Every marriage has challenges. So when a christian couple is struggling, how do they find solid christian marital advice and counsel?
Not an Easy Answer
This isn’t as easy as some may think. The “knee-jerk” reaction is often to
say, “Well, just call your pastor.” The problem is that many pastors don’t feel comfortable doing anything even close to marital counseling. First, they weren’t trained for this in seminary. Second, they are afraid of lawsuits if their advice doesn’t work or is misapplied. And third, it’s hard–and often not much fun either.
“Christian Counselors” Often Aren’t
Christian, that is. In other words, that’s the other challenge here. Many who advertise themselves as “Christian” counselors or therapists are nothing more than secular clinicians who mention Jesus occasionally. Their therapy consists of Freudian psychology and secular humanism with a few Bible verses added in to make it sound spiritual.
While some of what these folks offer is helpful, it often misses the bigger picture of what marriage really is and thus, how to fix it. Since God created it (See Genesis 2:24), who better to show us what to do to make it better?
So What’s a Believer to Do?
Over the past 25 plus years of my pastoral ministry to couples, here are a few tips I’ve picked-up that may help:
- Pray! It’s amazing how often we forget the promise of Proverbs 3:5-6. This passage tells us that God will direct us if we seek His direction over our own ideas and understanding. Start your search with sincere, fervent prayer.
- Then, do a Bible Study on Marriage. I always tell people that it’s important to see what God has already said on a subject before pursuing His specific word on your situation or seeking advice from others who claim to represent Him. An easy way to do this kind of study is to get a copy of a Topical Bible or just use an online Bible resource to search for verses on marriage. Here’s a great site which includes access to resources like Nave’s Topical Bible.
- Talk to your pastor, but give him a break. What I mean is, start with him, but let him know right up front that you don’t expect him to do counseling. Rather, you’re looking for advice on FINDING someone you can meet with. If he’s comfortable doing it and you’re comfortable with him, fine. Still, this approach gives him an “out” if he wants to refer you to a counselor, mentor, etc.
- Call your denomination. Most Christian networks or denominations have referral services to help you find good marital counselors. Call or go online to see what you can find.
- When considering a counselor or mentor, do your homework. Go to the counselor’s website and look at his/her statement of faith. If one isn’t posted, call the office and ask for one. If they don’t have one or won’t send one, move on to other options. To see an example, CLICK HERE.
- Ask Questions. Choosing a counselor is important. A good one will welcome your questions in making a decision about whether or not to use his services. Ask about the counselor’s philosophy, training, and faith. Where does he/she attend church? What schools did he/she attend? Many times, the answers to these questions give you more options of websites to surf so that you can find out what this person believes and thus how they’ll approach the task of helping you.
- Ask us! If all else fails, you can click the Contact Us button above to ask a question or seek further information. Our mission is to support couples from a biblical perspective. We’re always glad to provide more resources including our flagship book, “The Crucified Couple.” Get your copy or learn more here.