How to Suggest Marriage Counseling to a Spouse

No matter how tumultuous your relationship has been, it's often hard for a husband or wife to see a request for marriage counseling as anything other than criticism or a threat. But marriage counseling might be the last resort to save your marriage. Here's how to suggest marriage counseling to a spouse.

Bring up the subject when you're not fighting. Demanding marriage counseling in the heat of an argument is less likely to be taken seriously--and more likely to be taken personally. It's best to bring up the subject quietly when you're alone and not distracted by everyday stress.

Keep the focus on improving your relationship and becoming better partners--not on accusing your spouse of making you unhappy. If your spouse sees counseling as punishment or a chance to lay blame, he's probably not going to cooperate. Take responsibility for some of the marital problems and explain you want to work on your relationship skills.

Start going to marriage counseling alone if your spouse isn't willing. She might be more interested in counseling if she sees you're committed to it--and once she observes the improvements in your marriage once you've gone to a few sessions.

Tell your spouse you need his presence in the counseling sessions so that you can make progress. If he sees going to counseling as a way to help you, rather than analyze his faults in front of a stranger, you're more likely to get him through the door.