Tuesday, 1 March 2011

We Don't Need Counseling - or Do We?

A recent blog from http://themarriagecounselingblog,com was entitled “Are You Ready for a Marriage Counselor?” “…many years ago (it used to be said) if you needed a marriage counselor then perhaps it was too late.” The blog contended that modern day counselors spend more time teaching couples how to resolve their own issues. It went on to say that “If a partnership is under stress, it is generally because the parties lack the tools to deal with the issues, not because there is a loss of feelings for the other party. Furthermore it suggested that if a couple is seeking a counselor to save a marriage that is the wrong approach. Unfortunately it didn’t give the right approach for couples who find themselves near the end of their relationship.

If couples could adopt this attitude toward counseling and seek help the first time they sense that all is not well in Camelot many marriages could be salvaged. Counseling for many is a last resort, so much emotional damage has been incurred that the situations are usually hopeless. In most states it is harder to get a driver’s license than a marriage license. Many couples spend little or no time in pre-marriage counseling and often grow up in a dysfunctional household where there was no modeling of what a healthy marriage looks like. It is no wonder that the divorce rate is pushing 50%.

Seeking a counselor early in one’s marriage is a form of preventative medication. Certainly marriage seminars, books, classes, DVDs and blogs can offer similar training if a couple is willing to put in the effort.

Here is where my bias enters the picture. Most conflict stems from what is affectionately referred to in Christian circles as “a heart issue.” All the skill training in the world will not help someone overcome the “it’s all about me” syndrome. In particular this is true for those couples who have drifted far apart. So while I hold out little hope for non-Christians who have let their marriage deteriorate beyond repair there is “some” hope for a Christian couple who is willing to surrender their marriage to God.

Why only “some hope” you might ask? Because even people who call themselves Christians have a hard time humbling themselves; they are unwilling to turn their lives and marriage over to God; to put His principles into practice; and to acknowledge that they need to change whether their partner is willing to change or not. It means more time in God’s Word and more time in prayer – individually and as a couple.

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