Dear Therapist,

I’m currently in couples therapy with my partner—let’s call him Frank. Recently, I found an article that I thought could really help us manage our shared responsibilities at home. The mental load is taking a toll on me, and the issue has become a real hot button between us. Despite my desire to share the article with Frank, I hesitated because he has barely acknowledged similar resources I’ve suggested in the past. Honestly, it makes me feel like he doesn’t care enough to make an effort.

I know it’s just an article, but it wouldn’t take much time to read. I feel like if Frank really cared, he would take the time to read it and discuss it with me. How can I encourage Frank to engage with the content I’m sharing with him and discuss our ongoing issues more constructively?


Feeling Frustrated


Dear Feeling Frustrated,

The struggle is real, and it’s not just yours. Many couples face the challenge of sharing therapy or relationship-related content, hoping for constructive dialogue or even a reaction, and hearing… nothing. You’re not alone in worrying about offending, being misunderstood, or expecting resistance. The challenge lies in not just delivering the message but also ensuring your message is received with an open heart and mind. 

The struggle you’ve shared is very common with couples we support. Here are a few things to think about so you and Frank can connect in earnest on the content you’re sharing with him.

First of all, what do you want Frank to do with the information you’re sharing? Do you want to chat with him about it? Would you like him to think about the article in a specific context or related to an issue you two are working through? Frank needs to know your motivations—tell him, don’t assume he knows. When Frank understands your intentions, you can avoid misunderstandings or potential conflicts that may arise from mismatched expectations.

Next, consider your approach. You want to be sure the content you’re sharing is received in the best way possible, not from a ‘trying to school you’ or critical approach. A soft start-up is the best way to stave off any misunderstood intentions here because it includes: ‘I feel,’ ‘About what,’ and ‘What I need.’ 

Your gentle start-up may sound something like this: 

“Hey Frank, I’m really sad about our fight over some of the household chores this morning. I think we could benefit from understanding each other’s points of view. I found an article that helps me better articulate some of my thoughts or needs on this subject. It would mean a lot to me if you took some time to read it. Maybe we can talk about it tonight?” 

Lastly, like any other piece of communication, place [channel] and time are crucial. Frank may be a texter or an emailer, or perhaps he reads everything shared in his X (Twitter) inbox. You know Frank best, so think through the best channels for him to ingest and digest information. Your targeted delivery showcases respect and understanding of Frank’s preferences. It also maximizes the likelihood that Frank will actually take a look at what you sent him. 

On the timing front, it’s crucial to choose the right moment. Don’t send an ‘I told you so’ or ‘Read this’ shortly after an argument. You or Frank may still be emotionally flooded, which leaves little to no room to accept one another’s influence or perspective. Take a beat or two before clicking send. Dr. John Gottman, world-renowned couples therapist and researcher, shares a good rule of thumb: allow at least 20 minutes, but no more than 24 hours, to repair or address feelings surrounding a recent conflict. 

Relationship content is readily available with just a few taps and swipes. You have a wealth of resources to aid in understanding yourself in just a few swipes. Yet, this convenience can quickly turn counterproductive if you overlook the significance of your intentions and methods when sharing such content with your partner. 

While no one method guarantees your partner will receive your shared content with openness and understanding, a mindful approach can enhance the likelihood of fostering meaningful dialogue. With a little patience and a lot of understanding, you can increase the chances of being heard and ultimately facilitate constructive conversations on the matters that matter most. This journey of communication and understanding can lead to growth and a stronger relationship. 

Couples therapy can help you learn practical and effective skills for having more healthy and fruitful conversations. However, not everyone’s first inclination is to seek outside help. If your partner is struggling with the idea of therapy, check out how to engage with them around their hesitations. Our practice offers in-person appointments in Charlotte, NC, and Carefree, AZ. We also have virtual sessions available for those who live in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Texas. Contact us to get started.