I've been getting emails and messages from people excited about trying our breakout module of Couples Connection, but unsure of whether or not their spouse would be open to the idea.
In fact, that's the main objection I hear from people. "I would love to, but my husband/wife would never do it." So what do you do if you are the partner who wants to grow, who wants to make things better, stronger, more sexy, try something new....and your partner has resistance to this?
Rather than argue, fight, manipulate, attempt to control, throw a pity party, or offer ultimatums (all of which I can speak to directly because that's how I used to operate), here is what I recommend:
You want to approach your partner at a time when you are well rested, well fed, calm, clear, and neutral. If you come at them when you are in a state of anger, overwhelm, exhaustion, stress, complaining, hangry, or even extremely excited -- it's more than likely this prospect will not be appealing to them. When you feel good within yourself, and can express yourself from a state of calmness with a dash of curiosity...it tends to come off as more inviting.
Clarity is power. To gain your own clarity try a stream of consciousness exercise by setting a 3 minute timer. Write the words "Pain" and "Pleasure" in 2 columns at the top of the paper. Then write down all of the possible pain points you will experience if you don't work on your relationship, as well as the potential benefits if you do work on your relationship. Next, refine these ideas into compelling points (i.e. "we fight all the time" can turn into "I would really love to have some concrete tools so we don't snap at each other out of irritation so often")
Another tip is to think through the pain and pleasure points for your partner, and to prepare for them ahead of time. If their objection is that they don't want to do a touchy-feely exercise, you can talk about how practical and solution oriented the exercises are. You can also point out the fact that it will just be the two of you completing this, so you don't need to share anything with a 3rd party.
If you want to go for a sure-fire win, you can point out that a benefit I've heard from multiple people (and have experienced personally) is a much better sex life. We actually devote an entire module to increasing physical intimacy, but the truth is all of the modules result in more closeness and attraction especially once both partners see the other putting in the effort.
Here's an example of the tone I would recommend. If aspects of this wording work for you...great use it!
"[Partner], it's important to me that we work on our relationship during this time so that we can become stronger, more clear, and more cohesive as a team. I'd like to experience less tension between us and more intimacy. I'd like for us to communicate better so that we can enjoy each other more and perhaps even enjoy our sex life more. I've found/bought one module of a Couples Connection program and I'd like us to spend 45 minutes doing it. It was only $20. Is this something you'd be open and willing to do together? Can we find a date for sometime this week and put it on the calendar?"
If your partner says "No", then remember that you are at choice. You can choose to argue with them, you can choose to throw a fit, a pity party, manipulate and make them feel guilty. Or you can choose to say, "okay, well then I am going to do the exercise by myself and see what I can gain from it."
Instead, focus on how you would like to grow and why. Communicate that you are going to choose to continue to want to grow with your intimate partner and if they want to join you for the ride and create that type of partnership...excellent. If not, well, then who knows? But you are clear about what you desire and why.
You don't need to bring any type of manipulative or ultimatum energy to this conversation. Leave it clear, light, open, and confident. Have the guts to take the lead and trust that either your partner will eventually choose to follow you on this or they won't. You can invite them into a shared growth process, communicate that you'd like it to be a shared experience, but ultimately, you can't control your partner and if they aren't interested or aren't willing to explore growth opportunities that you desire, then that is information for you to make choices with as time unfolds.
In my experience, the resistant partner often joins after they start to see the impact. They start to see the initiating partner being more calm, at peace, and happy, and they start to get curious and more open about making this happen for themself.
If you're ready to take action today, a great place to start is with Module 3 of our Couples Connection Online Course which focuses on helping you deal with everyday stressors and annoyances.
Live your Light and Leadership,
Fulfillionaire Facilitator, Educational Psychologist, Inspirational Speaker