I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked “What if my spouse won’t come to therapy? Should I still come?” It’s actually common that only one person will want to start the therapy process and the other is resistant.
Unfortunately many people think they can only go to counseling as a couple to work on their marriage issues, but that isn’t true. You can start working on yourself and getting healthier- even when your spouse doesn’t want to.
If you’re asking yourself, “What if my spouse won’t come to therapy?”, consider these reasons to get started on your own journey to start making changes in your relationship today.
Your changes can impact them to change
Being healthy can be contagious. When you are working on your issues, it can automatically rub off on your spouse. The changes you’re making can help them see the benefit of switching things up and influence them to respond in healthier ways too.
Your homework can include them
When I have a client in this situation, I will often ask them to do some homework that includes their spouse. Sometimes it’s a question to ask, a discussion to have, or even a book to read. When they include their spouse in the process, it’s like they are part of the therapy even when they don’t join us for the actual session.
When you stop a cycle, it causes them to as well
Think of how cycles work. One person engages in an unhealthy behavior, which causes their spouse to have an unhealthy reaction. Then they tend to go back and forth and escalate the situation to one up each other. When one person STOPS part of the cycle, their spouse has no choice but to engage differently. They can’t continue in the cycle when one person isn’t participating in it.
Once they see your changes, they may join in later
This has happened countless times with people I have worked with. One person will start therapy and will get on a healthier path. Then the other person will join us for a session or two and possibly even more! Of course this is no guarantee because not everyone feels comfortable with or wants to go to counseling. But many times this is the case.
So if you find yourself asking, “What if my spouse won’t come to therapy?” Consider these reasons to not delay and get started on your own. You may be surprised about the domino affect it will have on your relationship.