How To Get Your Spouse to Join You in Marriage Coaching
It takes two to make a relationship work so relationship coaching may be more effective if both you and your spouse commit to and engage in the process. Here are some actions you can take on your own and with your spouse to make the most of professional help in building a marriage that you love.
Steps You Can Take On Your Own
1. Hold yourself accountable.
Maybe you’ve heard that a marriage is 50/50.
You bring 50% while your spouse brings another 50%.
But that’s simply not true. With this 50/50 mentality, we sort of let ourselves off hook for the success of the relationship.
We are 100% responsible for how we show up in our marriages.
If you want your marriage to work, you have to be committed to working on yourself and the way you show up both in the coaching relationship and in your marriage relationship.
As much as I hate to say it, if you’re not willing to show up & hold yourself accountable for the change you bring, you might as well throw in the towel now.
Remember, we all contribute for better or worse to the well-being of our marriages. Recognize your own role in any areas of conflict, and commit to holding yourself accountable to make the changes in yourself that your marriage needs.
2. Commit to the process.
Coaching isn’t a “One & done” solution.
It’s an ongoing process to help you take steps toward your goals, whether that be in your marriage, in your life, in your business, or with any other area you’re trying to improve.
It’s typical for couples to need at least a dozen sessions to work out the kinks and get to a point where they can communicate clearly and healthily with one another.
If you’re beginning the coaching process without your spouse in hopes that they will eventually join you, stay committed even if they don’t right away. As you go through coaching, the inevitable changes that will happen in you will likely spark a greater interest in your spouse.
So even if you get pushback from your spouse initially, stay committed to the process. Either way, your marriage will thank you.
3. Do the homework.
A big part of coaching happens between sessions.
We’ll build a game plan, have real-world tasks to complete, conversations to begin, and and purposeful thoughts to focus on. It’s your responsibility to do your part between the times that we meet for coaching.
Remember, actions speak louder than words, so your continued effort during and between sessions will show your spouse how much you’re committed to them.
And who knows, maybe it’ll inspire your spouse to do the same.
4. Consider your finances.
Professional coaching isn’t cheap - and it most certainly isn’t free. Any coach worth their salt has had years of vigorous training and specializes in their field. Their sole purpose in the coaching relationship is to help you get to your goals faster and with fewer hurdles along the way.
So while it may be an investment for you, consider the alternative costs of continued fighting, divorce, and separate living expenses.
5. Pray for your spouse & your marriage.
One of the greatest gifts you can give anyone is your prayers for them. This holds true when it comes to what you hope for your marriage as well. If you truly hope that your spouse will join you in professional coaching, then pray for that! God is honored when you honor your marriage. He wants to see your marriage succeed even more than you do. So ask Him to guide you and to help you as you move toward coaching with your spouse.
Steps You Can Take With Your Spouse
1. Be positive about coaching for your marriage.
A lot of times, couples come to me terrified that this is their last stop before the divorce attorney’s office. That doesn’t have to be true for you. Our professional relationship can be about improving the romance, communication, and unity in your marriage (a positive outlook.) It does not have to be focused on avoiding divorce or separation (a negative outlook.)
So when talking with your spouse, highlight the good things that can come out of a coaching relationship: improved communication, feeling like you’re on the same page, able to meet the needs of each other, better sex life, etc…
Reassure your spouse that you love them and are devoted to them. Let them know that you want to make positive changes so your marriage is a healthy and happy place for both of you.
2. Be smart about your timing.
Getting help in your marriage is a sensitive subject. It’s easy for your partner to take offense or to throw up their walls.
So be selective about when you bring up the topic.
Introduce the possibility at a neutral time when you aren’t in a disagreement, when emotions aren’t high, and when you are both well-rested and not hungry.
(Believe me, these are real stumbling blocks!)
Be sure you have the time and privacy to talk it over. Then once you’ve made the suggestion, give your partner time to reflect and get back to you if they need to think about it.
3. Offer a test drive.
Again, getting help in your marriage is touchy. Some spouses (especially husbands) tend to feel extremely uneasy about letting someone else into their personal lives. That’s why it’s important to give them the chance to try it out first.
Your spouse may feel more comfortable with an initial consultation or joining in on a single session if you've already starting seeing a coach.
Once they’ve experienced coaching, they might see that it’s not nearly as bad as what they could’ve feared.
4. Choose your coach together.
Once you both determine that coaching is the route you want to take in your marriage, it’s important to realize that you both need to have a say in who you team up with.
> someone who you’re both comfortable talking with,
> someone who won’t make one person feel ganged up on,
> someone who has the skills and expertise to help you move from where you are to where you want to be.
There may be other things to think about when looking for a coach you both want. Establish your criteria, make a short list, and vote on a final decision.
5. Be aware of & sensitive to gender issues.
There are a myriad of reasons why, but some people prefer male or female coaching professionals.
Consider this as the two of you work toward finding a coach that’s right for you.
6. Understand that stigma might exist.
Unfortunately, there's a long history of misunderstanding about getting any sort of professional help — especially help with marriages.
Help your spouse to overcome any misplaced feelings of shame or weakness and recognize the true nature and benefits of inviting a coach alongside you in your marriage.
7. Brainstorm some alternatives.
Maybe you just can’t get over this hurdle. Some people might find it easier to talk with their pastor than with a complete stranger.
And that’s ok.
Other options to consider in getting help in your marriage are self-help books, online classes, or even in-person lectures.
Do whatever it takes to jointly show up for your marriage.
Who knows. After taking an online workshop or reading a marriage book together, your spouse might see the benefits of getting some one-on-one support to help you go the next mile.
8. Keep a pulse on your progress.
As you go through marriage coaching, it’s important to continually evaluate your progress.
Stay on track by clarifying your goals and assessing your results.
Be sure to take time to talk intentionally and openly after each session. This will help you communicate while events are still fresh in your mind.
A great idea is to keep a journal to record your own thoughts and growth as you go.
Remember, seeking help through coaching is a sign of strength that you believe in the value of your marriage and each of your ability to learn the skills and techniques that will improve your life together.
Talk with your spouse about participating in coaching together while focusing on the improvements you can make under any conditions.