What good marriage counseling is... And isn’t.
Many people tend to bring the same mindset that hasn’t worked at home to the counseling office. They come armed with their list of complaints and set to work trying to convince me that their spouse is the source of the problem. I get it… I REALLY DO! There has been a lot of history that led up to this point and everybody is truly hurting.
Counseling isn’t mediation and I don’t take sides. It is soul care that lead to restoration.
Our first session starts with an illustration. We’ve all been to weddings where the bride and groom each take a burning candle and together light a unity candle. They then blow out their individual candles and everyone feels wonderful witnessing the two become one. It’s beautiful that the two become one… but blowing out your individual candle is a terrible idea! The last wedding that I officiated we left all 3 candles burning and the charge to the new couple was to practice good self-care so they could bring the gift of a whole self to their partner.
In counseling, what doesn’t work is to bring your broken self to your partner, blaming them for all that’s wrong. The Bible says that Love keeps no record of wrongs. But when two people are so hurt, how do we get to that place? What do we do with our wounds?
My protocol has each person meeting with me individually. Step one is to review the entire life history and address all of those background things that often pre-date meeting the partner. Step two is to address the issues in the marriage. This includes all the time necessary for venting, empathy, and ultimately forgiveness. Step three is to learn and PRACTICE good communication skills. We role play the issues as I take the role of the partner. Step four is to then have the partners come together in a joint session, but this time they are armed with a healthy attitude and a practiced skillset instead of accusations.
It's truly a joy to see how people fall in love all over again, once they are able to see their partner as a human being instead of an enemy.