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.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The "S" Word

Paul Tripp
Paul Tripp, noted author and lecturer suggests that, “sin causes us to shrink our lives to the size of our lives.”  He goes on to say that sin causes us to focus away from God and onto ourselves.  Sin causes us to shrink our lives down to the size of our wants, our needs, our plans, our purposes and our desires.  The selfishness of sin dehumanizes the people in our lives.  Rather than being objects of affection they become vehicles to help us get what we want or obstacles that get in the way of what we want.

It’s at this point that we would like to say “lighten up” Paul, but we realize that there is more than a thread of truth in what he is saying.  It is sad to say and embarrassing to admit but I think of myself more often than I think of God – and by the way so do you.

I’d like to think that my needs, desires, plans, purposes and desires don’t dominate much of my thinking, I’d like to but I can’t.  Just this morning I became obsessed with something that challenged my plans, purposes and desires.  It was an innocent enough e-mail, just informing me of the agenda for an upcoming meeting.  I immediately went into defensive mode, I felt slighted and upset.  I tried to tell myself to get a grip.  How pathetic.

If it is true that we tend to shrink the size of our lives down to our wants, desires, etc. what does that suggest about how we have most likely treated our spouse?  Have we made them feel as though they were a means to our end, a vehicle to get what we want, or an obstacle that cramps our style and that they are in the way of me achieving what I desire?

IF Tripp is right, and he usually is, the answer to the above question is probably a resounding yes!  For it is highly unlikely that I would treat others around me as an object to get what I want but not the person who is closest to me, the one who can better serve me than anyone else.

Ask your husband /wife whether or not there are times when they feel you are using them to get what you want.  This might be one of the most important conversations that you will ever have.