- Gender and Relationships
How to Convince Your Spouse to See Addiction Therapists
Yaa Konadu’s husband has been addicted to using cocaine for some years now. She sees the harm he is doing to his body and what his habit has done to the marriage and so she wants her husband to see addiction therapists.
“I have tried several times to convince my husband to seek professional help but he keeps giving one excuse after the other. That is really annoying me. Consequently, I have frequent fights with him and that is destroying the peace and harmony in our marriage. Maybe, I may not be doing things right. I would love to know how I can go about the whole issue without antagonizing my husband,” she says, sighing wistfully.
If you are also in a similar situation, here are a few strategies you can use to get your husband or wife to seek the help of a professional.
Visit the website of the National Institute of Drug Abuse drugabuse.gov and learn all that you can about how to act around a drug addict.
Taking this sort of action will help you to arm yourself with information that will guide you to act responsibly around him or her in ways that will make it easier for you to influence him or her to see a professional.
Plan Before You Engage Him or Her in Talks
Find time to prepare the arguments you will use to try to convince your spouse to see addiction therapists. Doing this will help you to present your case in a manner that will increase the chances that he or she may see sense in what you are saying and, subsequently, cooperate with you to seek professional counseling.
So, on one day when your spouse is not around, sit down at your desk and write down about five strong arguments you think you can use to try to convince him or her. You may choose to get inputs from friends or family members who have successfully convinced their family members to see addiction therapists before. Because they have experience, they may give you ideas you may have never considered which you can use to persuade your spouse.
Choose the Right Times to Have Serious Conversations With Your Spouse
An addict may irritate you often and as a result both of you may have frequent, bitter quarrels. Consequently, it may be difficult to hold calm, controlled discussions with him or her in which both of you can agree to disagree, and in which you may be able to make your spouse see that he or she needs to see addiction therapists.
To get round this challenge, choose a day on which your spouse is in a sober mood, or a day on which he or she is in a happy mood, or when he or she has received some good news.
Taking such a decision will increase the likelihood that your spouse will listen to you with an open heart and with an open mind, which will increase the chances that he or she may consider your request seriously and may give a positive response.
Sit Beside Your Spouse When You Have Conversations
Avoid sitting in front of your husband or wife and looking directly into their face, when you have this talk. This is because when you sit face-to-face with your spouse, he or she may feel intimidated. Your husband or wife is not likely to agree to do what you desire if they feel intimidated by your or by the occasion
Instead, choose to sit beside your spouse. He or she will feel that you do not look threatening or aggressive when you do this and that can increase the chances that he or she will listen to you and consider your request.
Furthermore, put your arm around your spouse’s waist or around your spouse’s shoulders to indicate to him or her that you are saying what you are saying because you love him or her and want the best for them, and not because you feel they are a nuisance. This can touch his or he heart and make him or her agree to your request out of gratitude because of your act of love.
Let Your Spouse See How He or She Will Benefit if He or She Sees Addiction Therapists
Remind your spouse of how he or she will live a better life if they choose to see a professional. For example, you might say, “Isaac, I am not happy about what the drugs are doing to your life. You used to be a wealthy man, Isaac.”
Then, shake your head for about ten seconds and then say, “No, Isaac! You deserve to live a better life than this. Think again about the wealth you had and the comforts you used to enjoy as a result of the money you had. And think about all we could do with the money that is going down the drain—the vacations we could take in Hawaii or the Bahamas, the gifts we could buy for the children, the money we could use to pay for the mortgage, the investments we could make that would give us more money …”
Pause for a moment and shake your head again. Then say, “I think it will do you a world of good if you see a professional.” Pause and allow the words to sink into his subconscious. Then, say, “Think about it, Isaac. You will enjoy life better if you see a professional so that he or she can help you to overcome this habit.”
Give your spouse something to think about and it may light a fire in his heart which may push him to give you a favorable response.
Use “I” Statements When You Have Conversations With Him or Her
When you are having conversations to try to convince your spouse, use “I” words a lot and only a few “you” words. This will make you look supportive, non-confrontational, and not judgmental. When your spouse feels that you are not judging him or her, he or she will consider your request and may change their mind.
So, for example, you may say, “Isaac, I am not happy about the fact that your habit is affecting your health. I know addiction therapists can help you. Won’t you consider seeing one or two of them?” rather than saying something such as, “I have complained and complained about this habit of yours. Can’t you see it is destroying your life? Can’t you see what it is doing to this relationship? You are such a recalcitrant husband I don’t even know why I am still in this relationship.”
Get Someone Who Has Overcome the Habit to Talk to Him
Research conducted by Dr. Robert Cialdini, professor of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University, has shown that when people are not sure about a course of action, they tend to look to their peers to guide their decisions and actions, especially people they know and like.
So, get someone your spouse knows and admires and who shares the same gender as the gender of your spouse, is about the same age as your spouse, and who has been able to kick the habit after seeing addiction therapists, to talk to your spouse.
Invite this person to have dinner or coffee with the two of you sometimes so that in a relaxed atmosphere he or she can bring up the topic of drug addiction and seeing addiction therapists. Then, naturally, he or she can turn your conversations to these topics.
Let this person harp on the benefits of seeing addiction therapists, and how life has become better since he saw the professionals.
This man or woman is more likely to sound more convincing to your spouse than you and so your husband or wife is more likely to be convinced after listening to this person.
Get an Authority Figure to Talk to Him
Research conducted by Professor Stanley Milgram of Yale University in 1974 showed that people respect authority and so are more likely to comply with the requests that authority figures make of them.
So, let an eminent person in your community or town who has some level of influence on your spouse, such as the pastor of your church or your spouse’s boss, talk to your spouse. Such a person will know the right notes to strike in your spouse’s emotions that can move your spouse to give serious consideration to the request.
Let a Group of People He or She Respects to Talk to Him or Her
Let a number of people your spouse loves, admires, and respects talk to him or her in the same place and at the same time.
To prevent your spouse from feelings intimidated, let it look as though it is a party or a Saturday evening get together of people who love themselves. Ensure that there is food and entertainment so that you can provide the ambience in which friendly discussions can take place between your spouse and these loved ones.
When your spouse sees all these people together, and when they make him or her understand how much they cherish him or her and want him or her to get well, it may make him or her think very deeply after the encounter and they may see that they may be disappointing people who love them. That can make him or her feel remorseful and they may choose to see addiction therapists so that they can get help.
Additionally, he or she may see that the efforts you are making is because you want the best for him or her. That may influence your spouse to agree to see a professional.
Pray for God to Touch the Heart of Your Spouse
God has got the power to influence the hearts of men and women.
This is shown clearly in the Bible in Proverbs 21 v 1 which says that, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will.” In other words, God can make people act in certain ways when we have faith in Him and ask Him humbly to do that for us.
When we pray to Him and ask Him to do us this favor, He will do it willingly for us.
So, intone a prayer such as this every day, “Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your mercies and Your grace which has brought us this far. Thank you for giving Isaac to me. Lord, we used to have a wonderful marriage until Isaac started abusing drugs. Father, the habit is destroying Isaac and our marriage too. I know You are the God who opens the hearts of people to give heed to what we say to them, as it happened when Paul spoke to a group of women in Philippi and You opened the heart of Lydia on that occasion to give heed to what Paul told them. Please help me in that same way and let Isaac agree to see addiction therapists when I talk to him about the issue. Give me the right words I should say to him so that my arguments will sound convincing to him. You ask us in the Bible if anything is too hard for You. No, Lord, nothing is too hard for You and I am looking to You to help me. Amen.”
If you want to convince your spouse to see addiction therapists, create good rapport with him or her, talk to him or her at the right place and time, ask for God’s help, let your spouse know that you are not happy about his or her addiction, and seek the help of others.
All these strategies may compel your spouse to respond positively to your suggestions and eventually your husband or wife may agree to book an appointment with a professional therapist.
Do you think you will consult an authority figure to help you convince your spouse?
© 2017 Isaac Yaw Asiedu Nunoofio