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Marriage Counseling Resources

Marriage Counseling

Click the picture to find a marriage counselor

There are many helpful marriage counseling resources available, but remember there are no tools or techniques that have the power to heal hearts that are unwilling to yield to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Research shows over 50% of marriages end in divorce and over 70% of second marriages end in divorce. With statistics like that there’s a real need for quality Christian marriage counseling.

If you count couples that separate and never get divorced, the numbers are even more abysmal…66%!

Couples tend to wait far too long before getting help. Unfortunately many couples never enter into couples counseling until they have already crossed the point of no return.

The reality is more marriages are failing than are succeeding. If we look at the positives…that is who’s succeeding in marriage, according to Neil Clark Warren’s data, only 25% of couples endure and state that they are truly happy!

For some practical information about couples counseling keep reading…


What can you expect from Marriage Counseling?

First of all, you can expect that your counselor has a method or approach for helping couples to positively resolve their marriage issues.

In fact, you should ask what the counselor’s approach is so you can be confident that there is an approach. What you don’t need is mediation every week while you and your spouse duke it out (so to speak) in your counselor’s office.

I have talked to many people who report that their counselor just let them talk (or argue) for an hour, while they nod their head, reflect what was said and reschedule.

If you are having marriage difficulties you need a counselor who is proactive. A proactive marriage counselor will give you practical tools. She will also have the skill to lead you to insight and understanding about the nature of your struggles. Being proactive means your counselor can help create an atmosphere which will optimize your chances of improving and saving your marriage.

Generally speaking, marriage problems are equally balanced between husband and wife, even though one spouse tends to feel it is more their spouse’s fault than theirs. This is normal and has to do with our general lack of objectivity…

This is the log and the splinter syndrome Jesus was talking about. It really does often take a third party to help diagnose the real problem. Now about diagnosing the problem…

In counseling you will want to begin to diagnose the problem. Why? Because you need to learn what you need to do differently (notice I didn’t say you need to learn what your spouse needs to do differently). You need more than just marriage advice, you also need to develop some goals and a plan for success. So how do we diagnose marriage problems…

It is done through an in-depth interview with the couple, sometimes over a series of sessions, both together and individually with your counselor. Another method your counselor may use is a series of inventories. These can provide a lot of helpful data for you and your counselor. They can also help you get a good grasp of the marriage problems relatively quickly.

The quicker the problems are identified the sooner you can get working on what’s really important, IMPROVING YOUR MARRIAGE! Good Christian marriage counseling will help you to identify and eliminate problems, and develop new skills. But most importantly, Christ centered marriage counseling will help you to live out the gospel of grace in your marriage every day.

Marriage counseling issues tend to run the gamut, but at the core there are some pretty general marriage problems that tend to be common to many couples.

Let me introduce you to some of these marriage problems...

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Alcoholism and the Effects on the Family

depressed-manI am familiar with alcoholism and the effects on the family. I grew up in a family where there was much alcohol abuse. My family had alcohol abuse issues on both sides. Both my parents and grandfathers abused alcohol. Now, the problem has also effected my siblings. I, by the grace of God, left my alcohol abuse years behind. That was in my teens and early 20′s.

It’s not easy to forget the family memories however: The many ruined holidays, weekends and trips to camp. I remember hoping Christmas after Christmas this would be the one when Mum and Dad would not end up drinking and fighting.

The fear of my Dad becoming so drunk that it would kill him was also very intense. Due to his drinking, Dad would go into a type of asthma attack where he could not catch his breath. It was terribly frightening for a child. Then there was the fear of my friends seeing my parents in a drunken, arguing state. This was a source of shame and embarrassment to me as a teen. Because of their unavailability, I also began to turn to alcohol and other illicit activities to get my needs met.

On top of my parent’s drinking problems, my grandfather’s drinking also impacted our family. I loved that man. But when he drank, it was scary. Once he holed himself up in his house with a shot gun. Another time he fell down and nearly broke his nose. When he walked into our house all bloodied, I was terrified. My mother has told me stories which I shall not repeat.

So just from these few stories you can clearly see that alcoholism and the effects on the family can include: trauma to children, creating a fearful and unstable home environment, encouraging parentified children, and encouraging children to find solace in other people and things.

Another clear effect of alcoholism on the family is the tendency for the pattern to be repeated. The pattern may not only be repeated in alcohol abuse. The pattern can be repeated in other substance abuse issues as well as codependency which involves many dysfunctional family dynamics. Research shows a well defined tendency for alcoholism to run in families.

Continue to second page of effects of alcoholism…

 

10 Steps to Spiritual Discernment

DiscernmentSpiritual discernment, that is how to make godly decisions and choices, discern good from evil, and truth from falsehood. Discernment is also a prerequisite for godly living and spiritual, mental, relational and emotional health. I’ll never forget the lesson relayed to me about a very prominent Bible teacher being deceived by a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The story was recounted at a conference where the Bible teacher was speaking.

Human Wisdom and Knowledge is Not the Equivalent of Discernment

This popular teacher was apparently persuaded by one of her “followers,” a new believer, to baptize her because of the tremendous impact her books and teachings had made on her life. This teacher, after much prayer, and godly counsel baptized the woman, only to find out later that the woman she baptized was a complete fraud. 1 Corinthians 2:13-14 tells us that spiritual things can only be discerned by the Holy Spirit.

No One is Immune From Deception
There is not one individual who is immune from deception, because Satan rules the world through a web of deception. Spiritual discernment, like wisdom, provides protection from his

The list below is one of the tools I use to help me rightly judge my own life decisions. Whenever there is a weighty decision before me, I get out my pen and paper and write out and pray through the answers to the following questions. You may come up with a few of your own to add to this list…

1. Is my mind renewed and conformed by God’s word? Having a renewed mind is an ongoing process, which requires consistently and earnestly seeking God through His word and prayer. Additionally one must actively reject being conformed to the patterns, influences and customs of the world. (Romans 12:1-2)

2. Does it line up with God’s Word? Discernment requires us to take our thoughts captive. That means we must look at our thoughts and hold them up to the light of God’s word. In other words, if I am discerning a new business or ministry idea, I must examine all my thoughts and ideas about it and consider whether each aspect of the plan is in line with God’s word. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). The concept, ideas and motives cannot in anyway violate God’s word or moral law which was summed up in the law of love (Galatians 5:14).

3. Am I willing to say yes? Am I willing to say no? Until we are at the place where we are willing to say both yes and no to our dream, vision or plan we run the risk of being deceived by our own motives. God desires obedience to His word over the work of our hands (1 Samuel 15:22). If we are clinging to an idea or vision so strongly that we are unwilling to let it go then there is a good possibility that there is too much of “me” in the mix and therefore “me” will distort my understanding of the word and my sensitivity to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

4. What do I stand to gain? Paul wrote in Philippians 3, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. There is always something to gain from what we do… even those things we do exclusively for God. It’s not that gain is wrong, but we must be discerning of our motives by identifying and facing them full on.

5. What do I stand to lose/sacrifice? Jesus said (Luke 14:28) we need to count the cost. The cost of following Him. He expects us to give it all up for Him even our family relationships must not get in the way of following Christ.

6. Whose approval am I looking for? Whose approval will I get? Galatians 1:10 states, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Having been made for relationship the fear of rejection and the need for approval are extremely strong, often unconscious, motivators in our lives. Our motives must be examined to ensure that what drives us is the approval of God not men.

7. Am I willing to try and fail? Success is God’s work. Our work is to believe in and to know the Lord Jesus Christ and the One who sent Him (John 6:29, 17:3). God calls us to step out and walk by faith not sight (2 Cor 5:7). Many times it “feels” like God is calling us to do a certain thing when in reality it’s just the thing He’s using to get us to step out…it is just a stepping stone to the ultimate destination. Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)

8. What will others gain? The second commandment calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). Others should benefit in some way from the choices and plans we carry out in our lives.

9. What feedback have I received from wise counsel? Proverbs 15:22 states, Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed and make plans by seeking advice (Proverbs 20:18). Many a young couple has entered into marriage against the advisement of their parents and other godly counsel only to discover down the road, they should have listened.

10. Is my greatest desire to see God glorified? Colossians 1:17 states, for by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. Because God deserves all the glory, honor and praise in the whole universe He commands us to do everything for His glory so …whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (2 Corinthians 10:31).

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Christian Dating Advice from the Scriptures

Christian Dating AdviceSingle Christians need Christian dating advice from the scriptures to guide them safely in relationships with the opposite sex.

The book of Ruth provides us with some of the best christian dating tips available. Click here to read about Christian dating advice from chapters 1-2 of the book of Ruth.

In chapter 3, the story begins to heat up a bit. Naomi and Ruth both realize that it is through the kindness of God that Ruth ended up in Boaz’s field. Boaz we find out is Naomi’s kinsman. According to Hebrew law the next of kin was responsible for redeeming the dead man’s property and widow…

But, it’s not just that Boaz is a kinsman that Naomi considers him for Ruth. Boaz is a man of godly character. She can in all good conscience encourage this union. Notice, they did not go out looking for a “kinsman redeemer.” They saw the hand of God’s providence and they acted consistent with what God was doing. Single Christians dating need to be in tune with the Providence of God.

Next, Naomi instructs Ruth in the ways of courtship. She tells her to wash and perfume herself, and put on her best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, where Boaz is working. She instructs her to not interrupt his work, nor his eating and drinking. “When he lies down,” she says, “go and uncover his feet and lie down.” Ruth answers, “I will do whatever you say.”

In these passages Ruth’s character continues to be revealed. Ruth is a lady who does not despise, but welcomes the mentoring and wisdom of her mother-in-law…

When Boaz awakes in the middle of the night and sees this woman lying at his feet, he could have taken advantage of the situation. But Ruth has already proven herself to be a woman of noble character. And Boaz has already shown himself to be a godly man. As an agent of God, he takes seriously his responsibility to protect Ruth. When Boaz asks “who are you,”…

She essentially says, “I remember your blessing and the many kindnesses you have shown me. I have seen God’s provision in my life through you. Now I am asking you to shelter me under your wings. I am asking you to pledge your faithfulness to me in a covenant of marriage.”

This scene, on the threshing floor, is a powder keg of passion that is ready to explode. It is likely that both Ruth and Boaz were experiencing a heightened sense of passion. Ruth is looking and smelling her best. The feelings that Boaz has kept hidden in his heart for Ruth have suddenly been ignited by her words and her actions.

In this very unusual scene, we don’t know why Naomi instructed Ruth to go lie at Boaz’s feet…but what we do know is…though Ruth was looking her best, she did not compromise Boaz by snuggling up to him. She lay at a safe place, at his feet. Like Ruth, Christian singles dating need to maintain healthy boundaries.

Their integrity and faithfulness to one another and to God was further demonstrated in their incredible self-control. They were both focused on righteousness and faithfulness. They were not out to enjoy just a moment of lustful pleasure. They were focused on entering into a covenant of faithfulness and righteousness that lasts a lifetime.

Selecting the right mate will affect the quality of the rest of your life. It is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. At Christian Counseling Online we are passionate about helping you have the best relationships possible by providing you with Biblical Christian dating advice.