One of the biggest mistakes Christians and others make is giving quick counsel or advice without carefully listening. When we listen, people trust us more and we are able to give better advice. My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. Proverbs Make it your goal to deeply understand the other person.
This is understanding emotions and thoughts. Ask lots of questions.
The person with whom you are speaking, mentoring, or counseling may have sinned in almost unthinkable ways or made serious mistakes. However, if you give the message that you are disgusted, he or she is unlikely to benefit from your advice. Show concern for people who have sinned. They should sense that you care, not that you condemn. Identify sin as sin, but replace anger, disgust and condemnation with sorrow and concern. Remember that your goal is to restore the other person, to help him or her change. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
Share encouraging words. Be a messenger of hope and encouragement. Stay humble.
1. Do Not Take Each Other for Granted
Remember that although you may not have committed the same sin, you have committed lots of other serious sins. Has someone ever given you a long speech about your mistakes?
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If so, you probably tuned out part way through. Speeches rarely work!
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When you get people involved in a discussion, they are more likely to change. Remember to ask questions. When you help people work on something they identify, they are more likely to get involved. In a sense, you can help disciple people and encourage them to grow in the Lord. Make the most of this opportunity! Give biblical advice!
Do not give unscriptural advice because you feel sorry for someone. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Homework is most likely to be completed if it is mutually agreed on. Try to come up with something that seems reasonable to the person you are counseling or advising. Suggest passages of Scripture to read and meditate on. Also consider suggesting one or more memory verses. Suggest reading an online Bible study. As human beings, we often think, feel and behave in ways that are hurtful, even toward those we love. Couples have been experiencing and solving problems on their own, beginning with Adam and Eve and continuing to this day. The more experience and maturity a couple develops in a marriage, the more success gained in managing and solving problems.
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Through the Holy Spirit, God resides in the marriage of two Christians and gives them the ability to successfully manage relationships in a healthy and productive way Malachi Ask other couples what it took to build a strong and successful marriage. Rest assured that their strong marriages did not develop overnight. They experienced some of the same problems you have. One reason their marriages are strong today is that they were committed to the idea that no matter what obstacles they faced, they would learn to manage their problems and overcome crises on an ongoing basis.
If you are in a relationship where your spouse displays any of the following signs, please seek help immediately:. These are not simplistic issues and cannot be dealt with by simply reading an article or a book, or talking to a friend.
Seek professional help immediately. Marital problems can range from minor to serious to crisis-level, with each requiring a different kind of help. The following examples use fictitious but realistic characters to illustrate how wide-ranging marriage problems can be. Help is available at all levels and can turn even a hopeless-looking situation around in a radical way.
They disagree often about how to discipline their kids, and they spend less time together. They recognize the need to refresh their marriage and attend a marriage seminar together at church.
After the seminar they begin to find success implementing the tools they discovered. Erik and Alina are either fighting or withdrawing, and Erik has threatened several times to leave. It becomes clear to both of them that their marriage will not survive without making it a priority to learn to relate in healthy ways. They find a Christian counselor; after repeated visits, they learn to break their destructive patterns.
Marissa is devastated to learn that Neil has had an extramarital affair. At first she wants to divorce him. She throws him out of the house. But in time, she realizes that she wants to fight for her marriage. He wants to rebuild their relationship, too. She insists on a separation until they can complete intensive marriage counseling.
After six months, Neil moves back in, and both commit to new patterns of behavior and continued counseling. Though problems such as those described above are common in marriage, they can become extreme in a short time. If problems in your marriage have become unmanageable, unhealthy and destructive, or cause extreme emotional distress, you may need someone from outside your marriage to help provide objective help — someone who can address the root problem and not simply the presenting issue , that is, the apparent problem.
For example, the presenting problem might be your spouse failing to control his or her spending. The core issue might be not setting appropriate boundaries. For ongoing, unmanageable problems, visit a licensed Christian marriage counselor.
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Not every counselor is trained to deal with complicated relationship problems, nor does every counselor hold to basic Christian values. Does your marriage need help? However some situations indicate you should consider guidance from an expert:. If your family or friends recognize that you have a problem, pay attention.
People outside your marriage can often spot a serious problem before you can. Family members and friends often have intuitive hunches or become concerned about your relationship based on behaviors or attitudes you may manifest. Listen carefully if someone expresses concerns about the health of your marriage.
Another indicator involves your children. Their behavior can often provide a barometer of what is occurring inside a home. You and your spouse may believe that the current level of interaction and health in your marriage is OK, but your children may sense that something is wrong and needs to change.
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Young children often react to marriage problems by acting out their frustrations. They begin to act out at school, around friends or even at home. Teens will often react to trouble at home by becoming involved in negative behaviors that are out of character for them. A practical, commonsense indicator that you need counseling comes from comparing the way your marriage used to be to the way it is currently. In the beginning of marriage, most couples spend a great deal of time together, serve each other, compromise on differences, communicate and solve basic problems. If these practices were once commonplace and are now extremely rare or nonexistent, your marriage is likely struggling.
If physical abuse is taking place in your marriage, the first concern is safety. If you are being physically abused or threatened, get to a safe place. Contact your local abuse hotline or the police. Understand that abuse is never justified or normal. Treatment for addiction is a complex and long-term process. It will not just go away.