I was talking to a friend the other day about some stumbling blocks she is having in her marriage. She was telling me all the different books she had read and marriage tips she had tried, but I could see the frustration and disappointment in her eyes. She was starting to feel hopeless. So, I asked her if she had considered seeing a professional Christian marriage counselor, but she was reluctant about it because “nothing major had happened” in their marriage.
I think my friend is like a lot of folks who are currently struggling in their marriage and believe that Christian counseling should be reserved as a last-ditch effort to save the marriage. Others refrain from going to a Christian marriage counselor because they are embarrassed to air out their “dirty laundry,” and they feel like they are the only ones with their particular problem. However, these negative assumptions couldn’t be further from the truth.
Friend, we shouldn’t wait until things get worse before we see a marriage counselor. Let’s lift the negative stigma that is often attached to marriage counseling. It is not a sign of weakness or doom for your marriage; it is a sign of strength, wisdom, and hope. In fact, marriage counseling just might be the GAME-CHANGER and breakthrough that your marriage needs, and here are five reasons why:
1. Counselors offer a neutral perspective on your marriage and circumstances.
A counselor is trained to listen well and take in each spousal perspective of the marriage. It’s important to see a counselor who isn’t related to you and doesn’t know you in any way, so there is no bias. When you and your spouse attend the counseling sessions, you can go in knowing that you are seeing someone who can hear each of your sides of the story and offer both of you a new perspective to consider that might be the epiphany you’ve needed in your marriage.
2. Counselors are up-to-date on the latest and greatest marital research and methods that help couples overcome marital friction and even crisis.
This is HUGE. As part of their licensure, counselors must stay up-to-date on the latest research and methods that help couples address issues and find healing in marriage. This way, the counselor is more equipped with various ways to approach a problem in your marriage. This is a good thing because what works with one couple may not be as effective with the next couple. Through each counseling session, the counselor is gaining a clearer picture of your unique marriage and personalities and learning what methods/tips will help you both the most.
3. Counselors are trained professionals who can bring out underlying issues that we can’t necessarily discover on our own.
Not only are counselors trained to approach the counseling process from the point of neutrality, but they are also equipped to be acutely aware of any underlying problems that might exist between a couple. They can also uncover any personal issues that are going on with one spouse. You both may decide to attend counseling because you are fighting and unable to communicate in a healthy way at the time. If so, the counselor will offer some practical tips to help you both communicate better, and he/she will get to the root of what is causing the breakdown in communication. This is an essential part of cultivating lasting, healing changes in your marriage.
4. Regular counseling sessions give a couple some proper uninterrupted time to fully focus on their marriage without distractions.
When we’re experiencing marriage troubles, we often become very distant. We’re upset, and communication seems like a chore-if we’re talking at all. When we attend regular counseling sessions, we are forced to open up to our spouse and talk through what we’ve been feeling and how we’ve been responding to the strain in our marriage. Counseling sessions give us time together to focus on the health of our marriage solely, and that is a beautiful (and rare) thing when our days are filled to the brim with meetings, running kids here and there, and everything in between.
5. Counselors can help us to pinpoint unhealthy marital habits and help us to replace those with new healthy ones.
This alone is a game-changer. A counselor is well-educated and well-trained to help a couple discover and identify their unhealthy marriage habits and teach them some strategies on how to make real, lasting changes. A couple who is eager to find healing and restoration in their marriage can work for years on their own in trying to find out the root issue that is causing all the friction between them when a counselor could’ve helped them to discover and remedy these unhealthy habits in half the time. Again, counselors have specialized knowledge and training that gives them a keen eye for unlocking the heart of the issue, so they can help give couples hope and healing.
If you and your spouse are struggling, don’t wait to get help. Go see a Christian marriage counselor. Make an appointment today! You can find one near you by going to xomarriage.com/marriage-help/receive-coaching/