Counselling saves a lot of relationships around the world all the time, but the problem is getting started. If you've reached the conclusion that you and your partner need a little bit of help getting your relationship back on track, the most difficult part is suggesting it to them.
While they might be thinking along the same lines as you, it's not normally possible to know for certain, which can lead to a lot of anxiety at the thought of discussing counselling. You might also have a pretty good idea that it wouldn't have crossed their mind.
It shouldn't be anything to dread, though, as it's a positive step towards fixing your problems and learning to make your relationship grow. Here are some tips for discussing the idea of counselling with your partner.
Choose the right time
Needless to say, the middle of an argument is not the best time to bring up relationship counselling. When tensions are high, your partner is unlikely to agree to take steps towards sorting out your problems.
There are other bad times, too, that are best avoided. Straight after work when you or your partner are tired; when you've been drinking; when you don't really have the time for a potentially long discussion. Pick a moment when you're both relaxed and can chat through it properly.
Don't put it off
While it's important to pick your moment, don't keep delaying it with the excuse that it isn't the right time. Putting off the discussion will only increase the stress within the relationship, making arguments more likely and your problems worse.
Take a bit of blame
It can be helpful to go in with the attitude that you want to go to counselling because you believe it will help you work on yourself within the relationship. This takes the pressure off and won't make you feel like you're blaming your partner. That said, don't take all the responsibility on yourself; just don't do anything that will make the other person feel attacked.
Beginning counselling is a really positive step, so the conversation should reflect that. Make sure your partner knows that the reason you think counselling is a good idea is that you want to be with them and for both of you to be happy.
Know when to end the discussion
If it starts to get heated and looks like it might turn into an argument, it's best to end the discussion there for the time being. You shouldn't give up on the idea, but perhaps bring it up again at a better time. Having raised the subject, your partner will have had some time to think about it, which will hopefully make their reaction better the second time.