You have relationship problems, and you’re ready to work them through in Houston marriage counseling and relationship counseling. Only one problem… your partner isn’t. Maybe he is in denial that you have problems. Or perhaps she just doesn’t “believe” in counseling. Whatever the issue, many people find that they have a partner who is reluctant to seek professional help, even though the marriage may be in dire need of it.

Here are a few tips for talking to a reluctant partner about going to Houston marriage counseling:

Talk about yourself. If you put the focus on your partner and the issues you want him or her to work through, it can put them on the defensive. Instead, discuss the things you want to work on in counseling for yourself and explain that you think both of you can benefit from learning to communicate better. The key is to INVITE with something that sounds like this, “I need help in learning how to become a better partner for you.  I think that any relationship specialist would also need you in the room in order to help me.  I hope you’ll consider helping me by going with me, so I can become a better lover to you.”

Ask your partner to give it a try. Don’t ask for a commitment to ongoing therapy upfront.  Instead, say you want to your partner to go to one session and see how it goes from there. If Houston marriage counseling seems like the right fit, then you can continue going.

Make it clear that you don’t want to separate. Often, people assume that therapy is the first step on the road to a divorce. Even if your spouse hasn’t brought it up, it may be in the back of his or her mind, so address it. Explain that you want to strengthen your relationship, not dissolve it.

Don’t make it an ultimatum. This can just lead to a fight and further exacerbate relationship problems. This can also feel like a “power move,” and some people will react by saying no, just to feel in control again. Use a very soft voice, eyes, and face with your invitation(s) to join you at the counselor’s office, give them space to think, but also be persistent and keep coming back every so often.   “Kindness + Persistence in Inviting” are keys to success.

Talk to a counselor yourself. Maybe you’ve tried bringing it up and failed. Or you’re simply afraid to bring up the subject. Talk to a professional and get his or her advice on the matter.

Remember to keep it positive. Focus on your desire to have a happy, healthy, and successful relationship together and how you think this can be achieved through Houston marriage counseling.