Most people (and when i say people, i mean… men :D) NEVER want to admit that they have relationship problems. This also means they NEVER want to seek external help. Have you ever wondered how to get your fiancé or spouse to go for counseling? Here are a few tips!

So my husband and I are part of a generation of Nigerians that caused the influx of foreigners to countries like the U.K., U.S., Canada etc. in a bid to find greener education/work pastures, and after many years, moved back to Nigeria to apply the acquired “golden” knowledge.

Our brief hiatus afforded us the privilege to have a pretty good mix of friends in all continents. While we have a good number of our friends in Australia, Asia, Europe and North America who are having relationship problems and are getting some sort of relationship coaching or counseling, it still alarms us how many of our African friends (Nigerian, Ghanaian, Kenyan and others) find comfort in ignoring their relationship issues until things are beyond repair.

We agree that most of them are this way due to cultural programming and a gross misconception of the severity of even the littlest problems they might encounter with their partner e.g. brief periods of malice or silent treatment, can quickly become two separate lives under the same roof.

After working directly and indirectly with over 300 couples in Abuja while we were marriage counselors at our church, we have found that most men tend to resist marriage coaching or counseling, due to some very specific concerns they have. We discovered that if these concerns are addressed, the willingness exponentially increases to get the help needed to improve or salvage the relationship.

Tip #1 – Let him know he won’t be attacked

If your spouse feels counseling is just another opportunity to get one more person on your side of the issues then they are NOT going to come for counseling. Your spouse has to feel like their own point of view would be heard and listened to without being told they are wrong for their ideologies or opinion. So as you shop around for a coach or counselor you need to make sure you find someone that can provide your spouse this reassurance. Set up an informal phone call or conversation between them and make sure the coach or counselor knows to bring this up in their discussion.

Tip #2 – His business will stay his business

To put it simply, most men do not want their business out in the streets. Most men do not like exposing their weaknesses to the world. Privacy on the status of their relationships is typically a primary concern. They’d like to give the world the impression that they are always in control. The average man wouldn’t want to be seen; coming out of a counselors office by their boys or owning up to having a problem in church or owning up to not knowing what they should do in their relationships. That fear of being ridiculed is always there. And the truth is, the way we raise boys versus girls is one of the main reasons that prohibit them from admitting hurt and reaching out for help. As kids, girls were taught that it is ok to hurt and to express those feelings and reach out for help and comfort. But on the flip side, boys were taught to “suck it up!!” “You should always be able to handle it!!” Well they bring that mindset into relationships and marriage so it’s not an easy one to change. So make sure your coach is someone your husband is comfortable with to maintain his privacy. A church group counseling environment might just not be the right one for him so if you think your husband has privacy issues, you should look into one on one coaching.

Tip#3 – Find him a coach that will give logic and fact based advice

So my next tip is related to the last one. If your spouse is relatively immature in their spirituality it will be difficult for them to accept advice that is not fact based. Just to be clear, I’m a Christian and a lot of the principles I teach are founded on my spiritual values. However as a coach, I also understand the importance of scientific research of facts and how it is always best to give logical and practical steps to couples when tackling a problem. As we all know, we are human beings and our biological make-up as men and women are at the forefront of the major differences between us and our spouses. If your spouse is immature in their spirituality, it will be difficult for them to want to speak with someone who they expect to quote a bunch of scriptures or wise sayings to them. Since religion still has the stigma of “we are not meant to question what the scriptures say”, your spouse might have strong views that will make him defensive towards such an approach. Convince your spouse that there trained professionals out there who have practical experience that can help you guys .

Tip #4 – Tell him this is your love language

Ok! So this is the one time that I’ll tell you it is acceptable to be manipulative. You have to make your spouse see coaching as an expression of their love for you. You need to basically be saying “If you love me, you will go for counseling. I don’t want a new car. I don’t want a new house. I want a better relationship. I want you to show me. I want you to prove to me that you love me. If you don’t do this, then I guess I have my answer.” There you have it. Manipulation! But it is absolutely acceptable in this instance. I tell couples to do whatever it takes (as long as it doesn’t bring harm to anyone) to get help for their marriage, as the outcome is immensely rewarding. I talk about the love language system here. What a profound concept!

Tip #5 – Go digital!!!

Finally, if your spouse still won’t go to counseling bring counseling to them. Go digital!!! Buy an online course and make them watch it with you. Now notice I didn’t say watch a free course? I’m not trying to say there aren’t tons of free resources out there that can help you because there actually are. Research on education in general proves that people value what they pay for more than what they get for free. Research also shows that when people pay for something, the more they are likely to use it. The more they are likely to go back to it, even if they initially get discouraged. This is a fact and I see it time and time again in my practice.

I’ll give you a personal example. As a marriage coach I give both free sessions and paid sessions. I’ve noticed that when I share the same information with people, in a workshop or one-on-one, those who pay for it actually get more from it. They are more committed. They send you questions. They apply the material and work on the exercises. They SUCCEED! So invest in your marriage or relationship. Let your spouse know you are making this investment. Your spouse will expect you to get their approval to be committed to coaching via live sessions, right? They’ll have all sorts of excuses. “I’m working. I don’t have the time.” Guess what? If it is an online course, these excuses no longer apply. Their need for privacy also doesn’t apply as you are watching this at your pace and convenience. This is another magnificent benefit of buying a course.

So there you have it! Hopefully with these tips, your partner or spouse no longer gives you excuses and the both of you can begin that journey of building the best relationship ever with the help of some fact based, discreet and convenient coaching.

Wishing you all the best as you begin rebuilding.

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About ZeeZee

ZeeZee is a certified Relationship and Marriage Coach who believes her purpose in life is to equip couples with the right tools for a successful relationship. Through her website and YouTube channel she shares practical tips and principles that help couples understand the inner workings of a healthy marriage.