How Do I Talk to my Spouse or Partner About My Desire to Attend Couples Therapy?

A couple waits at a crosswalk as they look in seprate directions. This could represent the emotional divide that couples therapy in Tampa, FL could help mend. Learn more from a couples therapist in Saint Petersburg, FL for support with couples on the brink in Florida. 33609 | 33704 | 33703

“Couples Wait an Average of Six Years of Being Unhappy with Their Relationship Before Getting Help” –John Gottman

By: Justine Devlin Ph.D.

A neatly dressed couple sit on a couch as they look away from one another. This could represent a session of couples therapy in Tampa, FL. A couples therapist in Saint Petersburg, FL can help couples on the brink in Florida. Learn more about couples therapy in marriage counlseling in Tampa, FL today! 33609 | 33704 | 33703

Relationships can be challenging and the idea of couples therapy can be daunting and perceived as threatening in some instances when the idea is brought to the attention of a partner or spouse. Most relationships encounter speed bumps and barriers along the way! Children, work, communication, growth, and change over the years, can all be factors that impact relationships. Over time, the initial excitement and passion can wear off, and as a result, communication can deteriorate and lead to disconnection and a deficit in emotional connection and intimacy!

You are not alone, over 90% of married couples report some challenges with communication and barriers to emotional and physical connection over the course of the relationship. Moreover, couples wait an average of 6 years of being “unhappy” before making the decision to get help and seek counseling services. Why do couples wait so long before making this decision? Many reasons exist, one of those being lacking the knowledge or having fear of how to bring up the discussion with their partner or spouse. When making this decision, and having this sometimes-arduous conversation, here are a few tips to consider:

Approach the Conversation about Couples Therapy with Honesty, Genuineness, and Vulnerability in a Non-reactive or Defensive Approach.

One important factor when having this conversation is to approach it with genuineness, honesty, and vulnerability. When starting the conversation, remind your partner how much you care about them, how valuable the marriage or relationship is to you, and how important it is to you to have a healthy relationship that can withstand the challenges of life. In addition, it’s important to stray away from blaming language or listing all the problems of the relationship as reasons why you want to attend counseling.

Approaching the conversation by stating the deficits and faults in the marriage could result in resistance or a feeling of being “attacked” and as a result, your partner could become defensive. If you share your desire to engage in therapy with vulnerability and honesty regarding your desire to enhance your connection and truly listen to your partner’s response without judgment or blame, the chances of success increase significantly.

Be Clear in your Goals of Wanting to Attend Couples Therapy.

When approaching this sometimes tense and delicate subject, it’s important to be clear beforehand about what your goals are in the desire to seek services. For example, if there is conflict in the relationship, continuous arguing, or a lack of communication, it’s important to express your desires to learn how to navigate these challenges. When bringing this to your partner’s attention, you can state that you have a desire to learn how to resolve conflict in a manner in which you both feel heard, and your opinions are respected. In addition, sharing that your goal is not to “team up” with a therapist against your partner, rather, it’s to learn how to be teammates and simply grow in your knowledge base and learn communication skills that decrease the intensity and frequency of disagreements.

Addressing the Challenge

A close up of a couple holding hands with blurred lights in the background. This could symbolize the stronger bonds that couples therapy in Tampa, FL can help cultivate. A couples therapist in Saint Petersburg, FL can help couples on the brink in Florida. Learn more about couples therapy in marriage counseling in Tampa, FL! 33609 | 33704 | 33703

In addition, you could empathize with your partner and state, “I know it’s exhausting for both of us when we argue and struggle to resolve the issue”. Also, saying something like, “I wonder how much more connected we would feel emotionally to one another if we learned ways to express our frustrations and emotions in a more healthy and goal-directed way”. These statements clarify the goals and wanting to enhance communication and connection, by utilizing empathy and being clear that your desire for therapy is not because you believe the relationship is over, but rather, that you are committed to the relationship and want it to grow stronger.

Include your Partner in Selecting the Appropriate Therapist for Couples Therapy. Be Teammates in the Process.

When discussing the topic of marriage or couples therapy, including your partner in selecting a psychologist or therapist will send the message that you care about and respect your partner’s decision-making abilities and that you want to work together as a team. Also, this will provide you both with an opportunity to connect on a shared goal of choosing a provider that meets both of your needs! Searching online together, reading the bio’s of therapists, and researching the type of therapy will reduce both your and your partner’s anxiety about the process as you will gain more knowledge about what therapist matches your unique goals and personality styles.

This also models how you would like to make future decisions together. Researching together, sharing ideas, and solidifying what you both want the outcome of therapy to be may increase overall satisfaction. Also, if both parties chose a therapist together, this reduces the chances of one partner feeling like they are “aligned” with the therapist, and decreases the likelihood that one of the parties in the couple will dislike the therapist as you made a unanimous and informed decision.

In Conclusion

A couple hold hands as a person writes on a clipboard across from them. This could symbolize couples therapy in Tampa, FL with a skilled therapist. A couples therapist in Saint Petersburg, FL can help couples on the brink in Florida. Learn more about couples therapy in marriage counseling in Tampa, FL! 33609 | 33704 | 33703 These decisions regarding attending therapy are not always easy conversations or decisions to make. Approaching the conversation with empathy and vulnerability in the absence of blaming language or listing the marital “problems” will decrease the likelihood of defensiveness.

In addition, clearly stating the goals of attending including wanting to enhance your emotional connection, communication, and conflict resolution will show your partner that you’ve put thought and care into having this conversation for them. Then, working together and asking your partner to assist you in researching types of therapy and providers will give you both an opportunity to work together on making the decision so your partner feels heard and respected. Remember, while difficult, making the choice to increase satisfaction in the marriage is a gift to both yourself and your partner that continuously gives back long after therapy has concluded!

Begin Couples Therapy in Tampa, FL

Talking about and starting couples therapy can be a difficult idea for many partners navigating speed bumps in their relationship. But, the caring therapists at Wellness Psychological Services would be happy to help from our Tampa, FL, or St. Pete office locations. We provide a safe, nonjudgmental space for you to work through the issues that are important to you. To start your therapy journey, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact Wellness Psychological Services
  2. Meet with a caring therapist
  3. Start improving your relationship with couples therapy

Services Offered at Wellness Psychological Services

Our Tampa, FL-based therapy practice, Wellness Psychological Services offers a variety of services for individuals and couples. We also offer marriage counselingdivorce discernment counselingsupport through divorce, and mediation for couples. We also offer anxiety treatmenttrauma therapydepression counselingOCD treatment, stress management, and testing and evaluation services for individuals as well!

205 S. Hoover Blvd. Ste 202
Tampa, FL 33609
(813) 563-1155

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