How To Get Husband To Go To Counseling: Partner Won't Go To Couples Therapy

Are you facing a troubled marriage with a husband who won't go to counseling? If you are, then it may very well feel as if you are trying to save the marriage by yourself. While it is true that couples counseling is often seen as the last line of defense when a marriage is on the rocks, please rest assured that your marriage can be saved whether you go to counseling or not!

Traditional marriage counseling is used by some couples as a way to strengthen an already good marriage. For most however, it isn't something they even consider until the marriage is in trouble. You might be surprised to learn that marriage counseling as it is normally practiced has a success rate of only about 20% in saving troubled marriages. Often times marriage counseling can actually weaken the marriage even further!

There are a variety of reasons for this failure of traditional counseling, but in most cases it is because this type of counseling works from a faulty model. It treats the couple as individuals rather than treating the marriage itself. The vast majority of marriage counselors are trained primarily in individual therapy and actually have very little idea how to strengthen and save a troubled marriage. What typically happens is that the individuals learn personal coping skills and better communication, but this does very little to help the marriage or solve the problems they face.

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For this reason, don't worry too much if your husband doesn't wish to attend marriage counseling. With only a 20% success rate, you have other options available to you. Here are some very important steps you will need to take:

1. Regardless of how you may be feeling right now, it is imperative that you get out of your emotional state (hurt, jealousy, fear, anger etc) and put yourself in a calmer, more resourceful state.

2. Make a firm resolve that you will give 100% of yourself to saving your marriage, regardless of what your husband's effort is right now. After all, if you don't take the lead, then who is going to?

3. There are very specific things you need to do and say and very specific ways you need to behave that can change the dynamics of your relationship, even if your husband isn't changing anything at all. Remember, with every action, there is a reaction! You just need to take the right action.

Your marriage can still be saved regardless of whether you and your spouse attend counseling or not. Time however, is not on your side! The longer you wait to take action, the worse things will get and the lesser your odds of saving the marriage.

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It does not matter whether you are dating, newlyweds or been married for years' conflicts in relationships are both normal and natural, and healthy conflicts are a sign of a healthy marriage. But the problem I see time and time again is that many of us refuse to engage in healthy conflicts, we insist we are right and the other person wrong. We refuse to listen, and go out of our way to prove we are right. This refusal and black and white view must be avoided if we want healthy, stable and positive relationships.

Couples have conflicts for various reasons, finances, sex, child-raising, family commitment and family interference are the most common I hear. When these topics come up and they inevitably will, it is important to put your view across in a non-confrontational manner and avoid doing things that destroy love.

When I work with couples we first discuss the 12 most important emotional needs that create love and look at whether they each are getting their top 5 needs met. Then we look at the things that destroy love and ways to avoid these. It is crucial to look at this otherwise the good we do, can easily be undone. This was the case for Ahmed and his wife Alexandra. Ahmed was giving his wife plenty of affection and attention, he was making time to go to her social events, and gave her the money and lifestyle she always wanted. She loved him for this, it was the reason she had fallen head over heels when they first met. But his angry outbursts, disrespectful comments and need to control and win every conflict were destroying her love for him. Alexandra was so exhausted by his behavior she had started to withdraw from him and the relationship. Withdrawal is common in relationships, especially when one or both are considering separation and divorce. Which is why they ended up coming to me, I shared them the below tips with them. I hope they are helpful to you.

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Here are 10 Tips for Handling Conflict in Marriage

1, Avoid Negating Their Point of View - When conflict arises, don't be quick to tell them they are wrong or take the stance "I just know" Being told we are wrong, causes us to become defensive, which makes it harder to communicate.

2, Demonstrate Clearly Your Case- Outline your reasons for why you believe your position is valid, as opposed to expecting them to know why you are disagreeing with them.

3, Listen Attentively - Don't be on your phone or watching TV when discussing, nothing causes more frustration than being ignored when your expressing your view point. Show you have listened by repeating back what they have said, this is the key to healthy marriage conflict.

4, Stay On the Topic and the Current Problem - so often I see couples disputes escalate because they use sweeping blanket statements, for example "It's always your family before us." Or "You always do this." Also avoid bringing up past mistakes, especially if you resolved them months or years ago.

5, Avoid Disrespectful Comments- This includes name calling, strong language, swear words. As soon as disrespect is shown, defensiveness will plague the conversation. Whether you think you have been disrespectful or not is irrelevant, if the other person perceives it as disrespectful it is.

6, Angry Outbursts - Angry outbursts like slamming a door or a fist on a table, smashing things are not only intimidating but they also turn what could have been healthy conflict into war. They kill the conversation dead. The best you can do in this situation is to have the strength to walk away. Another couple I worked with, kept getting into angry outbursts so they agreed whenever a conflict started to brew, they would have an hour cooling off period. So walk away if you are frustrated to this level, as it is likely than nothing will be resolved anyway.

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7, Don't Bury It Address It - conflicts left to brew can blow up into something much bigger. Try and solve the dispute and come to some compromise as soon as possible, ideally before the day is out. I have worked with several men and women who bite their tongue for months, then explode and say so many things they later regret. Don't let that happen to you.

8, Be prepared to say sorry. Apologizing can go a long long way. Steven I worked with said his wife never apologized or said sorry in their 21 years of marriage. In our session he wanted to address this with her. She said she thought he knew she was sorry, as she was always nice to him afterwards. He then explained that it is important to him for her to acknowledge and say it. Since then he said they have been solving arguments much more quickly and effectively.

9, Get your EGO out of the way -I sometimes ask people is it more important for you to be right and put your spouse down by making them wrong or let it go and enjoy each other's company? Often I see people go out of their way to correct people on something so trivial, just to boost their own ego that they are right. What is the benefit of this to them -winning a trivial agreement? and to the relationship - time wasted in conflict? Makes no sense to me.

10, Keep Your Sense of Humor and Laugh About It! I appreciate this cannot be applied all the time, but if you do find yourself arguing over the pathetic petty things, that if anyone else you heard they would burst out laughing - then do just that - laugh. Under stress I have had plenty of ridiculous disagreements with my partner, ranging from who left the toothpaste lid off, to whose turn it was to get the shopping, to who gets control of the TV. Laughing at yourself and the trivial nature of some of your conflicts, can help you gain perspective on what is most important. You and your loved one, living in a caring, supportive and understanding loving environment.
Well, as always, I hope you can take something useful from today's article to benefit your relationships.

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Brenda was happy, but...

She loved her husband, Sam, but at times she thought he should be doing more for their relationship.

He didn't seem to work hard enough, nor was he attentive to her needs.

Brenda often talked with her girlfriend, Sheena. Lawrence, Sheena's husband seemed to be the perfect husband. He always showered Sheena with flowers, candy, and jewelry.

Brenda couldn't wonder why Sam didn't do the same for her. Sam said he loved her, but when he came home from work every night, the only thing he did after playing with the kids was to plop down in front of the TV. He washed the dishes and vacuumed the floor a few nights a week, but he just didn't show her enough affection.

One day after hearing Brenda complain about how horrible of a husband Sam was, Sheena interrupted, "Is there anything that he does right?"

Brenda paused, and thought aloud, "Well, he's pretty good with the kids. And does come home every night."

"Okay," continued Sheena, "That's a start. Let me tell you something. Lawrence and I haven't always been this happy. In fact, we considered divorce at one point. We tried counseling, but Lawrence dropped out after a couple of times, so I lost motivation. But one day someone told me about relationship coaching."

"Isn't that the same as counseling?" responded Brenda.

"No. It's different. Not everyone needs a counselor, but everyone can benefit from a coach," responded Sheena.

"Did Lawrence go to coaching with you?"

Sheena replied, "No. I hired a coach because I wanted to do my part to make the marriage work. And after a few weeks of coaching, I realized that there were some things I needed to do to make this marriage work. I couldn't keep blaming my husband."

Brenda took a long pause before asking her next question. "Does your relationship coach have a website? I'd like to check her out... "

Are you struggling in your marriage like Brenda?

Does it seem like your husband is good for nothing?

Maybe you need a different perspective. Consider relationship coaching for women.

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What can relationship coaching do for you?

1) It can evoke emotions because you have to answer questions that you've never thought about before

2) It forces you to:

- Become honest with yourself so you can get to the root of your frustration and unhappiness
- Change and get better or remain stuck in your current situation that you feel is holding you back from success and progress

3) It helps you to grow

4) It pushes you further towards success

5) It causes you to think differently about your situation, hopefully in a more positive way

6) It will cause you to make a choice to either do one of three things in your relationship

- Walk away from it
- Work through your relationship
- Recognize the good parts of the relationship and appreciate when the bad things improve

The question is, what will you do to make your relationships work?

While a relationship coach can guide you through the process, she cannot make you do anything. She can hold you accountable, but your growth and success will depend mainly on you.

However, your coach will stand there with an outstretched hand waiting for you to grab hold of it so she can walk you through the process of improving the relationship(s) in your life that need help.

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I sometimes hear from wives who are disappointed in their husband's behavior during the separation. It's not that their husband is or being rude or disrespectful. He is often being relatively polite. But his attitude often feels staged and forced. And, it doesn't feel as if there are any loving feelings behind it.

I heard from a wife who said; "we have been separated for about five weeks. This happened at my husband's urging. He knows that I want to save our marriage. He knows that I would like to get counseling. He knows that I want for us to date or get together regularly. But he seems to be keeping his distance from me. Sure, he is cordial. I do have to admit that. He is always polite and never says or does mean things. His distance is more of a vibe that I get. And he's not even slightly loving toward me. He is cordial to me like a client or an acquaintance, but he's not loving to me like I'm his wife. But I don't know how to get him to act the way that I want him to act. It's not as if I can complain about how he's treating me because he is almost overly polite. What can I do?"

This is a tricky situation because often, if you begin to question a separated husband's behaviors or you ask more of him, then he will become defensive or he will withdrawal. As a result, you might see a lot less of him or find that your liberal access to him is now denied. And if you want to save your marriage, this is a scenario that you really can not afford.

But, you are right that the intimacy with him needs to improve if you want to move forward with your marriage. This is certainly not impossible, but you need to go about it in a positive way that doesn't feel like you're pushing or nagging. I will discuss how to do this below.

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If You Want To Move Past Him Only Being Cordial, It's Best That You Take The Initiative Rather Than Sounding Critical Or Demanding: Many of the wives in this situation have a hard time not calling their husband on his behavior. Understandably, they want it to stop and they figure the quickest way to do this is to bring his attention to it and ask him to do better.

Common comments are things like: "why are you being so formal? I'm not your acquaintance, I'm your wife. You act as if I'm almost a stranger that you're trying to keep at arm's distance." Although this statement might feel accurate (and make you feel a little relief after saying these words,) It's usually only going to make your husband defensive or distant.

So, in my opinion and experience, you are better off trying to pull him closer to you by trying to improve the relationship and then eventually breaking through his defensive walls as you can.

Understand That Him Being Polite Is Better Than Him Being Rude. You Can Work With Polite: I know that you may feel a little let down right now. But, you have to keep this in perspective. I hear from so many wives whose husbands are being very nasty to them during the separation or are giving them no access whatsoever.

Even if your husband is being somewhat distant, he is still being polite. And this is a slight advantage. Because as long as this cooperation continues, you can build upon it slowly until it improves. Going from polite to loving and intimate is not all that huge of a leap. But going from rude and distant to loving most certainly is. So, try to see this as the advantage that it is.

If You Want Him To Act Differently Toward You, Try To Show Him The Behaviors You Want To See From Him: Rather than point out what he is doing wrong and how his behavior is disappointing you, know that you're often better off if you can display the behaviors that you want to see from him. Begin to act toward him how you would like for him to act toward you. Sometimes, he will mirror you and you will have made progress without nagging. Or, if you see him doing a little better, make sure you offer a lot of positive reinforcement and tell him that it makes you feel good when the two of you relate to one another on positive but less formal terms.

Above all, take this slowly. It is so important that it doesn't appear that you are verbalizing your disappointment or criticizing him. Because if you do, you may find that he is less than polite the next time and this makes saving your marriage that much more difficult. But if you move slowly and accept smaller gains, he will be much more likely to allow more and more access, which makes this process much easier.

Saying or doing the wrong thing can actually cause your spouse to feel even more distant from you. You can make your spouse fall back in love with you, all over again.

You don't have to worry about whether your spouse is on the brink of asking you for a divorce. You can control the situation and use specific techniques to naturally make them fall hopelessly in love with you.

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