How To Talk To Your Spouse About Online Marriage Counseling
By: Patricia Oelze
Updated February 24, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault
Marriages can be challenging, and sometimes problems come up that you can't or don't want to deal with on your own. Online marriage counseling is a convenient way for couples to work through their problems, improve communication, and work on developing a healthy relationship, but it can also be intimidating if you've never used therapy services. Many people are scared to bring up the topic of online marriage counseling with their spouse for fear of making them feel uncomfortable or even mad, but there are plenty of tactful ways you can bring up the topic.
Explain to your partner why you are interested in online marriage counseling.
In most cases, when people are interesting in taking online marriage counseling, that means there are issues in the marriage. Of course, those issues vary and there is no one cause or situation which automatically or inherently leads to taking counseling. Of course, if you believe that you and your spouse would benefit from taking online marriage counseling, then you'll definitely want to explain why you feel this way.
When you are explaining the reason why you believe online marriage counseling is needed, it's important to speak objectively. Instead of assigning blame, make sure that you focus on the issue itself and not the perceived faults of your spouse. That can come later in the conversation, but it's very important to ease your spouse into things; while you're expressing your interest in online marriage counseling and the reason behind it, take note of your spouse's reactions and how they appear to feel about it. That will impact the success or lack thereof of counseling.
Make it clear that this is not their fault.
Many people don't like the idea of marriage counseling because they feel attacked or uncomfortable when the topic is brought up.
Even if it is not your intent, your spouse may interpret your desire to go to therapy as anger or placing blame. It's so important for your spouse to know that you are not blaming or attacking them for issues which may exist in your marriage. Another important thing to consider is that your spouse may not have had exposure with online marriage counseling or other forms of therapy. If this is the case, then you'll want to ensure that your spouse knows that you're not faulting them for anything or placing blame. When someone doesn't have exposure to therapy and counseling, being asked to partake in it can easily be interpreted as a personal criticism.
Before posing the question, tell your spouse that you are concerned about your relationship in general, but that the problems aren't anyone's fault. This will help them feel less defensive and more open to what you have to say.
Remind them how much you love and care about them.
It never hurts to remind your spouse how much you care for them, and this is particularly important before bringing up the topic of online marriage counseling. If you approach the conversation from the angle of wanting to improve your relationship because you care about your spouse, all of a sudden the concept of therapy and counseling seems much more positive.
Because it's so important for your spouse to know that you love and care for them, the timing in which you choose to bring up online marriage counseling is so important. Bringing up the talk during a positive and happy time is much better than starting the conversation during an argument or at a time when you or your spouse are busy. In order to increase the likelihood of the conversation going positively, both you and your partner need to be in a good and open state of mind.
Ask them to listen, and then reciprocate when it's their turn to speak.
Before starting the conversation, ask your spouse to listen to what you have to say without interrupting or walking away. Be sure to do this in a calm, soothing manner to alleviate some of the tension that your spouse likely feels in this moment. Once you're done explaining things from your point of view, let your spouse express their feelings and ask questions without interrupting them. If they feel like their point of view is heard, it will be easier for you to have a constructive conversation about marriage counseling.
Another important thing to be aware of is that your spouse may not initially be open to online marriage counseling. This is particularly plausible if they simply haven't had much exposure to therapy or counseling. For these reasons, when you bring up the subject, being very attentive to your spouse's feedback and thoughts on the matter is very important. This can provide a lot of insight to their state of mind.
It's important to remember that in order for online marriage counseling to be effective, both you and your spouse have to be on board and open to the feedback and suggestions of the counselor. This is why listening to your spouse and reciprocating when it's their turn to speak is so critical.
Explain some of the benefits of online marriage counseling.
If you calmly explain your desire for counseling to your spouse and they seem skeptical, talk to them about some of the benefits of online marriage counseling. Talking to someone online can be much less intimidating than seeing a counselor in person, and it also allows you to plan the sessions around your schedules. You can also tell them that marriage counseling focuses on encouraging positive communication and working through problems together instead of placing blame or pointing fingers. By framing the concept in a positive light, your spouse may start to think about the idea a bit differently.
When you and your spouse attend online marriage counseling sessions, you both can heal and grow as a couple. This is another important benefit which you should discuss with your spouse. Sometimes people who are hesitant about attending counseling or therapy feel this way because they are worried that doing so may indicate the failure or end of something. In reality, online marriage counseling can actually help couples heal and have a better life. When you and your spouse are both clear about online marriage counseling, its benefits and why you both should attend together, then it increases the likelihood of you having a better experience and reaping the best possible results.
Approaching Online Marriage Counseling
If you are struggling with your marriage, try counseling on BetterHelp. You and your spouse can work with certified counselors and therapists online to solve the various issues which may be going on and improve your marriage. Although online marriage counseling can require time, patience, and personal reflection for both you and your spouse, at the end of the day, you will both be able to reap the benefits of a happy life together.