Our marriage retreat gives couples the opportunity to spend time with each other, engaging in activities that help their relationship. The most significant feature of our retreat is Christian marriage counseling. Conflict resolution is a key ingredient in keeping a marriage healthy and spouses in tune with each other. But when a couple loses the ability to do so, it starts creating problems that can quickly turn a disagreement into a fight.
This is a common symptom in struggling marriages and needs immediate attention. All Christian marriages begin as a union between two equal partners. The affected spouse will always be left feeling dissatisfied and unimportant, while the partner stays oblivious to their feelings. If you find this situation affecting your relationship, seeking counsel is the right action to take.
Counsel for Couples - Tim Challies
God calls for couples to demonstrate sacrificial love for their spouse, which involves compromising in certain situations. A counselor will be able to help here and find out the reason for such behavior and resolve the problem before it becomes hazardous. It is no secret that even good Christians sometimes fall into bad habits. If your marriage is causing you a tremendous amount of pain, you will most likely not focus on your relationship with God. You may even say and do things that are out of character and dishonoring to God.
Pain has a way of overriding our values, instincts and even our beliefs. For example, no matter how well trained and mildly tempered a dog may be, if you stand on his paw long enough and with enough intensity, he may bite you. The same is true with pain: If you stay in it long enough, your thoughts, beliefs and behavior can be negatively and dramatically affected. If your marriage is unhealthy, your walk with God may be as well.
Counsel for Couples: Equipping you for pre-marital and marriage ministry
It is difficult to have one right and the other wrong. The way we perceive and treat each other affects how we perceive and respond to our heavenly Father. A marriage crisis typically occurs when an unusual amount of stress or unresolved conflict causes the level of anxiety to become too intense for the couple to manage. As a result, anger, resentment, dissatisfaction, frustration and hopelessness take control of the relationship. The couple typically continues interacting negatively or disengages completely from each other, and the relationship shuts down.
This is usually the place in the crisis process where a couple looks for help from a counselor, minister, friend or family member. Without a doubt, your marriage is worth saving! Divorce does not typically solve personal or relational dysfunctions. If you have children, the impact of your divorce will affect them their entire life. Most children do not want their parents to divorce, in spite of their parents' arguments and basic problems. Findings from a study of unhappy marriages conducted by the Institute for American Values showed that there was no evidence that unhappily married adults who divorced were typically any happier than unhappily married people who stayed married.
Even more dramatically, the researchers also found that two-thirds of unhappily married spouses who stayed together reported that their marriages were happy five years later. All that research is well and good, but I have tried everything I know to do, and my spouse simply will not agree to get help. I have cried, begged, threatened and pleaded, but nothing works.
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So what do I do? I can't do it on my own. There is nothing else I can do. Three of the most common reasons one spouse gives the other for not seeking help in the marriage are:. On the spiritual side, a possible factor that could prevent you or your spouse from getting needed help is pride. Many marriages are failing and are eventually destroyed because one or both partners are too prideful to admit that they have a problem and may be wrong. The same tenacity and stubbornness that often keeps a person in a marriage can lead to a level of pride that prevents that person from receiving the proper help when in trouble.
Pride can stand in the way of progress like a sentry guarding a castle. Nothing can get past it or move beyond it. One of the greatest things you can do for a troubled marriage is to be willing to say, "I'm wrong. I'm sorry and I realize this problem has a lot to do with me.
It says, "I know I must be willing to change if I expect my spouse to change. I will do whatever it takes to save and change my marriage. A heart dominated by pride says, "I would rather allow my marriage to die than admit I am wrong. I will give up everything I own.
I will change jobs. I will mortgage the house. I will do whatever it takes, because I know my marriage is that important. What if one spouse is willing to go to counseling and the other is not? Should the willing spouse go to counseling or seek help without the other? In most cases, the answer is definitely yes. Your marriage can be helped immensely if you initiate change. When one spouse stops trying to change his or her partner and stops pointing fingers, making accusations, and withholding affection and attention, the energy often shifts to self-improvement.
When you make positive changes, it allows positive changes to occur in your spouse.
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The fact is, you cannot change your spouse, but you can change yourself. Often the most obvious point of movement in a conflicted marriage is self-movement. Changes you make to improve yourself and marriage can effectively produce healthy responses in the other spouse.
Christian Premarital Counseling Manual for Counselors
You can encourage your spouse to communicate better by learning to communicate better yourself. You can coach your spouse to respect you by respecting him or her first. You can teach your spouse to stop complaining with a bitter spirit when you break the pattern of complaining and develop a new spirit. Setting better boundaries for yourself often leads to better boundaries for your marriage. Your husband or wife may not be willing to read books, go to seminars or go to counseling at this stage; but if you take the first step, your changes may positively influence your spouse.
Think of your decision in practical economic terms. Ask yourself: If I take no course of action or even pursue divorce, how economically advantageous will that be? After divorce, many women are forced to live below the poverty line while attempting to raise their children.
Divorce is not the answer to most problems. Divorce is not the best solution to being unhappy or unfulfilled. It typically creates more problems than you can ever imagine and will have a long-term effect on your children, as well as generations to come. Therefore, the question is: "Can you afford not to go to counseling? You may try statements like the following to encourage your mate to join you in getting help for your marriage:. These nonthreatening approaches take some of the pressure and blame off the other partner.
They typically open doors to the possibility of getting help instead of closing doors by using negative approaches. The key criteria for selecting a Christian counselor involve the counselor's credentials and faith. Just because a person refers to him- or herself as a counselor doesn't necessarily mean he or she is properly trained.
A counselor should be licensed by the state in which he or she practices. MFTs have specific training in relationship dynamics. Licensed Professional Counselors LPCs have specific training in dealing with individual problems, but many also have experience and training in marital issues. You may also look for someone who has specific experience in working with couples in crisis. Focus On the Family , www. Books, tapes and free counseling line, christian marriage counseling and divorce advice.
Counseling Dept. Including other sources, you will find a number of very good links and phone numbers to clinics, ministries and christian counselors who can help. Some marriage divorce counseling is free of charge, while others are not. There are many critical keys in this book regarding divorce, remarriage, submission, interracial marriage and relationships.
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We have provided you with a number of very helpful links for marriage and divorce advice, marriage and divorce counseling as well as valuable information for your critical situation. You can e-mail us at: Divorce Hope Mail. We Need Your Help! What We Believe About Marriage
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