I am unhappy in my marriage, but my spouse will not agree to go to counseling.
Would you recommend that I go myself?
Wulf's Answer: I am sorry that you and your spouse are having such a painful
time. You are not alone. Many people are trapped is such relationships. And, it
is quite often that one spouse does not want to go to counseling.
the one who wants to get some help should definitely go for counseling. Not being
willing to go to counseling is often a power play. Not going to counseling allows
the one party to control the relationship -- and that is never good for a marriage.
A good counselor can help you decide how to respond in a healthy way without letting
the other person "call all the shots".
least insist that you will get some help for yourself. A lot of marital interaction
is driven by patterns of relating that have been going on for some time. Therefore,
one person can make changes in his or her own behavior and responses that change
the pattern. Counseling can identify the most critical changes to make and help
you "stubbornly" change the dysfunctional pattern.
often begin with just one person and quite often the other person comes in later,
or makes the required changes (even sometime to avoid coming in and facing a counselor).
I help my clients
in your situation communicate in better ways back home in the relationship, especially
asking questions to clarify issues rather than arguing. This often breaks the
cycle of arguing.
the absent spouse is willing to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a personality
test that often explains why so much arguing is going on. Then the absent spouse
comes in just for the explanation of the results. My experience is that about
90% of them are then willing to come in for counseling because the detailed explanation
of the MBTI results produces some relief in the relationship.