Monday, 29 April 2013

Let’s Be Honest

Every once in a while I meet with a couple who has been married for many years.  But instead of the animosity that often accompanies couples these couples acknowledge that their marriage has gotten to be a bit stale and very routine.  They still love one another in their own way but neither would categorize their marriage as good, however you want to define good.  Each partner has been “born again”, meaning they had accepted Christ as the Lord and Savior of their lives.  They attend church regularly and even serve in various capacities. Often the husband works long hours and their youngest child is heading to college.  Often the wife is involved in a mid-week Bible study but that was not going to be sufficient to keep her occupied as an “empty nester”.  Typically she has not worked outside the home for years and with the job market being what it is she is not too optimistic about finding a job outside the home.  In these cases the couples are not angry with one another, there is no apparent infidelity, and they are still fairly civil to one another.  Often the wife treats her husband as a self-improvement project with the goal of making him better.  The husband feeling disrespected often admits to withdrawing or allowing his anger to get the better of him. 
Typically both the husband and wife come from somewhat dysfunctional families.

I offer a plan on which the couple can begin to rebuild their marriage.   As I describe the plan I often ask if there are any questions.  The answer is usually “no”.  I always ask did you find that helpful and the answer is usually “yes”.  Now remember these couples have willingly come to me for help.  The disheartening part is that most often the couple never comes back or they come back one more time, having not done the homework that I asked them to do.  .”

You see this is the question that most individuals ask themselves either audibly or silently as they leave my office.  “Am I willing to change?”  The question they don’t want to ask themselves is “Do I want to live a life that would be pleasing to God or live a life that is pleasing to me?”  As a professed Christian that is really the only question that matters.  I’m not suggesting that the individuals can change in their own strength or that there is a level of spirituality they should attain.  Quite the contrary, for it is only by yielding to God’s indwelling Spirit that any change is possible.

Counseling is only effective if you want to change, neither you nor the counselor can change your spouse.  When both come in accepting the need to change God will work wonders.

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