Monday, 15 November 2010

Is There a Doctor in the House?

A recent blog I read suggested that a couple might find it beneficial to seek a professional counselor when they appear to be at an impasse. In part, because our communication skills are not always what they need to be, the perceived problem is not always the real problem. This is sound advice, with a qualifier.

If you felt that you needed a heart transplant or bi-pass surgery would you seek a brain surgeon or contact your family doctor to perform the operation?- hopefully not. When it comes to relational issues, issues of the heart, I would suggest a Biblical counselor is uniquely suited to address the couple’s concerns.

Some counselors have been successful using behavioral change methods, i.e. requiring date nights, skill based homework, etc. Though behaviors may change this does not normally get to the core issues that underlie the initial cause of conflict. It has been said that until you fix the couple’s vertical relationship you can’t fix the couple’s horizontal relationship. More specifically it has been suggested that our problems in relating to our spouse are often a reflection of our problem relating to the Lord.

When we peel away the layers of the onion surrounding most marriages that are in distress we find that something or someone has usurped God’s rightful place in the heart of one or both partners. In addition we all tend to be self-centered. Our love for one another becomes performance based, I will if you will. Very few people are introspective enough to identify the “idol(s) of their heart”. A Biblical counselor can help each person identify who or what has replaced God and then help the couple identify what they need to do.

A Biblically based marriage is first God –centered and then other-centered. The Book of Luke, chapter 10, verse 27 summarizes what is needed to have a God glorifying marriage, ”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.” Your husband/wife is the closest neighbor you have.

Marriage was not designed by God for man’s happiness but for His glory. And when things do not seem to be going right it is reasonably safe to assume that we have mistakenly come to believe that marriage is all about us.

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