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4 Simple Alternatives for the Couple Not Ready for Counseling
Traditional couples therapy isn't for everyone. That doesn't mean you can't repair your relationship. Here are 4 simple alternatives to counseling. - photo by Cristel Romero
Its normal to feel like your marriage or relationship needs some work. In fact, every relationship requires work. Its also common and OK to take your time when it comes to counseling. Maybe your spouse doesnt feel ready and you do, or vice versa. Perhaps you dont feel you can afford it or you dont have the time to juggle it along with all the other responsibilities you both have. There is still hope. Here are 4 simple alternatives to counseling.

1. Self-Help Books

Not only can reading a self-help book give you pointers, suggestions, and even validation but the time spent reading together can also be beneficial. By reading a self-help book together you allow yourselves to get insight without feeling ashamed, overwhelmed, or uncomfortable. Together, you can create a safe environment for addressing issues and feelings. Many self-help books come with workbooks or offer homework suggestions to do as a couple or individually.

If you find yourself reading alone, realize this gives you the opportunity to discover personal revelation about you individually that can then be applied to your relationship. After you have reflected on the changes you need or desire to make, use the information you discover as conversation starters to get a good dialogue going between you and your partner. Self-reflection is a big part of relationship repair.

A few books to consider:

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary D. Chapman

Seven Principles for Making a Marriage Work by John Gottman

Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Love He Desperately Needs by Emerson Eggerichs

Things I Wish Id Known Before We Got Married by Gary D. Chapman

2. Websites/Online Marriage Courses

The Internet can be a great tool for marriage or relationship advice and counseling. It is easy to access, offers anonymity, has no time commitments or restraints, and can be done from your own home. The amount of help you can find online is amazing. You can simply sign up for online counseling or search out the right fit for you and your partner. There are plenty of sites that offer counseling as well as advice and support.

Here are a few websites to look into:

3. Couples Seminar

Attending a couples seminar together is a great way to begin a journey towards relationship healing. Seminars offer information and can provide you with the tools needed to start addressing issues you hadnt realized were present in your relationship. Additionally, seminars are a reassurance that you and your partner are not the only ones going through turmoil and confusion. You can be a part of a group while getting personalized help. Regardless if the gathering is large or more intimate, you will still get the needed time together while working towards becoming a stronger couple. Not only are seminars informative and helpful but they are also often full of energy, reminding you what it feels like to have fun and be a couple.

4. Individual Therapy

Counseling and therapy is a cause of anxiety, embarrassment, and a sign of failure to some. It isnt for everyone. However, just because it isnt something your partner is willing or comfortable to try, doesnt mean that getting counseling for yourself won't help. In order to fix a relationship you have with someone else, you must first fix the relationship you have with yourself. Individual therapy can help you understand yourself, your struggles, and your worries and stresses. All of which can help you become a stronger person, ready to fight for your relationship. Additionally, by attending on your own, you can potentially become an example to your partner. Often times, its the fear of the unknown that stops a person from trying something new.

Relationships require work. Its as simple as that. Dont feel like you and your partner have failed and given up simply because one or both of you arent ready for traditional counseling. Try an alternative, and get the healing process started.
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