Monday, January 10, 2011

seeking Christian help for your marriage

In my last post about the importance of offering marriage counsel to hurting, confused Christian sisters, I indicated my desire to follow up with guidelines women might consider when looking for help.

Seek counsel from one woman, or from a couple, rather than from a women's group.  The more people involved, the more likely you are to be judged, ridiculed, or gossiped about.

The best counsel will be from a woman who:

- is older than you
- is mature in the faith
- has a gentle and quiet spirit
- is a prayer warrior
- has a happy marriage that has been tested (difficulties in the past)
- has not had an easy life (hardship grows compassion)
- is not prone to gossip--even the subtle type
- knows the Bible
- knows you and your husband
- is positive and encouraging
- believes in sanctity of marriage

Find a Christian couple if your husband is living in sin; a man should address your husband's issues.

When should you seek counsel?

- when your husband is living in sin (infidelity, pornography, emotional cheating (too close to women at work)
- when your husband is abusive--verbally or physically (leave home with children if you don't feel safe)
- when you feel overwhelmed with the demands of the relationship
- when intimacy slows down or stops (not caused by health issue or childbirth)
- when walls of resentment begin to build
- when you can't forgive
- when strife becomes commonplace (in the absence of a crisis)
- when the grass starts looking very green elsewhere

Building a counseling relationship with a hurting Christian sister:

- listen without interruption
- avoid judging statements or body language
- start each session in prayer
- give thanks for the counseling relationship
- pray before, during, and after the session
- go slowly, hearing all the grievances first, over several sessions if necessary
- offer praise for good things the sister has done to improve her relationship
- offer help with childcare so couple can talk in private
- once you have a grasp of the problems, develop a plan to address each area--starting with the most dire issues, one at a time
- prepare Scriptural support for your counsel, give sister a copy each time
- give homework designed to improve the sister's relationship with Christ
- teach her to pray for her husband, confess her own sins, and to pray specifically for their relationship

No comments: