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As a Marriage and Family Therapy Intern and a Christian counselor, I have seen marriages in all different stages of dysfunction as you can imagine. Recently I met with a couple that has been married about 33 years. The wife contacted me for "healing" in her marriage. After only two sessions of couples counseling and one of individual, it was clear that after gathering the information I could, she had come to therapy not to heal but to make a break from her vows. I do not judge her as I might feel the same after going through what she did. As a therapist and a Christian it was hard to see a fellow Christian explain the hardships she had been through. I was met with difficulty in trying to help this woman because any attempt I made to pin down a specific problem, set goals for the therapy or carry through with healing techniques and interventions, were buffeted. There were workable issues in this marriage, and I had excellent techniques, excellent knowledge of scripture and how to apply it to her life. This woman had one foot out the door when she came to therapy. If you are going to go to a therapist and enlist their time and energy in taking you on as a client, you better be serious about getting help. You better be ready to see things get messy before they get better. God will take you through the valleys but He will bring you out on to the hills. God is bigger than any dysfunctional marriage. Go to therapy with your spouse for 6 months before you make any decisions to separate or divorce. Give God a chance through your therapist and find a Christian therapist if you can.
Restoration means something has become damaged or broken. Each marriage begins with two flawed individuals. Both are sinful and both are selfish. Therefore, each marriage needs restoration before it begins. (James 4:1-10) Where does the trouble start? Usually when one or both will not acknowledge and own the above statements. In the truest sense, every marriage begins dysfunctional at some level. Marriage requires: --that each the other develops a good work ethic. --that a resolve to have a NO EXIT policy (divorce) exists. --that each the other tries to out-work the other in becoming a good partner for the other. The rain comes down from the sky without fail. The earth absorbs some and the rest is run-off. Run-off creates erosion unless something is growing there that has sufficient roots. So then marriage is also about creating the kinds of roots that fend off erosion in the persons and their togetherness as a couple. Rain is the hard times and the unpredictable hardships that WILL come to this couple. How well did their parents prepare them for this? Did they provide a good example? Statistics say, probably not. So each couple must find resources on their own as they launch out. Perhaps they will make fewer mistakes than their parents? Simple choices can help: -Say no and say it often. A resentful "yes honey--go ahead and buy it, though we don't have the money", added to more of the same will build up to a BIG NO. Not enough little no's means a BIG one is coming. For many--the BIG NO is "I'm leaving you." -Man marries a women hoping she WON'T change (figure, doting over him). Woman marries a man hoping that he WILL change (grow up, be less selfish, listen, pay her attention more than ball or they guys or stuff) The disappointment comes at the level of expectation. Keep it real and let change happen without force and threat. (Hebrews 5:12-14) -Choose growth. Mind--read and study (Philippians 2:1-11) Body--stay in shape (I Corinthians 6:12-20) Spirit--nurture your faith in God (Colossians 3:1-17) -Respect one another at the most basic level. Men tend to use love to get sex. Women tend to use sex to get love. Love and sex in marriage is blessed by God, but the using element is deadening to the relationship. Do not use/abuse sex or each other in the process. (I Corinthians 7:1-5) All of this is basic Erosion Control. Each marriage will have such damage at all times. It is a matter of containment. When you see it getting out of hand, don't ignore it until it can't be ignored any longer. If you do this, go immediately to your nearest counselor and begin filling the ruts caused by your neglect. This is helpful to you, and our wonderful, loving counselors won't feel lonely with nothing to do. Every body needs help and every marriage benefits from greater wisdom. Get rid of the pride and embarrassment that would keep you from seeking and receiving help. -Stay with it. Put your head down and move forward with conviction that keeps you focused. Time passes quickly and people change slowly. Love is patient--at least a maturing love is! (Philippians 3:12-16) Take all the energy you used to use in trying to change your partner-Walk to your mirror and say, Lord, it is my task to love_____________, and your job to change him/her. Forgive me for trying to take over your job. I cannot change myself, much less him/her. Do your work in me that makes me the mate I need to be. Through Jesus I pray. Let the peace begin. Blessings, Glenn Harrell
Seek guidance from God. Have a discussion with your spouse. Then set up a counseling session with an expert. Marriage is a serious committment.
I must tell you it only takes you and God to be able to restore your marriage. God hates divorce and he does want your marriage to work. I will tell you to go to encouragingwomen.org and you will get the encouragement and biblical help needed to help you on your journey. Also, they have a men's section if you are a man to help you. There are real testimonies how God can and will restore your marriage (which is one of the books written by Erin Theile herself. A woman who started the ministry and also went through divorce and remarriage with her first husband. You must seek God first and be his one and only because he is a jealous God. Then and only then will you receive the desires of your heart. And also read and study the word daily. Don't let anyone dictate that your marriage is over. God has the final say. "When man says it is impossible, God says it is possible. Mat. 19:26."
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