What to Do When Your Partner Will Not Attend Marriage Counseling

by Lynnette Aschinger, LISW | Posted on December 7th, 2017

Resources to the Rescue! What to Do When Your Partner Will Not Attend Marriage Counseling with You and Your Marriage is in Trouble

When one is experiencing a personal crisis, such as serious marriage problems, it is very difficult to know where to turn for help.  Many times, couples wait before doing anything and the end result can be one of the following: divorce, chronic marriage problems, or living with a lifetime of pain and hurt. A marriage is worth the effort and of course marriage counseling is one of those options, but for the spouse who can’t enlist cooperation from the other spouse, don’t settle!  Do something!  There are resources out there to help, and I want to highlight a few, especially when a partner will not attend counseling with you.

First of all, many people have the faulty idea that if a spouse is not willing to attend counseling that it does no good to attend counseling alone.  This is not true.  When marriage problems develop, there are unhealthy patterns of interactions between the two spouses. It only takes one partner to change their response and the interactions between the couple are changed, as are the unhealthy patterns that contribute to marital discord. As a result, there is an opportunity for healthier interactions.

Often times, individuals have “blind spots” and because of these blind spots, they do not recognize how their own actions impact their dance as a couple.  A counselor can educate and help identify the dynamics between two people and can promote a different means to get what an individual is needing in a relationship.  So, if you are frustrated at your partner’s unwillingness to attend marital therapy, and you know that your marriage is struggling, go ahead and go anyway. A counselor can work on your marriage without the spouse present.

If you are not ready or willing to attend counseling, again, don’t just settle, do something! Perhaps a weekend retreat, or listening to a CD at home is a more comfortable place to start. In some cases, couples embrace all three. For those wanting an excellent resource for their marriage, I highly recommend CD’s or books by Jimmy Evans. Evan’s material is truly the best I have encountered. The book called “Marriage on the Rock” is exceptional at structuring a healthy marriage. This material helps a couple set a firm foundation on which to build their marriage as well as reconsider how they interact with their spouse in a healthier way.  Another helpful resource by Jimmy Evans is “The Keys to Successful Communication: Your Pathway to Intimacy and Romance in Marriage.” Trust me, these resources won’t disappoint!

You may be sitting there, frustrated by the fact you are having marital problems, and that your spouse refuses to attend counseling with you. Don’t give up! Keep trying things whether it is counseling that you attend alone, or attending a retreat, or listening to a CD. These all will benefit you and your marriage.

Lastly, and most importantly, find yourself a prayer partner who is willing to pray for your marriage and with you. The movie “War Room” is a great resource for couples who just cannot see better options. Prayer changes things for this couple and with prayer, some hard work, patience, some good resources, and counseling if you choose, you do have options and an opportunity for an improved marriage.