Friday, 10 August 2012

Before Going to Counseling

I whole heartedly endorse going to marriage counseling with certain caveats.

·       As soon as you recognize you are having any problems that are creating friction in your marriage seek help.  It doesn’t mean that if you have been married for twenty years you shouldn’t seek help, just understand the baggage you are carrying with you can be very heavy and it may take an extraordinary effort on the part of you and your spouse due to years of neglect.

·       Call it a bias, (and it is) seek a Biblical marriage counselor.  Not just any counselor, and not just a Christian counselor but one who specializes in working with marriages and uses the Bible as the basis for counseling.

·       To maximize the results both parties have to be open to change.  Though one partner may be more culpable than the other for the current condition of the marriage, most often both parties have contributed to the disunity.

·       Accept that you can only change yourself, not your partner.

·       Be willing to be unashamedly honest with your counselor.  Holding back information will only make it more difficult for you as a couple to get the desired results.

·       Be honest about your childhood, i.e. bad memories, negative messages, abuse, etc.  Talk openly about your parent’s marriage, how they handled conflict, did they divorce, etc.

·       Mental health issues, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed, can put a strain on a marriage.  Inform your counselor of any disorders and/or family history of any mental health issues.

·       Addictions can cause significant marital problems.  Pornography, the use of drugs and/or alcohol creates untold problems that require specific treatment.

·       Sexual problems are most often difficult to talk about even between husbands and wives let alone with a stranger.  Childhood issues, mental health issues and addictions can all play a role in sexual problems.  In addition there can be physiological problems that necessitate the care of a medical doctor.  Sometimes it is a lack of communication between partners.  While sex is not the glue that holds a marriage together it is usually one of the first places that problems begin to surface.

In addition, as a Christian couple it is essential that you are committed to a covenantal marriage, i.e. no divorce, no exit strategy.  If there is even a glimmer that there is a way out of your situation other than seeking God and making the changes necessary in the way you approach one another, you will not put your whole heart into glorifying God.

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