Megan and her husband Joe had decided that they could strengthen their marriage by reaching out to a marriage counselor to help them with some of their sticking points. As she began to do a Google search, she was amazed at the number of options available. She was particularly curious about therapist and websites that promoted Christian marriage counseling. She thought to herself, isn’t marriage counseling marriage counseling? What’s different about Christian marriage counseling?
If you’re reading this blog, you may be wondering the same thing. The truth is all marriage counselors are not alike. Differences in training, world views, and interests produce different treatment approaches.
Here are two distinct differences that mark a Christian marriage counseling experience. While there are excellent therapists who are secular in their approach (and perhaps some not so excellent Christian therapists) I believe these two distinctions in approach help produce the kinds of results that a couple seeking marriage counseling would desire.
1. Christian marriage counseling is compassionate; secular marriage counseling is traditionally dispassionate.
One of the clear markers of Jesus when he was here on Earth was his compassion for people. A good Christian marriage counselor will share and communicate the same compassion for his or her couples. To be clear, this is not to say a secular counselor will not care about their clients. The secular training approach is largely to support the clients, but perhaps in a more reserved manner.
2. Christian marriage counseling is values-centric; traditional secular counseling is self-centric.
Many of our personality theorist forefathers and mothers that shaped secular training were focused on the self and how to allow the self to develop to its potential. Therefore the focus of secular marriage counseling is largely upon self actualization, which may produce an ambivalence as to whether the marriage survives or thrives.
Healthy Christian marriage counseling is marriage friendly, with a goal of helping couples thrive and find fulfillment together. I have yet to meet anyone who got married with an ambivalent attitude as to whether the marriage would work or not. I am pro-marriage, but I am not pro miserable marriage. The goal of Christian marriage counseling is not to keep the couple together at all costs, but to help the couple navigate to a place of safety and fulfillment that they envisioned when they shared their vows.
I believe that what separates Life Transformed is a solution oriented focus. Over the years, I have met couples who had tried counseling elsewhere before coming to our practice. Those who returned for a second session shared a similar response. Whether or not their previous counselor was Christian, they said that they did not leave mad at one another after the first session in our practice, which had happened in their previous counseling experiences.
Our approach is not to passively allow a couple to vent about their pain and disappointments, offer empathy and bill the couple for the session. Quite the opposite. We are focused on sharing relationship techniques and tools that have proven to be useful, and the sessions are focused on what the individuals within the couple feel will help them or help them as a couple going forward. Our goal is for the spouses to feel some sense of improvement even after the first session.
Christian marriage counseling
If you are feeling that your marriage could be healthier, or if you feel like your marriage is hanging by a thread, we would be honored and humble to come alongside and help you in any way we can. If you’ve tried marriage counseling before, we pray that you will just give us a shot to see if we can help you restore what you want in your marriage and help you create that desirable, fulfilling future you envisioned on the day you shared your vows.
Your marriage is your most valuable asset on this side of eternity, because it has the power to influence your life more than anything else. I encourage you to invest in yourself and in your marriage. You are worth it. Your marriage and family are worth it.
If you would like to book a session, or reach out for a free 15-minute consultation, contact us.