Do you know when to get marriage counseling? Marriage Counseling – here is a stigma about getting marriage counseling. People don’t want to admit that they are having enough challenges in their marriage that they need to talk to someone. Sometimes the issues in our marriage seem to intimate to want to share with someone else. Other times, we have lost hope that anything is going actually to change.
Marriage Counseling is something that we usually tell others that they are doing. Why? Because I think most people don’t even consider going to marriage counseling unless there is a grave issue that they believe threatens their marriage. Couples don’t know when to get marriage counseling, and so they wait and wait.
Sadly, we wait until small problems become big problems. Tackling marriage struggles early is the key reason to know when it is time to get marriage counseling. The truth is that marriage counseling is for everyone who is married!
Reason #1 – Marriage Counseling because ALL Spouses are Sinners
That guy or gal that you thought was perfect and you married them. Surprise! They aren’t perfect. They have those annoying little flaws like how they brush their teeth. All spouse also have those big flaws like not helping out enough with the chores or not picking up enough after themselves. We are all sinners, and none of us are perfect.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
In marriage, we have a front row seat to each other’s sinfulness. We have a lot more time with each other to see our flaws. We also are there through the tough times when we are sick, when we are tired and worn out, when we are stressed and anxious.
Have you ever noticed that children will sometimes act so much better for others than they do at home? It is as if at home they feel safe enough and comfortable enough to not always hold it together. Just because we are adults doesn’t mean that we don’t also follow that same pattern. Life is hard, and we can’t always hold it together. Remember, we are sinners.
The spiritual practices of Bible study, prayer, and confession of sin are all great way to invest in your marriage. Our pride and stubbornness can cause us to be blind to our sinfulness. In the pages of scripture, we continuously see testimony to the reality and consequences of sin. It helps to keep us humble and soft-hearted.
Reason #2 – Marriage Counseling because We ALL have Baggage
We are shaped by the families that we grew up in. How are parents interacted with one another, or didn’t, will create a template for us about marriage. How they argued, influences how we argue. How they showed affection to one another, influences how we will show affection to our spouse.
We are all shaped by the experiences that we have had. Were we abused? Were we hurt by a longtime boyfriend? Have we had healthy friendships? Have we had health struggles or financial struggles? We carry all of those experiences into our marriage. Sometimes we have thoughtfully considered those experiences and have intentionally chosen how we want to respond. Other times, we have tried to bury those feelings and just move on.
Plus, our spouse brings with them a completely different set of family influence and experiences. When we are under stress, we often revert back to those childhood patterns. It can take a lifetime to recognize and unpack those patterns. It is the practice of a lifetime to choose to keep the good patterns and not repeat the negative patterns.
So many Christian couples struggle with when to get marriage counseling. The sad irony is that early counseling would have them unpack all of this baggage that WE ALL come into marriage carrying. Marriage counseling is an opportunity to grow emotionally and to build healthier relationships, not just with your spouse, but with your children and friends.
Reason #3 Marriage Counseling to Break Patterns Early
Far too many couples wait until there is a serious issue in their marriage that causes them to seriously think about divorce before they are willing to go to a marriage counselor. Wondering when to get to marriage counseling? Get there early!
In every marriage, there are the same arguments that come up again and again. Ideally, we can work out a solution and implement a solution that actually changes the situation. In reality, there are some problems where there is a temporary change in behavior, and unfortunately, the problem arises again on a repeated basis.
The couple is caught in a defeating cycle of argument, seeking resolution, and falling back into frustration. When you repeat this cycle over and over again, you begin to lose hope that you will ever conquer the issue. Moreover, you begin to lose hope that you will be able to conquer other important issues.
Reason #4 Marriage Counseling because Marriage is Hard
Marriage is hard work. Two sinners are trying to live out a faithful life together. It is not a question of when to get marriage counseling, but how early to get counseling!
It is a humbling process of sharing decisions and vision with another person. It is an intimate experience of walking beside someone who has a front row seat to see the image your present to the world and all your flaws that you try to keep hidden.
The melding of finances when the two become one is the source of many marital tensions. In some ways, it is easier to be physically intimate than to be financially intimate. The Bible tells us that where our treasure is there our heart will be also. There is a lot of accountability and deep intimacy when we combine our finances in marriage.
If you are married, for the health of your marriage, you need to have joint accounts. I will challenge you to go further and really work on having unified spending goals. As a husband and wife, you are a team working on Kingdom goals. Your marriage and your walk with God will be blessed by having a shared financial vision. Make sure to read: “Should Christian Married Couples have Separate Bank Accounts?”
Reason #5 Marriage Counseling because Satan wants to Destroy Marriages
Marriage is a gift from God. The covenant that we make with our spouse reflects the covenant God has with us. God’s design for marriage is that it be a lifelong covenant until death.
A Christian marriage should be a place of mutual sharing and submission. Where we are both growing closer to God and one another. In it should be found a shared gospel vision for the Kingdom of God. When couples are at odds with one another and their covenant is strained, they are distracted from the Kingdom and their marriage is not the safe place of love that God has designed it to be.
Broken marriages and broken homes often lead to Christians walking away from the church and away from God. Research shows that children of conservative Protestant parents are three times more likely to walk away from the church. This is exactly that outcome that Satan is hoping for in attacking Christian marriages.
Thinking about divorce? Want a reason to invest in your marriage? Think about your kids. Focus on the Family and DivorceMinistry4kids.com both have powerful testimonies about the impact of divorce on the spiritual lives of children.
If you are struggling with when to get Marriage Counseling, get Marriage Coaching instead!
The challenge with marriage counseling is that we think of counseling as the quest to fix a problem. Instead, we should think of it like marriage coaching. Everyone marriage is going to have disagreements and arguments.
- What if we learned early on how to listen deeply?
- What if we learned early on how to fight fair?
- What if we learned early on how to be successful in working through our problems and conquering them?
Marriage coaching would give Christian couples the opportunity to lay a good foundation and healthy patterns of communication early on to head off problems before they grew.
Healthy people don’t just go to the doctor when they think they are dying. Preventative care is the key to staying healthy. Doctors can help us make adjustments to how we are living and make healthy choices. When we get sick, they can help us get the medicine we need to get healthy.
Your marriage health is just as important as your physical health. Get regular check-ups. See what things can be improved. Explore areas where your marriage can be strengthened. Lay a healthy foundation of intentional investment in your relationship out of love for your spouse, out of respect for yourself, out of your devotion to God, and for the spiritual future of your children. Get coaching for a healthy marriage.