Christian marriage counseling can benefit you whether both partners consider themselves Christian, or only one of them considers themself a Christian. The basis of our Christian marriage counseling means Christian marriage counselors believe that God’s design is for a loving committed partnership to flourish in body and heart. They work to help each couple find the most secure attachment mirroring God’s committed attachment to us. The Christian counselor holds the space neutrally for each person to show up with their thoughts and feelings and keep the conversation moving so that neither feels attacked and both feel safe to continuing sharing. A Christian marriage has the benefit of two people striving to love each other even when it’s difficult.
The way Christian counseling for marriage works, if whomever is seeking Christian marriage counseling, whether that’s one or both partners, is by helping the couple understand that often there is a negative looping pattern with one person pursuing and the other withdrawing. In the beginning a Christian couple may have married with the highest of hopes to mimic God’s love for his people, willing to sacrifice for each other. But soon the pursing partner starts to seem critical and controlling, and the withdrawing partner seems withholding and uncaring – the very opposite of what the Christian couple feels is their call to love or hopes to experience with each other. With the utmost kindness, the Christian therapist can help a couple see the good reasons they are acting in protective ways rather than vulnerable ways. The simple willingness to have a different perspective is what allows a shift to occur. Our Christian marriage counselors teach better ways to communicate so that you can each get more of what you want from the relationship and both feel respected and cherished.
Most couples come to Christian marriage counseling because they feel a loss of connection and worry they have fallen out of love, not because one partner is any more “spiritual” than the other. They want a Christian therapist who will respect their faith and their commitment to faithfulness. We know an ideal about love from God. But in our experience of family and marriage, we may have come from families that didn’t exhibit affection, security or love. Our head knowledge and our patterns in relationship can be in conflict. We may want to be loving but find ourselves angry or stubborn.
A Christian counselor is non-judgmental. They know that marriage is difficult and a process. Sometimes even Christians do not feel worthy of God’s or their partner’s love and are afraid to expose their needs. Sometimes, partners are so hungry for love, that they suffocate their partner with demands. In Christian counseling, you will gently learn to forgive and have mercy for yourself. You will be asked to see how your protective strategies of fight or flight trigger the insecurities of your partner. And you will be supported in learning how to ask and give again. Your faith and commitment to the relationship will be respected.
No. Our Christian marriage counselors do not offer scriptures or prayer in our sessions. We direct our clients back to their faith communities for spiritual direction.
But to the extent that scripture helps the couple connect to themselves more deeply, we encourage clients to use Bible Study, prayer and fellowship to connect more deeply into the relationship with each other. While Christian language and imagery are not necessary to bring therapeutic healing to a relationship, it can be a catalyst to healthy growth when it resonates and is meaningful to the individuals involved.
Our Christian marriage counselors are mindful of people’s differences but use their faith to help at the core of finding relational, mental, and spiritual health. A therapeutic healing of the mind includes forgiveness for how I’ve judged myself and others in the past, and a renewed sense of love from God and each other.
At Awakenings, our Christian marriage counselors are focused on empowering both partners so that often the relationship is not only stronger than it was before the Christian marriage counseling began, but mature and armed with skills to sustain growth. Once your brain and spirit discovers that vulnerability works – it will lay down it’s old defenses. Throughout the sessions, we provide Christian marriage counseling tips that help strengthen the relationship such that any issue can be navigated with more ease and grace.
If you care about Christian counseling for marriage, then obviously you (or both you and your partner) care about your life as a Christian. What does this mean for you? How does this impact your relationship, and the way you interact within the relationship? Are you living within your values? How do you respond or react when you or your partner misses the mark? Do you feel the deep, secure, abiding love of God that gives you more grace in your relationship? Our director says, “I love working with Christians because they have an ethic of love and forgiveness.”
Our Christian marriage counselors have therapeutic training to help you resolve the toxic cycles of criticizing and withdrawing so common in marriage and find intimacy, forgiveness, and love again.
Just a word about your sexual attachment. Christian marriage therapists know that deep sexual attachment together with emotional connection form the strongest bond. Without secure sexuality, the couple is at risk for falling out of love, feeling unloved or of being tempted by others. And we know many Christian couples struggle with sexuality from either guilt, repression, lack of communication, or lack of knowledge in this area. We’d love to help you find a way to talk about this with each other and have all that God wants for you in this aspect of your romance.
Let us know if your faith community would appreciate a talk on sexuality from our Christian Sex Therapist and Clinical Manager – Caroline Landen.
If you’re still not sure whether Christian counseling for marriage is right for you and your relationship, or have questions about our approach, schedule a free consultation by calling 919-845-5400 or schedule an appointment.
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