How to convince your husband into counseling | Couples counseling

Why is it that men wait until the final stages of the relationship to agree to marriage counseling?

Why do men stubbornly wait until their spouse threatens to leave before seeking marriage counseling?

As the couples’ expert of Greensboro, NC, l want you to know that men are not being stubborn and are not purposely waiting until the final stages of the relationship to seek marriage counseling. Men naturally struggle with the idea of seeking external support when it applies to their family system. Men struggle with the idea that someone else, other than themselves, has the power to fix an internal problem.

Often, men shy away from marriage counseling because they want to be the ones to provide the solution. The idea of sitting across from a stranger is eccentric and uncomfortable. Most men rather work to solve their personal problems on their own. Even if that means growing further and further away in the relationship.

I know, kind of odd. It is very odd. The idea that men yearn to solve problems but struggle with seeking support to solve the very problems that they are facing.

As a couple expert, I have learned that much of what transitions men into counseling is the approach taken by their significant other.

Let’s take a very basic example.

Sarah is seeking marriage counseling because she does not know how to communicate with her husband. Her approach to convincing her husband to engage in counseling is by telling her husband: “we need help. We do not know how to talk to each other”. Often, the result is that her husband rejects the offer.


Why would Sarah’s husband reject the offer knowing that there are problems in the relationship related to communication.

The answer lies in the approach.

“we need help. We do not know how to talk to each other”

This approach often inclines men to feel inadequate and simply not strong enough to solve the problem. In addition, men may feel that the words “help” and “not knowing” are simply not pleasant.

In order to approach men, or your husband, in a manner that is friendly and responsive. We must first change the approach.

Instead of:

“we need help. We do not know how to talk to each other”

Sarah could have said:

“Honey, I want to talk with you regarding the last conversation we had. Our last conversation about spending more time together ended with both of us yelling at each other. I remember even the kids coming out of their room. They looked so scared. I am in no way saying that you are at fault. What I want to say, is that we both need to find a way to have conversations that do not lead both of us yelling and our kids feeling afraid. I think we both know that this is not the first conversation that has resulted in us hurting each others feelings and causing our kids to feel scared. I want us to find a marriage counselor that we both want to work with.”

At this point you should understand the differences in the first approach from the second. The second approach provides details and facts that neither partner can deny. In addition, the approach highlights how the conversation is impacting them and those that they care about. Lastly, the approach does not put blame.

The final addition to the approach is to include your husband or boyfriend in the process. Men, as mentioned, earlier naturally want to solve problems and provide as much support as possible. You can enhance the approach by involving your boyfriend or husband in the entire process of selecting a marriage counselor.

Sarah could say:

“Honey, I think we should work together in picking a marriage counselor to work with. How about for the next two weeks we both research counselors that we want to work with? You can pick two and I’ll pick two. Once we have our top two selected, we can put the names in a basket and at random pick one out.”

Remember, the overall goal is to support your spouse in entering marriage counseling in a manner that is comfortable and not forceful. I have personally worked with couples that enter counseling with one foot out the door. Marriage counseling allows two people to work on one common issue, that being reconnecting the relationship. If for any reason, one person is forced into the process it can lead to a bad outcome.

 cover image by: dmitry ratushny