps, make sure you speak in a gentle voice that focuses on sharing your experience. Doing so will keep your partner relaxed and preventing them from becoming defensive.
Find the missing piece
Now here is the opportunity to listen to your partner’s perspective without judgmental ears. The goal of the conversation is to get an idea of what they need and where they see the relationship, so you can suggest why couples counseling will be beneficial to yall.
Just a reminder the conversation may not be the smoothest when you start to hear things that sound like only you are the problem. The purpose of the conversation is to influence their decision to go to counseling to have access to tools that will help you navigate things better. So, in this conversation please don’t get defensive instead reflect and empathize with their feelings and say things like “so what I am hearing you say is”. How do you think or suggest we could solve that issue?
Bridge the Gap
Now that you heard where your loved one stands. Here’s the opportunity to share how you believe couples counseling will help you accomplish this goal. “I heard you say that you don’t always feel like I support and respect you”. “I want us to attend couples counseling together to help us connect some of the dots that you and I may be missing”.
If your partner says yes, great! Take the next steps to get everything set up but if they said no make it clear to them that you respect their choice but want to understand why.
“Would you be willing to share why you’re choosing not to do couples therapy? I think it’d really help and maybe you don’t, so can you explain please?”
Hear them out and allow them time to marinate on the idea.
Here some other suggestions:
- Read a book together that may help in the area that you both are struggling
- Attend a workshop instead
- Listen to podcast designed specifically to address relational issues together
- Purchase a e course
- Watch sermons that give practical advice as well on YouTube
- Read relationship blogs and implement the tips
- Don’t forget to pray, prayer is one the biggest influence of change when it comes to matters of the heart. So, don’t be afraid to implement it daily. Your first line of defense.
I hope this blog post was helpful and if you are looking to work with a relationship coach/ counselor please feel free to book an alignment appointment with me to see if I am a good for you.
Your Sista on the Sofa,