Do you feel that your relationship needs help but are wondering “How do I convince my partner?” Then you may have already faced some strong opposition.
“Why would I pay good money to sit in a room for an hour and be lectured to by someone who you’ve probably already convinced that I’m complete arse-hole?”
It’s a common sentiment. After 15 years of supporting couples with relationship conflict, I’ve heard multiple versions of this. I’ve heard it from individuals, hoping to pave the way for a process that will hopefully include their partner.
It’s easy for us to judge reluctant partners and spouses as lacking emotional courage and the capacity for vulnerability, or just not being committed. But the reality is, for some people, this stuff is really hard. Many of us (here’s where gender often comes in) just weren’t socialised to understand our feelings, let alone talk about them.
If you are one of those ‘way-pavers’, asking “How do I convince my partner?”, then let me offer some pre-emptive responses to my top five most common expressions of partner resistance.
Strategically shared, the offerings below may help lower the barriers. These are the barriers that stop you getting support to move from toxic conflict to a more connected relationship.
#1. “I don’t have time”
Many partners struggling with their relationship are also balancing a busy work life and childcare responsibilities. There simply will never be enough time.
But like a house, a relationship requires regular maintenance if you want to avoid major structural repairs down the road.
Most counselling and coaching services provide online facilities now, removing travel time and offering access from the comfort of your home.
We all have the same twenty-four hours in our day. We all have to prioritise what is most important to do with those hours.
#2. “We can’t afford it”
Consider the things you regularly fork out for, as part of your preferred lifestyle: Holidays; Concerts and sporting events? How about new clothes and accessories. Then there’s gym memberships or classes, maybe restaurants, bars and take-away food?
How much do you spend on these things every year? Which of them is more important to you than your relationship?
Most of us know of at least one couple whose relationship conflict eventually descended into a messy separation and costly court battles. They often realise, a little too late, that an early investment in the resolution of relationship conflict can save thousands of dollars and a whole lot of heartache.
#3. “He’s probably already taken your side”
It is the job of any Relationship Coach, or Counsellor, to hold multiple stories and perspectives. A good practitioner will always respect the value of each person’s experience.
My work with couples often involves a solo session with each party, followed by a third session all together. This enables me to give attention to each person’s uninterrupted story. It also allows everyone time to gauge whether or not this is the right fit.
Take your time to find a practitioner who is a fit for you both and request a preliminary phone or video conversation (if it’s not automatically offered). Then you can make an informed choice about who to work with.
#4. “Our relationship problems are private” / “We’re doing fine.”
When wondering “How do I Convince my Partner?”, remember that consulting a stranger about your relationship problems may not sit comfortably with everyone’s values.
Times of crisis are an opportunity to revisit these values and consider the benefits of trying something new.
What may seem like a small issue for one partner may be significant for the other. You don’t have to both agree on the seriousness of the situation before you decide to address it.
A problem for one partner is a problem for the relationship and, as such, requires the attention of both parties.
With many support options out there today, put yourself in the driver’s seat. Do your research and find an appropriately qualified practitioner who is right for you.
#5. What if it just doesn’t work for us?
You should never be locked into something that you can’t exit, without penalty, if it’s just not working for you.
At A Single Step we offer a flexible, affordable Relationship Coaching service, with the aim of getting you the results you need in a relatively short period of time.
There’s no hiding the reality that putting your relationship under the spotlight is likely to feel uncomfortable at times and will require a degree of emotional courage.
But the benefit of taking this step is the real possibility of embarking on an adventure that will deepen and strengthen your connection with your partner, towards a happier, healthier and more fulfilling relationship.