Ask Aviva: When spouse refuses marriage therapy


Dear Aviva,
I’ve been married 3 months and have been trying to get my husband to come with me to therapy since we got engaged. He’s a very private person and refuses to talk to anyone about anything private in his life. We’ve had a few disagreements in the past and they always blow up into huge arguments. I really think therapy would help us figure out how to communicate better, but I can’t seem to get him to agree to go to one. Any ideas? Thanks.

-Befuddled Bride

Dear Befuddled Bride,
First of all, Mazel Tov! The first year of marriage is an enormous adjustment and many, many couples see their disagreements skidding off track before they knew what hit ‘em. This doesn’t mean that you made a mistake. It simply means that you are normal.
Seeing as your marriage is only 3 months old, it may be that you do not need actual therapy. There are a number of accessible resources that can help you before ever needing to sit yourselves down on the therapist’s couch. It may be that you two just need to learn how to communicate better. While your attraction and love for each other likely came naturally, communicating properly is really a skill set that needs to be learned and practiced before you two can sail smoothly through conflict and discord.
The first thing I would recommend is to go on Amazon and fill up your shopping cart with any of the following books: Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John M. Gottman, Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage, also by Dr. Gottman, and Hold Me Tight, by Dr. Susan Johnson. These books are all research-based, easy to read and chock full of exercises that you and your spouse can do in the privacy of your own home, without having to let a third party in on your marriage.

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