What To Do When You Want Counseling, But Your Spouse Doesn't


Marriages suffer for all kinds of reasons: lack of regular maintenance, an affair, an addiction, unhealthy behaviors (i.e. nagging, manipulating, belittling, name-calling etc.), in-laws, poor financial decisions, lack of intimacy, and the list goes on and on.

So what do you do when you recognize that your marriage needs professional help, but your spouse either isn’t there yet or refuses to go to get help with you?

Well, at this point, you have two options: 1. You can either continue to live in an unhappy marriage or 2. You can follow these tips and try to make a positive change in your marriage.

1. Get Yourself Healthy

The first step to seeing change in your marriage is to get yourself healthy! So find a good counselor in your area and set up an appointment. A healthy and happy marriage takes two healthy and happy people who are focused on making it work. So, if your spouse isn’t at that place yet, take the first step to work on yourself… even if it means taking it alone. Get. Yourself. Healthy. Both you and your marriage will be better for it.

2. Let Your Change Speak For Itself

The next step is to allow the positive changes in you to speak to your spouse. Actions speak louder than words. So don’t brag about how you are getting help or how you’re the “only one working for your marriage.” Make positive changes and let your actions speak louder than your words. Not only will your spouse eventually notice that you are happy and healthier, but they will see that you are no longer choosing to engage in fighting or negative behaviors.

3. Give It Time

Keep in mind that change doesn’t happen overnight, and even once you have begun to make a healthy change in yourself and in your marriage, your spouse might need some time to work through his or her own issues in order to be ready to join you in fighting for your marriage. So be diligent in being loving, gracious, respectful, and grace-giving while you wait. Honestly, it is going to be difficult, but your marriage is worth fighting for.

4. Think of Alternatives

Lastly, if your spouse still is not comfortable with the idea of counseling, try a smaller baby step first. Get a marriage book to read and discuss together or get a marriage podcast you can listen to together in the car.

Use the resources we have here at Marriage365. Our MyMarriage365 webcasts are very popular with spouses who tend to shy away from counseling. You get to watch them in the privacy of your own home and our Connecting Questions are designed to get you talking about the issues you’re dealing with. Read our blogs, watch our YouTube channel and maybe schedule a coaching session for just yourself. No matter what it is, just keep trying and do something, anything!

Marriage takes hard work and sometimes our partner is so lost in the thick of their own battles that they need for us to not be afraid to take the first step. So don’t be afraid and don’t wait any longer.

Get some help and get healthy!

Written by Anna Collins
Anna Collins lives in sunny Southern California with her husband and two children. She is passionate about her marriage, staying at home with her kids, writing, coffee, good conversation, and game night. Her life dream is to someday write a book and see it published.