Many wives know that something drastic must happen in order for their marriage to be saved. They often fully realize that they are dealing with a marriage that is very damaged. And some realize that they are going to need more than just good intentions to be successful in saving their marriage. I find that wives in this situation are often very receptive to counseling. Many are willing to do whatever it takes to make the marriage work, but they sometimes have husbands who are not as willing and open-minded. And many wives feel so strongly about this that they will demand that their husbands go to counseling by giving him an ultimatum to do so.

One of these wives might explain: “My husband and I have so many issues to work through if we have any hope of saving our marriage. Things are so bad between us right now. I am not willing to even attempt to save our marriage without counseling. I told my husband that if he really wants for things to work between us, then he has to go to counseling with me. We have tried to fix our marriage on our own and it just does not work. He makes promises that he doesn't keep and then I get mad at him and things just deteriorate from there. But he outright refuses to go to counseling. He says that he will not pay someone to tell him how to conduct his life. He says that if I love him and he loves me, then we are two reasonably intelligent adults that should be able to make it work without needing to pay someone a lot of money to tell us what to do. I am so fed up with this. I do want to save my marriage, but I feel like he's not willing to do what we need to do in order to make this happen. Should I just walk away and make good on my ultimatum? Or do I give him one work chance to do the right thing and head to counseling with me?”

These were not questions to which anyone had the answers but the wife.  Only she held the answers somewhere deep inside. However, I could and did give her some things to think about, which I will share with you below.

Try To Find A Compromise Instead Of Just Walking Away: I know that the wife was frustrated, and I really couldn't blame her. However, this situation is very common. Men are notoriously resistant to counseling not because they don't love their wife or want to save their marriage, but because the idea of sharing their feelings with a stranger is so horrifying to them. So they are trying to find a way around this even if it means challenging you in the process.

Unfortunately, the wife had to decide if her husband's refusal to go to counseling meant that she must now walk away from her marriage like she had threatened or if she would back off on the counseling requirement. The thing was, she felt strongly that counseling would really help them. That's why a compromise was potentially a good solution. She might back off just a little only to approach him later when things had improved. Or, she might suggest a one-time counseling session with no commitment of future visits required as long as he went and gave it a fair chance. Another alternative is to make a deal that both people can live with. Perhaps there is something that the husband wants in the marriage. The wife could negotiate counseling for doing something for the husband in return.  That way, both people feel as if they got a fair deal.

Know That There Are Many Different Ways That Couples Save Their Marriage: I see many couples assume that there is sort of a one size fits all method of saving their marriage. Many people assume that if they don't find and go to the right counselor, there is nothing that they can do. While I firmly believe in counseling myself, I could never get my husband to go. I did seek out help on my own. But, where our marriage was concerned, I had to use many self-help tactics and I had to move very gradually as my husband became more comfortable and receptive to the process.

Sometimes, you have to be open to whatever both people are willing to try. Forcing your husband to go to counseling while he sits there with crossed arms and a bad attitude might not be as effective as something else to which you can both agree.

I'd like to make one final point. Just because your husband is resistant to counseling now, this doesn't mean that he will never change his mind. Many men become more receptive as things begin to improve and you show a little flexibility. Also, sometimes when men find that counseling isn't as scary as they thought or they learn that the counselor’s sole purpose isn't the point out what an awful spouse they are, they become more flexible as well.

The point is, his refusing counseling at one point in your lives doesn't mean that your marriage is over. Not only are there often other ways to save it, but he will sometimes change his mind in the end.  As I alluded to, my husband never did agree to counseling.  But I did find some self-help and individual counseling that offered me support and tips so I didn't have to go through the process alone.  As things improved between us, I was even able to tell my husband where I was getting all of my new ideas regarding our marriage.  And he was fine with that because things were definitely improving.  If it helps, you can read about some of the resources I used to save my marriage on my blog at

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