Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Will Counseling Help Our Marriage?

I have tried to stay away from this topic since I began publishing this blog.  The bottom line answer to the question “will counseling help our marriage?” is perhaps.  Hold your applause.

First, counseling is only effective for the person who wants to change.  Not for the person you want to change.

Secular counseling, which includes most fee based counseling, has been effective for some.  By secular I mean behavioral based approaches, i.e. have a date night, talk a minimum of two hours a week about non-household related subjects, etc.  The problem is there is no heart change.

Christian and Biblical approaches to counseling are normally not incorporated in for- profit counseling centers, and then only at the request of the client. Biblical counseling uses Scripture as the basis for what is covered; Christian counseling may or may not use Scripture.

Ideally the couple comes prior to the buildup of animosity and both accept they are part of the problem and need to change.  If only one partner attends counseling they can only work on themselves.  If there is enough positive change over time, it may encourage the other partner to attend.

Many counselors tend to specialize, though they may be willing to take any clients.  A counselor who has a great deal of experience handling obsessive-compulsive disorder may be a good marriage counselor as well but maybe not.

Most couples wait too long to seek help.  The acrimony that has accumulated over the years makes it nearly impossible to “right the ship”, though with God all things are possible.

There can be no exit strategy.  The couple must agree that divorce is not an option.

Noted author and lecturer Paul Tripp says, “All marriage problems are heart problems and all heart problems are worship problems.”  In my opinion the most successful marriage counseling can best take place if God is given His rightful place in the marriage.  God’s purpose for marriage is to glorify Him.  It is not to make us happy, fulfilled or complete.  A secondary purpose for marriage is given in Romans 8:29 which says, “those that God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son…”  If you can accept that God is using your spouse as a means for you to become more like His Son then counseling can be very effective.

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