Thursday, 28 February 2013

Marriage Counselor or Magician

As Paul Tripp, noted author and lecturer says, “When a couple comes in for marriage counseling with the notion that the counselor will be able to change his/her partner, the counseling session is over.”  This couple doesn’t need a marriage counselor, they need a magician.

Counseling is most effective when the counselee acknowledges that they need to change and they are seeking the counselor’s help in bringing about that change.

Too often couples wait until the anger, resentment and animosity have built up to such an extent that attempts at repair are futile, each blaming the other.

If I were to make a top ten list of why couples don’t seek help sooner in their relationship I’d put pride in the number one spot.  We don’t want anyone to know that we are having difficulties.   Second and third on the list might be closely coupled together.  First of all the husband is usually clueless despite his wife’s numerous attempts at sending distress signals.  Number three on the list plays to the man’s supposed strength, i.e. fixing things.  This is a guy who answers his wife’s questions with a one word grunt.  He refuses to read books on marriage or attend marriage classes. He knows more about his favorite sports team than he does his wife.  This guy straps on his tool belt with the intention of “fixing” the marriage – a dinner at the Outback Steakhouse should get her off my back for awhile.

Since couples usually wait until they are on the brink of disaster typical counseling techniques usually have short lived results or no results.

Some suggestions:

      1.    Get over yourself and swallow your pride.  The majority of marriages are dysfunctional.

 2.    Seek help early.  The sooner you realize that things are a little rocky and get help the more likely that counseling will be helpful.

3.    Find a Biblical or Nouthetic counselor.  Secular and Christian counselors can be helpful at times but ultimately a long term change requires a heart change

 Please appreciate that most Biblical counselors can’t pull a rabbit out of a hat and their sleight of hand probably leaves a lot to be desired.

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